Alfa Romeo’s romantic sport sedan

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Alfa Romeo Giulia (Harvey Schwartz)

Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz

The midsize sedan segment is slowly shrinking as more buyers are grabbing midsize SUVs and crossovers. Nonetheless, Alfa has come back into this segment with a vehicle that turns heads, is luxurious inside, is fast, and features a ZF 8-speed transmission with RWD while exhibiting superb handling, braking, connectivity and safety.

Introduced in 2017, the only changes for 2018 are added paint colors. The Giulia is available with two powertrains: a 2.9 liter 505hp, twin-turbo V6, and a 2.0 liter, 280hp, turbo inline 4-cylinder, that I tested. The car brings Italian style and craftsmanship to the segment. It is assembled by Alfa at the Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy on an all-new platform. Its allure begins with a low front hood and exhibiting the distinctive Alfa Romeo ‘Trilobe’ shield grille with a round Alfa Romeo emblem, large side grilles, Bi-Xenon headlamps are surrounded by black bezels, LED DRLs/turning lamps, and splitter.

Alfa Romeo Giulia (Harvey Schwartz)

From the side are thin A-pillars, a slightly rising glass roof with a full-perimeter black strip, slightly scalloped doors, large pull-out/lighted door handles, power-folding/heated sideview mirrors and deep lower extensions. It tapers down to the trunk with a lip spoiler, LED wraparound lamps, large dual exhaust tips and a working diffuser. The rear also features a stiff and torsional composite cross member underneath. sitting low on 8X18 inch, 5-spoke, sport aluminum wheels that are wrapped with 225/45R18 inch all-season, low profile tires, it give a more planted and menacing look.

Optimally balanced weight distribution is paired with RWD delivering a truly exhilarating driving experience, no matter the engine power. The car features unitized high-strength steel body, aluminum front/rear vehicle frames/front shock towers/suspension components, doors and fenders. More torsional and stiff than ever, it is nimble in the corners giving handling prowess a new meaning. A class-exclusive feature of the Giulia is its carbon fiber drive shaft, which significantly reduces the weight without sacrificing performance thereby further helping the car optimize its near perfect weight distribution.

Power comes from the car’s MultiAir2, 2.0 liter, all-aluminum; direct injected SOHC with 4-valves per cylinder, direct mount twin-scroll turbocharger and electric wastegate actuation in-line 4-cylinder engine. It generates a healthy 280hp at 5,200rpm and 306 pounds of torque from 2,000-4,800rpm. This gives the Giulia power to launch from 0 to 60mph in just 5 seconds with a top speed of 149mph. The engine is mated to a sporty, ZF 8-speed transmission. It features paddle shifters, Manual mode and when not in the mood, full Automatic. The rotary DNA multi-mode driving system gives me a choice of ‘Dynamic’ delivering sharper throttle, brake and steering wheel response for sporty on-road driving with a throatier exhaust note; ‘Natural’ is a comfort setting for a perfect balance for daily driving and ‘Advanced Efficiency’ enabling the cylinder deactivation to maximize energy saving.

Alfa Romeo Giulia (Harvey Schwartz)

The unique fully independent suspension perfectly matches the power giving me confidence when cornering and stability on the highway at high speeds. It features, up front, a double-wishbone setup with a semi-virtual steering axle and active dampers. The rear features Alfa’s unique link design with a vertical rod link and active dampers. Working with the rack & pinion variable (11.8:1) electric assist steering system the all-new Giulia gives me the quickest steering I’ve felt in a sedan. Its responsiveness is precise and quick. The tightest hairpin curve I found only required 180-degrees of steering as a result my hands never leave the wheel. The car has the launch speed and handling control of more expensive sport sedans from Lexus IS 200t, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Mercedes C300.

The braking system is also superb safely slowing the Giulia down from speed. Up front are 13 inch vented discs with four-piston calipers and 12.5 inch rear solid discs clamped with single piston calipers. The aluminum, red painted/white script brake calipers carry the segment’s first integrated brake system. The feel is very linear and strong, the harder I push the more braking power I feel. Standard ABS, BA, EBD and Electronic Stability Control enhance braking stability and keep me out of trouble when challenging steep curving roads at high speeds.

Open the front doors and be greeted by aluminum kick plates. The ride quality matches well with the quiet interior. The power-adjustable leather seats are soft, subtle and very supportive. The entire dashboard, door trim, storage box and lighted glovebox are high-quality soft-to-the-touch materials. The cluster is race-inspired and easy to read with trip computer readouts and what DNA mode I have chosen. You’ll also notice the large rotary dial on the center console to change radio stations and other drive functions. It is comfortable and fun to drive.

Alfa Romeo Giulia (Harvey Schwartz)

Standard equipment not mentioned above include remote start, rear parking assist sensors, rear back-up camera, keyless go doors with push button start/stop, auto engine stop/start, rain-sensing wipers, 12-volt center console plug, media hub with USB aux, ambient lighting, auto dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone climate control, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, rear cargo light, remote trunk opener and 4-grab handles.

My test Giulia came with these options-heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated washers; the Sport Interior package came with aluminum interior accents, sport leather-wrapped flat bottom, tilt/telescopic steering wheel that feels perfect in my hands, bright aluminum foot pedals, rear pull-down armrest/dual cupholders and bright door speaker surrounds; the Driver Assist Dynamic Plus package came with adaptive cruise control with stop/ forward collision warning, lane departure warning, infrared windshield, blind spot warning; the Sport Appearance package came with 18X8 inch sport black aluminum wheels/225/45R18 all-season, low-profile tires, sport front & rear fascias, gloss black windows surround moldings, custom painted brake calipers, dual-pane sunroof, 8.8 inch AM-FM-HD Bluetooth radio with Sirius Satellite Radio.

Standard safety systems include dual advanced front airbags, supplemental side-curtain front rear airbags, LATCH child seats, tire pressure monitor and 5-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners.
The all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia mid-size sport sedan is so much fun to drive that I didn’t really want to give it back after my seven-day test drivel. It has plenty of power, holds the road like riding on rails, has unique good looks, and carries all the sport, luxury, connectivity and safety inside. A great ride!

Alfa Romeo Giulia (Harvey Schwartz)

© Harvey Schwartz

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Name of vehicle:
2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

$37,995.00 base/$45,840.00 as tested including destination

2.0 liter, direct injection twin-scroll turbocharger, SOHC, 16-valves, all alloy in-line 4 cylinder

280 at 5,200rpm

306 pounds at 2,000-4,800rpm

ZR 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Rack & pinion, electric variable assist 11.8:1

F-double-wishbone with semi-virtual steering cradle, active damping, 3-mode-Eco/comfort/sport
R-Alfa Link design with vertical rod link and active dampers

F-13 inch vented discs with 4-piston calipers
R-12.5 inch solid discs with single-piston calipers, ABS, BA, and Electronic Stability Control

Wheels/tires: 8X18 inch sport aluminum wheels/225/45R18 inch low profile, all-season radials

Length: 182.6 inches
Width: 73.7 inches
Height: 56.5 inches
Curb weight: 3,636 pounds

EPA size classification*:
Midsize sedan

* Passenger car classes are designated by the EPA based on interior volume index or seating capacity, except the ones classified as special vehicle. A two-seater is classified as a car with no more than two designated seating positions.

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