If you listen carefully you’ll be able to hear a huge sigh of relief around the world from Alfa lovers. Like getting a rejuvenated Doctor Who, or finding out your favourite Game of Thrones character hasn’t died yet, Alfistis the world over have welcome Alfa’s return to the small rear-wheel drive market. Ladies, gentlemen, and petrol heads; welcome to the new Alfa Giulia.
This is big news. Alfa haven’t done a small-rear wheel drive sedan since the 75 nearly 30 years ago. Since then it’s sedans have been front-driven. That’s pretty much been the template for most of Alfa’s range in the last 30 years. Until recently they’re line up was made only of front wheel drive hatchbacks. Then the 4C came along and we knew something was different at Alfa. Change is good.
With the Giulia, Alfa are looking straight into the future. To show how serious Alfa are about the Giulia being the start of their renaissance, they revealed it at their newly renovated museum at Arese, near Milan. The Giulia sits on a new platform, there’ll be a range of new engines, and there’s even a new Alfa Romeo badge. For a company celebrating its 105th anniversary this year it’s hard not to look to the past, and luckily the Giulia has just enough influence from Alfas of old to pay respect to their illustrious history.
Details are still coming in but so far Alfa have only shown the range-topping Giulia Quadrofoglio Verde (QV) model. This is powered by a, deep breath, 3.0-litre twin-turbo Ferrari V6. Now I really do need a breather. If “Alfa Romeo”, “Ferrari”, and “V6” doesn’t get your pulse racing, you may need to check if you’re still alive.
As the range-topper, the QV is set to go up against the M3s, C63s, and RS4s of this world. But while most of its rivals bar the C63 have power outputs around 450bhp, the Alfa comes packing with 503bhp, identical to the V8 powered Merc. 0-100 km/h is done in 3.9 seconds and top speed will be a lot. Alfa haven’t said what gearbox will be used in the Giulia, but a good guess would be a double-clutch of some sort. And of course it’ll send its power to the rear wheels.
If you think that the Americans have had an influence on Alfa and this will just be a straight line racer, think again. Alfa have some bold claims about the Giulia QV’s capabilities. For a start it has 50:50 weight distribution, always a good sign. There’s Torque Vectoring to help improve handling through corners and for to stop the Giulia is a new system called Integrated Brake System. This combines the stability control with the traditional servo brakes for an “instantaneous brake response”. Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional.
Alfa have kept the weight of Giulia as low as possibly by using lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbon-fibre in its construction. The propshaft, bonnet, and roof are made of carbon while the suspension, engine, and brakes are aluminium. The result is what Alfa claims is the best power-to-weight ratio in its class, less than 3kg/hp. The overall weight of the Giulia QV is around the 1500kg mark.
Alfa’s ‘DNA’ drive select system is makes a feature in the new Giulia, but now adds an ‘R’ mode for race. It all sounds very promising. Even the steering wheel has been given a motorsport touch. All the major controls are now housed on the wheel itself, like that in an F1 car and a 458 Italia. This is a brave and bold move for a brand who’s reputation for electrics and reliability aren’t quite up there with say, Toyota. Still, this is a new Alfa in a new era so fingers crossed. Then again, what’s an Alfa without a fault or two to give it “character”?
Finally, there’s the way this thing looks. Now you can make your mind up about it but for me, the Giulia is a winner. It’s by far the most interesting car in its class. In its most aggressive and sporty form the Giulia still manage to retain some of that elegance Alfas are known for. The QV adds more aggressive bumpers, with a splitter at the front and a rear diffuser at the rear – quad tailpipes are a given.
Like the rest of the car it’s a design that points straight to the future but remembers the past. It’s anything but retro. The headlights remind me of the 155/6/9 series, the signature Alfa grille harks back to that on the old Giulia Sprint, while the rear has more than a whiff of Maserati about it. The proportions themselves are spot on, like a 156 but with a longer bonnet.
We’ll find out more details on the rest of the Giulia range in the coming weeks, but for now what do you all think of the new Giulia? Does it make the XE look outdated and should BMW be worried? It’ll definitely be an interesting battle between the Giulia and its rivals. Lets hope that it’ll be as good to drive as it is to look at. But then it is an Alfa so…
In the meantime you can watch and hear the Giulia QV in action here: