When the auto manufacturers send us car reviewers a press car, normally it’s the best they have to offer; the top of the line in that model with every conceivable option; 20-way adjustable seats with massage, or a massage therapist named “Don” who sits in the back seat and waits. They have 40 speaker premium sound systems tuned by some famous music producer with 11,000 Gammys and a house in Beverly Hills. Usually there’s a huge touch screens that can tune the navigation and satellite radio, and screens in the back that show first run movies; all with the biggest engine available, loads of bling, and even air fresheners integrated into the tri-zone AC (seriously).
Sure, I get it. The auto execs and marketing people want to show off their best stuff; put their best foot forward, so to speak. After all a good review of their car should help put them more cars in more people’s driveways. And they are of course allowing us to tool around in a top of the line (whatever) for a week, so they want us to enjoy the experience, and hopefully all that seat-massaging-40-speaker-premium-sound-system-Don-in-the-back stuff will leave us feeling giddy and leave us with a good impression.
Alfa Romeo doesn’t subscribe to that theory I reckon.
Recently the Italian company, owned by FCA, sent me their new Giulia. Having been in love with all things Alfa Romeo since my breathtaking, life changing week with a 4C a couple of years ago, I was extremely anticipatory of its arrival. Meaning I was like a kid at Christmas already knowing there would be a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun under the tree. And mom wasn’t afraid I was going to shoot my eye out.
So then I was a bit disappointed when I first sat in it and saw that it was the base model of the Giulia.
Turns out I was so wrong.
You see, Alfa Romeo offers the Giulia in three trims; the base Giulia, the Giulia Ti and the Quadrifoglio.
The biggest difference between the three is what’s under the hood. The base and Ti have a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine delivering 280 horses and 306 lb-ft of torque. The Quadrifoglio has a biturbo 2.9-liter V6 engine with 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
For my week I had the base 2.0 Giulia. It was really the base, as in there was nowhere to go but up. I was a bit miffed at first; where was the premium sound, the navigation, the screen isn’t a touchscreen? And where the hell is Don?
As my first day turned into the second then the week, I quickly realized I needed none of that extra stuff. The 2.0 was just fine; not having navigation or all the sporty options available on the Ti and Quadrifoglio was okay; I did have the Customer Preferred Package with the Driver Assist package containing adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and collision avoidance, Sport trim that moves the wheels up to 18-inch from 17 and adds sporty accents, a DNA drive mode controller (different modes that alter steering, transmission and accelerator characteristics) and an upsized 8.8 screen.
Standard items include remote keyless entry with push-button ignition on the steering wheel, leather seats with six-way power driver and front passenger adjustments including four-way lumbar adjustment and a rear-view camera with park assist.
The front windshield and front door windows also have acoustic lamination to help silence wind noise. And my model had the duel-panel panoramic sunroof.
Rear wheel drive, a rare thing these days, is standard, All Wheel Drive is available. My base model of course had RWD.
One thing that doesn’t change (other than minor trim changes and badging) among the levels is the outside appearance. We might argue that Italians aren’t perfect, but they can design cars. The Giulia is easily one of the most beautiful cars on the road today. In my opinion the Giulia is the best-looking car not only in the mid-size sedan segment, but across the entire range.
Okay, calm down. I still had to drive it. Yes, yes, the interior is just as beautiful as the outside; carbon fiber accents; the screen that seems to melt into the dash; the multi-color dash that can be programmed.
But on the road? After all, this isn’t the 505-horsepower machine so beloved by many. This is the 280 hp 4-cyllinder.
On the road, the 2.0 engine lies. No there is no rocketing off the line pushing you back in the seat and making you try and catch your breath. But there is more than enough power, and the new 8-speed automatic transmission seems to know exactly when to shift; Alfa Romeo likes to say they practice “La meccanica delle emozioni” (the mechanics of emotion), and it really shows when you are driving.
I’m a firm believer that too much horsepower in the wrong hands is a very bad thing; not every driver can handle a beast with more than 400 horses. The Quadrifoglio is great for those who can handle it; for the rest, the everyday people, the base Giulia is a fantastic car.
My week with it was way too short; it turned heads on the road, started conversations in the parking lots, and was a hit with my family, and whoever else rode in it. When I carried my family, four adults, there was no loss of power like I feared. In fact, there was no difference in the drive. And my 20-year-old son, all 6-foot 1 inch of him, said he had plenty of room in the back.
Even the engine sound was satisfying. Like a well-dressed refined woman who shoots you that sexy come-hither look, there was a nice low growl under heavy acceleration.
This new midsized sedan is a definite player in the class. I would put it up against all the C-Class, 3-Series, Q50s and A4s of the world. And at a total MSRP (with all the goodies I had) of $45,840 is within reach of many, and certainly those who normally buy those I just mentioned.
The base 2.0 will work well for most people; don’t be put off by it. Sure, those of us who crave, and live, speed will notice, but for the everyday driver it will mean little; they will be driving one of the best cars on the market today enjoying La meccanica delle emozioni.
The 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia
MSRP (as tested): $45,840
Engine (as tested): 2.0-liter Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4 280 horsepower @ 5200 rpm, 306 ft-lb torque @2000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 24 city, 33 highway, 27 combined
Fuel mileage as tested (mixed conditions): 26 mpg
Wheelbase: in 111
Length, Overall: in 182.5
Width, Max w/o mirrors: in 73.7
Height, Overall: in 56.5
Track Width, Front: in 61.3
Track Width, Rear: in 63.9
Passenger Capacity: 5
Passenger Volume: ft³ 95.4
Front Head Room: in 38.6
Front Leg Room: in 42.4
Front Shoulder Room: in 56.1
Front Hip Room: in N/A
Second Head Room: in 37.6
Second Leg Room: in 35.1
Second Shoulder Room: in 53.6
Basic: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion: 12 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 4 Years/Unlimited Miles
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