In Depth

Alfa Romeo Giulia 2016: All the details

All the information on the luxury carmaker's bold 3-series rival due later this year

Alfa's Romeo Giulia is a stylish entrant into the straight-laced executive saloon class, pitched as design-led, exciting alternative to the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. 

Full prices and specs are now available and order books are open. First deliveries of the Giulia will take place next month. 

It's a vital car for Alfa Romeo, which is undergoing a bit of a brand rebirth. The Giulia may well be followed by more saloons, while there will certainly be an SUV called the Stelvio released next year as the carmaker refreshes its range.

At launch, the Giulia is available with both petrol and diesel powertrains and there's even a performance variant sitting at the top of the range using a turbocharged V6 engine part-engineered by Ferrari. Called the Quadrifoglio, it's a rival for the BMW M4 and Mercedes C63 AMG. 

Here is everything you need to know about the Giulia – from how much it costs to what the critics make of Alfa's new saloon. 

Design

CarBuyer says the Giulia is "a very pretty car that will most likely turn more heads than a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4" and that its design is likely to be one of its biggest selling points. It's flamboyant and stands out against its German rivals.

The Giulia uses a more rounded design language than the aggressive angles found on the 159. Alfa's triangular grille is flanked by two large air vents in the front bumper, with dual creases running down the length of the bonnet. The headlamps remain fairly angular and use large, straight, leading edges.

A line juts out from behind the front wheel arch, feeds around the sides and then recedes, tapering away by the time it reaches the rear door handle. Similarly muscular side skirts make the cut, as do flared wheel arches.

Around the back, the top edge of the boot creases to create a little ducktail while the bumpers feature a large, black skid plate, with two exhausts positioned either side of the car.

The aggressive styling tweaks of the Quadrifoglio trim take things to another level. A big splitter peeks out from underneath the front bumper, which has also been tweaked to appear more muscular. Two vents appear in the bonnet and a small lip spoiler sits on top of the boot. It also features a huge rear diffuser, with quad-exhaust exits. These new aero additions mean that at top speed, the Quadrifoglio can produce 220lbs of downforce.

Alfa claims every model in the range has 50/50 weight distribution, mated to an all-aluminium suspension setup on the range-topper.

Engines and drivetrain

There are four engine options – two diesels and two petrols.

The diesels will likely make up the bulk of sales given that they'll represent the entry level models and will deliver the greatest fuel economy figures. Both make use of 2.2-litre engines, although with different power outputs.

The less powerful of the two 2.2-litre engines comes with 148bhp, but it still manages to push the Giulia to 62mph from a standing start in a respectable 8.2secs. Opting for the more powerful 178bhp diesel engine cuts the 0-62mph dash down to 7.1secs thanks to the healthy 450Nm of torque.

Petrol engines represent the fastest, most powerful Giulias you can buy, although there's a huge gulf between the two options.

The 197bhp 2.0-litre MultiAir engine is a much more appealing car to drive than the diesel options, given it's sprightlier, much keener to rev and ultimately faster. It can do 0-62mph in a hot-hatch rivalling 6.6secs.

Top of the range is the Quadrifoglio's engine and true to Alfa form, it's a V6 - a very special one.

The turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 has been built with Ferrari influence presiding over it and produces a massive 503bhp and 600Nm of torque. This makes the Quadrifoglio hugely fast, with a 0-62mph time of just 3.9secs and a top speed of more than 191mph. With this engine fitted, the Giuila can lap the infamous Nurburgring more than 13secs faster than the BMW M4.

A further two engine choices will be on the way soon. At the Paris Motor Show, Alfa uncovered the Giulia Veloce, a halfway-house performance model bridging the gap between the Quadrifoglio and the rest of the range.

It will be available with either a diesel or petrol engine. The diesel is the 2.2-litre unit found towards the bottom of the range, although tweaked to produce 207bhp. The petrol is a turbocharged 2.0-litre with 276bhp – a significant boost over the 197bhp version.

Alongside the new engines, both cars come with a four-wheel drive system called Q4. Most of the time, the Giulia Veloce will behave like its rear-wheel drive stablemates, but up to 60 per cent of the engine's power can be transferred to the front axle if needs be. At the moment, it's unclear if the Giulia Veloce will go on sale in the UK.

CO2 and efficiency       

In terms of emissions and efficiency, the two diesel powertrain options are the cleanest and cheapest to run. 

Both will return a claimed 67mpg while emitting just 109g/km CO2, meaning the 148bhp and 178bhp cars will cost £20 a year in road tax. 

The 178bhp models can be specced to become tax-free, with "Eco" reducing CO2 emissions to sub-100g/km levels.

The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is less frugal than the diesel options and costs more to tax. Alfa claims you'll get 47.8mpg on a combined run, although the CO2 emissions of 138g/km mean it costs £130 a year to tax.

Those plucking for the fastest version – the V6 Giulia in Quadrifoglio trim – will pay a hefty £295 annual tax bill and Alfa says MPG scores around 34.4mpg on a combined cycle are possible. 

Interior

CarBuyer says the Giulia's cabin is luxurious and practical, but also driver focussed, with the rear-wheel drive nature of the car reflected.

The driver is cocooned in and a lot of the equipment - such as the 6.5ins infotainment screen and the heating controls – is angled towards them so buttons are always easy to reach and in sight.

A large, three-spoke steering wheel with a sporty flat bottom sprouts out of the dashboard and sat behind it are two huge hooded dials, as on other Alfas. Between the instruments is another screen, which is available in two sizes.

The infotainment screen can also be enlarged, upping it from 6.5ins to 8.8ins. It's controlled through a rotary knob below the gearstick and features gesture control.

CarBuyer says that overall, the Giulia is a decently equipped option, with the 6.5ins screen coming with Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, and air-conditioning. Sat nav is standard on all but entry-level cars, as is a half-leather interior.

Overall, CarWow says Alfa has made a "real effort to make the Giulia feel sporty inside, and in this respect, it leads the class". The site says that while the interior is pleasing on the eye, it's still not up to par in terms of build quality as its German rivals and recommends fitting the luxury pack to increase the overall plushness of the cabin. You'll get more leather and electrically adjustable rear seats, as well as bare wood trim highlights to make the cabin a nice place to be on top of its inherent sportiness.

Safety

The Giulia has been awarded a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with adult passenger protection scoring particularly highly. In terms of tech, it can be specced with forward collision warning as well as emergency automatic braking capabilities.

As standard, the car comes with a lane-departure warning system and a blind-spot monitor. 

Reviews

Alfa's newest car needs to impress - and according to Auto Express, it does.

The mag delivers a positive verdict, giving four stars out of five and calling the Giulia an impressive alternative to the BMW 3-Series.

Stray from the BMW or Mercedes norm and you'll be rewarded with a car that offers a "brilliant mixture of gorgeous looks, fun handling, and impressive running costs", it adds, saying the car offers a similar proposition to the Jaguar XE - a welcome alternative to the German big guns that’s great to drive.

As for engine, the magazine recommends the more powerful 2.2-litre diesel, as the 178bhp car produces the same economy figures as the less powerful 148bhp, so the only cost to factor in is the actual list price. The extra power and torque on offer is welcome, it continues, with the 7.1secs 0-62mph dash being more than respectable and the added pace feeling right in a car with excellent handling characteristics, a 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive.

UK buyers won't be given the option of a manual gearbox, but the automatic is "excellent", providing smooth and alert shifts, says Auto Express. Plus there are paddles attached to the back of the steering wheel, if you'd still like the job of swapping cogs.

It goes on to say the flamboyant exterior styling is matched with a cabin that's "stylish and sporty", although while it's pleasing to the eye, the overall quality isn't quite the same standard as the likes of the Mercedes C-Class or Audi A4 – one of the car's only drawbacks.

As for the supercar-baiting Quadrifoglio, Car magazine calls it "the closest thing you can get to a four door Ferrari".

It adds that the huge pace isn't the car's only party trick and that it's mated to an excellent driving position with sports seats, fantastic brakes - especially if you go for the optional ceramic disks - and "fabulously exploitable rear-drive handling".

Likewise for Evo, the car's handling is spot on. "Fundamentally the Giulia just has a beautifully balanced rear-wheel drive chassis", says the magazine. The Quadrofoglio's engine is "wonderfully keen" too, providing serious punch that's smooth and clean all the way to the 7,000rpm red line. 

Prices and release

Order books for the Giulia are now open and the earliest buyers will be getting their cars very soon – Alfa has pegged first deliveries for late November.

Prices start from £29,180 and for that, you'll get the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine with 197bhp in the most basic trim level, although that does come with 16ins alloy wheels, cruise control, climate control, automatic wipers, a 6.5ins touchscreen infotainment system and rear parking sensors.

The diesels are available in Super trim upwards. The 148bhp Giulia starts from £30,750, while the more potent 178bhp model comes in at £31,950. You'll get even more toys as standard, such as 17ins wheels, an 8.8ins touchscreen with satellite navigation and a 7ins virtual instrument cluster. At the very top of the range, the flagship Quadrifoglio super-saloon comes in at £59,000, undercutting the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG S. 

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