Bringing Italian style to the masses, DAVID HOOPER, editor of wheelworldreviews.co.uk, says Giulietta certainly pulls on your heart strings!
IT’S not very often that a car, regardless of price, makes the kind of impression that the new Giulietta does. If you want a piece of automotive art on wheels with the headturning abilities of a supercar, for the price of a family hatchback, then look no further.
Alfa Romeo is to be congratulated on creating this stunning looking car which beguiles you every time you set eyes on it. It’s one of those cars that makes your heart miss a beat or two each time you step outside your front door. In a word, it’s gorgeous.
Splitting the front bumper is Alfa’s trademark grille, the front light units are dramatic with their LED daytime running lights, while the sides of the car are clean, with the concealed rear door handles creating the impression of a coupe.
At the back, the rear lights are sheer theatre, stretching from the sides of the car across the boot lid. The whole effect on the Cloverleaf model I’ve been testing is finished off with some smart alloy wheels and dark tinted glass, which extends into the large sunroof glass panel on the roof. Inside, there is a modern, clean and uncluttered feel to the car.
I just love the way it looks and judging by the amount of attention it received during my time with the car, I’m not alone. I’ve driven Porsches which have caused less of a reaction, honestly. I bet it would even give a Ferrari a run for its money!
The lovely Giulietta, a name which first graced an Alfa in the 1950s comes in four trim levels, Turismo, Lusso, Veloce and Cloverleaf, which returns to the line-up to help the Italian manufacturer celebrate its 100th anniversary. I think they could have done something better with the Cloverleaf badge though – the emblem is just stuck onto the car’s wing on a triangular piece of plastic and looks like an afterthought.
Buyers can pick from three petrol and two diesel engines, all Euro 5 compliant, with all models getting Alfa’s clever Q2 electronic differential and VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) system as standard, and all but the high performance Cloverleaf model come with Start&Stop.
You can have the entry-level 1.4 model for £16,995 which also gets you a pokey 120bhp engine. At the other end of the range is the Cloverleaf I’ve been testing with its red brake callipers, 18in spoke design alloys and sports leather seats with red stitching – they look great and are comfortable, too.
The Cloverleaf musters an impressive 235bhp from its 1750cc engine. Alfa says it offers the performance of a three-litre, but has the fuel consumption of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder thanks to its clever engine technology.
Whatever comparisons you may want to draw, the reality is that this is one quick car. It’s also an important one for Alfa Romeo, as it is built on a new platform which will underpin all future mid-size Fiat Group vehicles.
Sitting on sports suspension, lowered by 10mm from the standard spec, it handles well too. The 0-62mph sprint is despatched in a mere 6.8 seconds, with a potential top speed of 150mph, it’s no slouch. The performance is impressive from such a small engine, the car pulls strongly with little lag from the turbo and the diff does an excellent job of getting its generous power onto the road surface, but I didn’t like the pedal settings – the throttle pedal is set too high for comfortable heal and toeing which is disappointing in a driver-orientated car like this.
Thanks to Alfa’s DNA settings, standard on all models, the driver can change the car’s character at the press of a button, choosing between Normal, All-weather or Dynamic modes.
The DNA setting alters the feel of the steering, brakes and Q2 differential. It works well and I thought the feel from the steering was about right. A new system primes the brakes by detecting when the driver lifts off the throttle, anticipating the brakes will be used, thereby improving stopping distances, which is all clever stuff.
The Giulietta has character in spades and brings the glamour and style of Milan to what is at times a dull sector of the market, and for that, I can’t commend the new Cloverleaf highly enough.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1750 TBi Cloverleaf.
ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA RANGE: From 1.4 TB Turismo (£16,995) to 1750 TBi Cloverleaf (£24,495).
ENGINE: 1742cc, 235bhp four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 177g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 150 mph. 0-62mph in 6.8 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 26.2mpg.
Fuel tank: 60 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 28.
WARRANTY: 3 years/Unlimited mileage.