The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a head turner. In a world where saloons follow a rather similar mold, the Giulia mixes up the pack with an eye catching design which offers the discerning (probably business) driver a more aesthetically alluring proposition for their drive.
It may not quite have the sports car performance, but the large red brake calibers, sizable 18-inch wheels (available for an optional £750) and quintessentially shapely front of our Giulia Super give this car a look you don’t tend to find in its size category.
This isn’t a simple case of style over substance though, as the Giulia is also great to drive, with responsive handling and pleasing get-up and go. Sure there are a few niggles here and there, but with prices starting at £29,875 ($37,995) it’s well worth your attention.
Look at me
When the Giulia pulled up outside our house for the first time we stood at the side of the road for a while and just admired it. This is a car where the pictures don’t do it justice, it can only be fully appreciated in the flesh.
The unmistakably Alfa Romeo design language flows all the way through the long, slick body, culminating in the distinctive v-shaped front grille.
It has a relatively low ride height, giving it a sportier stance than similar sized BMWs, which may mean for some it’s a little trickier to get in and out of, but we had no problem slipping inside the cabin.
Like the stance of the car on the outside, the driving position is close to the floor which again gives a sporty feel to a car that can nevertheless comfortably seat four adults and a couple of sets of golf clubs in the trunk.
The cabin is slick and efficient, although a healthy splash of plastic alongside the leather does slightly detracts from the premium appeal. That said, it’s by no means a deal breaker.
The race style front seats are comfortable and afford you plenty of room. The center console hides its cup holders under a neatly sliding panel and ensures the unified design of the interior isn’t interrupted when you haven’t got your daily caffeine fix sitting shotgun with you. There’s an easy-access USB port just above this area too.
The central armrest also doubles as a storage bin housing a further USB port for charging devices in a secure, out of sight location.
Alfa Romeo Giulia design gallery
Comfortable and smooth, it’ll eat the miles
Press the start/stop button and the 2.2 liter turbo diesel four cylinder engine subtly comes to life. There’s no loud roar or aggressive rumble, but there’s still enough power under your right foot to get things moving swiftly.
It’s pleasing to drive and the Giulia feels at home cruising on the motorway, with high speeds taken in its stride with little effort.
Head onto the rural lanes and switch the DNA driving mode selector to Dynamic and the Giulia proves responsive on tight bends and quick out of the corners – although it doesn’t have the most explosive acceleration.
The automatic gearbox isn’t the smoothest we’ve experienced, but you can opt for a manual mode using the paddle gear shifts located just behind the steering wheel. And we mean just behind it.
In fact, the paddles are that little bit too close to the wheel, and we regularly found our knuckles brushing against them, which can be somewhat off putting. It’s a minor quibble, but one which we noticed almost immediately and that stayed with us the whole time we had the car.
Split screen viewing and thumping beats
For the tech savvy, the Alfa Romeo Giulia offers a solid array of features and options to keep you connected and in control.
We especially liked Alfa’s sound theatre by Harmon (a £950 optional extra), offering 14 speakers including a subwoofer for some seriously powerful audio output which does any driving playlist justice.
Bluetooth connectivity allows you to easily pair your phone with the in-car infotainment system, and the Giulia is able to pull through track, artist and album details from streaming services such as Spotify to display on the main 8.8-inch display, and the smaller 7-inch cluster screen behind the steering wheel.
On-wheel controls allow you to play, pause and skip tracks being streamed from your phone, as well as make and receive phone calls through the car’s speakers for fully hands-free driving.
Alfa Romeo Giulia infotainment gallery
The main display also offers a split screen mode, allowing you to display two different features side-by-side. We found this useful to have the satellite navigation on one side, and the music player on the other.
On the satellite navigation front, Alfa’s offering is serviceable, but it’s not the best we’ve used. Some of the routes it selected weren’t the most direct, or the quickest, while the rotary dial used to input destination information was slow and clunky.
Our Giulia Super also came with the Driver Assistance Pack Plus (a £950 extra) which included a rear view camera with dynamic gridlines, front and rear parking sensors and blind spot detection – all useful features, especially when it comes to parking.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Super lives up to its name, because it is super. Eye-catching looks mixed with an exciting drive and plenty of space for passengers and luggage make it a worthy contender for those looking for a new executive saloon.
It may not quite have the technical finesse of an Audi or BMW, but the Giulia offers a sportier alternative that will turn heads where its rivals won’t.