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Always Fancied Owning An Alfa Romeo? The New Giulia May Well Be For You
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Looking for an affordable sporting saloon car? For many years the obvious choice would be a BMW, with prestige rivals tending to take a more comfort-orientated route.

The last few years has seen a sea change with the latest offerings from Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar now able to cater for the more, shall we say, enthusiastic driver.

There is however another way as Alfa Romeo's all-new Giulia is in the showrooms ready to do battle.

In the looks department, the Giulia has got all its rivals licked. It is a car which turns heads and represents a return to form for the Italian marque's styling department. A Maserati for the masses perhaps?

However, showroom appeal is all very well but does the Giulia deliver in the real world or is it all style over substance. Well I've just had a week with a vibrant red 'Super' TD model to find out.

There is a choice of petrol or diesel engines but rather surprisingly no manual gearbox option. However as I was to discover, the quick-shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox works well and can be controlled by two beautifully crafted aluminium flappy paddles if the mood takes - which it did, frequently.

The test car came equipped with the more powerful 180hp diesel engine and whilst lacking any aural excitement, for the most part it remained muted and refined.

Performance is brisk with the timed sprint to 60mph taking less than seven seconds. Top speed is an academic 143mph if you are interested.

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Alfa Romeo quotes some impressive economy figures too, with 67.3mpg promised for the combined cycle. The test car's trip computer tipped over 50mpg during a leisurely motorway cruise and settled at 43mpg over the full week. Emissions are commendably low at 109g/km CO2, a boon for the business motorist in particular.

High speed cruising is a relaxed affair with very little wind or road noise to interrupt a conversation or some light music from the powerful stereo.

However, once the roads turn twisty then the Giulia really comes alive. The high-geared steering is terrific, allowing the Alfa to be placed with pin-point accuracy. Body roll is commendably absent and the ride firm but comfortable. Clearly a well sorted rear-wheel drive chassis...

As a car to cover ground quickly, the Giulia excels and above all it excites and encourages you to take the long way home.

Those who dwell in more rural areas should note that at present the Giulia is not currently available with four-wheel drive.

The Giulia's interior offers impressive passenger space, although getting in requires some agility. Blame the low roof line and narrow doors. Four large adults will find space to spread, but a third rear seat passenger will find a firm perch and a rather large transmission tunnel spoils the day.

The other seats are comfortable and I remained relaxed even after many continuous hours behinds the wheel - a good, if low-slung driving position helped.

The boot will hold 480 litres of luggage and the rear seats can be folded for longer loads.

Mid-spec 'Super' models boast all the equipment you could possibly need, with part leather seats, 8.8-inch infotainment screen with intuitive satellite navigation and smart 17-inch alloy wheels.

Everything works well, but there's no doubt the interior can't match the established rivals for ambiance and trim quality, which is a shame. A little more Italian flair is required.

Euro NCAP has safety tested the new Giulia and it scored top marks. Adult occupant protection was especially impressive.

Aiding the score is the autonomous emergency braking system which can warn if it senses an imminent impact. Fail to respond and it will apply the brakes. I didn't test it.

You can further up the ante by adding blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.

So now comes crunch time... With a generous £30,000 or so budget, would I choose the Giulia over say a Jaguar XE or BMW 3 Series?

As a keen driver, the answer is a resounding yes as this is the best driving and most fun car in its class. I could make a case for all the Giulia's rivals, but at last Alfa has a competitive car that deserves to do well. Add it to your shopping list and try one before you commit elsewhere is my advice.

Fast Facts

Alfa Romeo Giulia Super TD
Price £32,990 as tested
180hp 2,143cc turbodiesel engine
8-speed automatic gearbox
0-62mph in 7.1 seconds
Top speed 143mph
Combined economy 67.3mpg
Emissions - 109g/km CO2
36 month/100,000 mile warranty

Always Fancied Owning An Alfa Romeo? The New Giulia May Well Be For You, 5th July 2017, 0:01 AM