The alternative you might have been waiting for
Alfa Romeo, although a highly recognisable brand, has been somewhat quiet round these parts of late. A few years back when I was at CAR magazine still, I had an Alfa Romeo Mito as a long term test car. As much as I enjoyed it, it proved too small for my lifestyle at the time (I was dating a surfer and there was no space for his surfboard…so basically it didn’t fit his lifestyle, but that’s a whole other story) so I swapped longtermers with a colleague and so ended my affair with Alfa. Until now…
I headed to the Franschhoek Motor Museum to attend the launch of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia and I was so excited to once again get behind the wheel of such an iconic brand. The MD of FCA South Africa, Robin Janse van Rensburg, began the day talking about the brand’s heritage. It was a long talk because, well, its heritage dates all the way back to 1906. Then we got a look at the new Giulia and it is everything you’d want from Alfa. It’s striking and so typically Alfa Romeo.
It’s been a while since Alfa has played in the D-segment sedan market and so it’s comeback had to be one with a bang. The Giulia Quadrafolio Verde is it’s bang (costing R1.4 mil neveryoumind)! It is the fastest D-segment saloon in the world with a top speed of 307 km/h and a 0-100 km/h sprint in under 4 seconds. We got to take it around Mr Rupert’s race track on the farm and I can confidently say fun was had by all. The brand’s tagline comes to mind, “Mechanics of emotion.” But speaking of confidence, I did not feel it inspired much confidence when turning in to the corners, even with its precisely accurate steering, as the body roll and what I like to call “floaty feel” made me a little unsure of my driving skills. Then again, we could just put this down to my actual driving skills…but we won’t!
The model I was most looking forward to driving was in fact the standard Giulia as this will be the one my readers would be more interested in buying (I assume). Bearing in mind this segment is ruled by the German trio, Alfa certainly has an uphill battle if it wants to make the numbers the trio makes. Thankfully, it doesn’t. In fact, Alfa wants the Giulia “to be the alternative, something different to the norm,” according to Janse van Rensberg.
The Base model starts at R555 000 and like the other two derivatives, namely the Super and the Stile Pack (R625 000 and R695 000 respectively), it is powered by a 2,0 turbopetrol engine producing 147 kW of power and 330 N.m of torque. It is mated to a standard 8-speed automatic transmission and unfortunately when you put your foot flat there is a moment of hesitancy which can be somewhat unsettling. But on the open road the ride is smooth, the seats comfortable and rear leg room is sufficient, even for my two co-drivers who are 6ft tall and who sat behind each other. Their one gripe was that of the seating position which they felt sat too high, I found it to be perfect for me because, well if the seat is set too low, I can’t see over the steering wheel.
The Giulia is certainly a great alternative to what is already offered in this segment. You might still consider the Lexus IS or the Jaguar XE as the alternatives, but the Giulia certainly needs to be on your list.
All Alfa Romeo’s come standard with a 3-year/ 100 000 km warranty and 6-year/ 100 00 km maintenance plan.