Now 510hp Alfa super saloons are all well and good but, rather like M3s and C63s,
is not the Giulia many customers are actually going to buy. Those models will be the - shudder - diesels and the lower powered petrols, initial details of which have been released at Geneva.
Please be good, please be good, please be good...
The non-QV Giulia range will comprise a 200hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo as well as a pair of 2.2-litre diesels, either with 150 or 180hp. Customers will be able to choose from a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. You'll notice already a big gap between that petrol engine and the flagship in terms of power, plus the lack of a larger diesel engine to compete with cars like the 330d, 3.0 TDI A4 and C350d. They will likely follow in due course.
The petrol engine is a new aluminium MultiAir unit promising "outstanding efficiency and low emissions". Along with 200hp it makes 243lb ft at 1,750rpm; full tech details are due ahead of the summer launch.
But of course in the UK it's the diesels that will matter to the Giulia's success. The 2.2-litre engine is Alfa's first aluminium diesel and boasts a variable geometry turbo, while a balancing countershaft should keep it smooth. The stats so far are 150hp at 4,000rpm with 280lb ft at 1,500rpm and 180hp at 3,750rpm with 332lb ft at 1,750rpm for the more powerful diesel. Perhaps more than those it will be the fuel consumption and CO2 figures that will matter, which are expected soon.
Dark blue only offered with tan leather. Maybe
Alfa has divulged some weights already though, claiming that a 180hp diesel weighs 1,374kg dry thanks in part to aluminium doors, aluminium wings and a carbon driveshaft. But then the 4C has never matched its claimed kerbweight so we will maintain a little cynicism for a while yet.
Underneath, there are double wishbones up front and an Alfa Link rear suspension set up. Alfa claims the most direct steering ratio in the segment (11.8) as well as "top performance, driving pleasure and comfort for all versions of the new Giulia."
Technology like torque vectoring, the active aero splitter and chassis domain control are held back for the QV. That being said, all Giulias will come with Alfa's DNA mode selection switch, an electromechanical braking system and the usual roster of active safety features.
New eight-speed auto offered with BIG paddles
Now we were fortunate enough to have a quick poke around the Giulia's interior at Geneva, albeit after a long and politely British wait in a queue. And it looks pretty good! It's clearly very driver focused, with a canted dash, a low driving position, a steering wheel that's nice to hold and plenty of info between the dials. Even now though it would be hard to say it's as pleasant inside as an A4 - quelle surprise - and the manual didn't feel brilliant in that invaluable motor show test of shifting it around when stationary. The first impression was mainly positive though, and the materials seemed decent.
Alfa will offer the Giulia in three specifications: a Giulia, er, Giulia, a Giulia Super and the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Again, the full breakdown of those and prices will follow at a later date.
The international launch for the Giulia is scheduled for the summer, so presumably we can't be too far off the full range information. So what do you think? Can it take on the compact executive establishment? Would you buy one over an XE, 3 Series or A4? And can a new Alfa ever meet the expectations placed on it? Answers to a few of those to follow as soon as possible!
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