Review: Alfa Romeo Giulietta
While Italian marques have often suffered poor fit and finish, you, could never fault them when it comes to styling flair and attention to design detail.
The latest incarnation of Alfa Romeo’s Gillette looks at first glance Iike a classic sleek, low and lean sports coupé but take a closer look and you’ll notice the cleverly concealed rear door handles, which open to reveal a spacious and well-appointed five-seater hatchback interior that offers high levels of comfort, along with class-leading safety levels – and it is commendably well-made.
Back in the 1950s, it was the original Giulietta that lifted Alfa from the ranks of specialist sports car makers and introduced the brand into the mass market. There have been lots of changes since those days and Alfa Romeo has for a long time being pat of the massive Fiat corporation but, despite a few duds along the way, the brand has always managed to cling on to its soul.
Available in Turismo, Lusso, Veloce or top of the range Cloverleaf trim levels, the Giulietta offers a choice of three diesels, including the award-winning 1.4 TB Multi Air and the potent Cloverleaf 1.7 TBi 235 bhp engine. There are also three petrol offerings – a 1.6 and a choice of two 2.0 litre units, one developing 140 bhp, the other 170.
The clever Alfa DNA driving mode system, electronic Q2 differential and stop-and-start technology are part of a technically sophisticated specification.
The DNA set-up enables the car’s personality to automatically adapt to the requirements of different driving styles and road conditions. It achieves this by altering the throttle response and steering stiffness. Normal, dynamic or all-weather modes can be selected.
Comfort levels are good but, as you’d expect from an Alfa, there’s nothing soft and squidgy about the suspension. This is a car that cries out to be driven hard. The fastest diesel will crack the 0-62 mph sprint in under eight seconds and gallop on to an impressive 130 mph top speed without ever threatening to run out of breath.
Any dislikes? Well, the gear changes were stiff and clunky and the dials difficult to read, especially in conditions of bright sunlight.
You can slip behind the sporty three-spoke steering wheel of one of these delightful little hot hatches for between £17,450 and £25,000 – it’s a serious alternative to a Golf, combining, as it does, Italian flair with solid engineering.