Is the Alfa Giulia as good to drive as it is to look at?
I recently did something that I have never done in all my 12 years of reviewing cars. I attended an Alfa Romeo launch. The wait was well worth it as I got the opportunity to spend some time with not one but two beautiful Italians.
Let’s start with the one that I drove first, the updated Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce. So the brand has decided that it will only offer two derivatives of the Giulia. This includes the aforementioned model and the sportier QV, the one with the 2.9-litre V6 turbocharged motor.
Here’s the thing, Alfa South Africa has ticked all the boxes on the options sheet for the Veloce (seen here) so that you, the customer, don’t have to. The cars are fully optioned with all the bells and even more whistles, but let's start with the visual appearance because my goodness it is gorgeous.
Look, the design appeal of a car is always subjective but be honest with yourself, this Alfa is beautiful. Every angle is appealing, I particularly like the rear quarter view. The wheels just fill the flared arches so nicely. Wait, I also like the side profile, the rear and the front. Ok, I like all angles. Driving around I felt as if I was doing other road users a favour by driving past them and allowing them to witness this car, even if for a moment. The updated rear bumper now includes a new diffuser element with black dual-exit exhaust tips.
The interior is also a pleasant place to be. It is actually very simple in its layout but that’s a good thing. There is very little clutter which makes interactions with the various elements seamless. Quality is pretty decent with soft-touch materials and leather trim throughout the interior. I particularly like the steering wheel and the fact that there are fixed aluminum paddle shifters. They just offer a different feel to the plastic ones on many of the competitors. The metal gets cold, it gets warm, it has a tactile feel that adds to the overall experience behind the wheel.
When it comes to infotainment, an 8.8-inch screen has been employed and it is touch operated or can be operated via a rotary dial on the center console. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on offer, however not wireless. There is a wireless charger, multiple USB ports and dual-zone climate control. Both the driver and passenger seats are electrically adjustable, 8 way by the way. There is also a 7-inch colour display that is nestled between the two analogue gauges of the cluster.
Right, so what about that driving experience? Well, the Alfa Romeo Guilia Veloce is powered by a 206kW 2.0-litre turbocharged motor with 400 of Sir Isaac Newton’s finest. The ZF 8-speed automatic is also really impressive. The shifts both down and up are so quick, smooth and the lightest touch on one of those aluminum paddles will see a gear being changed.
Add to that a brilliantly tuned chassis and 50/50 weight distribution and you have the recipe for a car that is not only relatively fast on the straights but one which remains composed through the corners. The steering feel is great, in fact as I left the parking lot I could tell that the steering was good. It was only until I started exploiting the cars' performance credentials out on the roads in and around the Cradle of Humankind did I realize just how good it all felt.
When you are done driving like a bit of a hooligan you can use the DNA driving modes (Dynamic, Normal, and Advanced Efficiency) to adjust the vehicle's setup according to your mood.
After a good day behind the wheel of the Alfa Giulia Veloce I left the media launch satisfied. The car impressed me, it drove as good as it looks and it offers a lot in terms of spec. It is the driving dynamics that left myself and many other motoring scribes in agreement. I can’t wait to spend more time with it later on.
So you like what I’m saying here but you are over sedans, you want the same thing but in SUV guise, don’t worry, Alfa has the Stelvio. We will expand on what the Stelvio is like when we get it for a road test.