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2019 Alfa Romeo 1188 Giulia 31576 401529
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Introduction

The Alfa Romeo Giulia sport sedan brings brisk acceleration and sharp handling to the Fiat Chrysler luxury-car portfolio.

For the 2019 model year, the Giulia lineup gains a host of new wheel designs and revised trim packages. New standard 19-inch alloy wheels go on the Giulia Ti Sport. Quadrifoglios get anodized brake calipers with red “Alfa Romeo” script, along with 40/20/40 folding rear seats with a third headrest. Heated rear seats are optional. New “Nero Edition” option packages are available for each Giulia version

Giulias come in four basic flavors, each with a host of available options: base Giulia, Ti, Sport, and fire-breathing Quadrifoglio. Ti Sport, Lusso, and Sport Carbon editions are essentially option packages.

Base Giulias use a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque. Aluminum paddle shifters are available for the 8-speed automatic transmission. Lower-end Giulias may have either rear- or all-wheel drive.

The top-rung Giulia Quadrifoglio (Italian for four-leaf clover) retains the 8-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive, but drops in a Ferrari-derived, twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 that cranks out a thundering 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration to 60 mph takes a mere 3.8 seconds, versus 5.1 seconds for a 4-cylinder model.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash-tested the Giulia. However, satisfying ratings have come from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which named Giulia a Top Safety Pick in 2018.

Active safety technology is optional on most versions. Paying $500 extra on Giulia and Giulia Ti trim levels can add automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection ΓÇô a worthwhile option. Those features are standard on the Quadrifoglio.

Other option packages bundle such features as adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, lane-departure warnings, and blind-spot monitors.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $1,295 destination charge.

Base Giulia ($38,295 with rear-drive, $40,295 with all-wheel drive) has the 4-cylinder engine, leather upholstery, keyless ignition, rear parking sensors, drive mode selector, 17-inch wheels, and a 6.5-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Sport ($39,745 with RWD, $41,745) adds aluminum accents and pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and paddle shifters.

Ti ($40,495 with RWD, $42,495 with AWD) comes with heated seats, 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment, 18-inch wheels, and wood interior trim.

Ti Lusso ($42,995 with RWD, $44,995 with AWD) includes upgraded wood and leather trim.

Ti Sport ($43,195 with RWD, $45,195 with AWD) comes with 19-inch wheels and a body kit.

Ti Sport Carbon ($47,995 with RWD, $49,995 with AWD) adds carbon-fiber body components.

Quadrifoglio Twin-Turbo V6 ($73,995) has rear-wheel drive and includes carbon fiber interior trim, distinctive styling, a carbon fiber roof and hood, adaptive performance suspension, Race mode, torque vectoring, active aero front splitter, Harman Kardon audio, navigation, and full-speed forward collision warnings.

Walkaround

Showing off an alluring pattern of curves, aligned for best effect, the Giulia represents the iconic styling that’s long been expected in Italian automobiles.

Up front, Alfa Romeo’s familiar shield-shaped grille sits between thin headlights that reach deeply into its fenders. At the rear, taillights echo the Giulia’s front lights. On the Quadrifoglio, a bigger body kit subtly increases visual sportiness.

Like it or not, a Giulia is likely to draw attention wherever it goes.

Interior

Alfa Romeo aims the Giulia at folks who delight in driving, and it shows. A joy to hold and control, the thick-rimmed steering wheel instantly hints at sporting potential.

Canting toward the driver, the dashboard isn’t as imaginative as the Giulia’s exterior suggests, though wood and aluminum trim options make it dressier. Most controls are grouped below air vents and on the center console.

Front occupants should expect tight, but comfortable, seats with 10-way power adjustment. The driver’s spot is firm and well-bolstered, and forward vision excels. For $3,500, Quadrifoglios can be fitted with snug racing-style carbon fiber seats, upholstered with leather.

Rear-seat passengers get snug seats with decent leg room. Back-door openings are rather narrow, restricting access.

Standard leather upholstery elevates the Giulia cabin, but some controls feel a bit scattered. Optional nappa leather and open-pore wood trim inject some welcome Italian style.

Alfa Romeo’s standard infotainment setup is less effective than the larger (8.8-inch) screen in upper models, which is integrated more effectively.

The trunk has a wide opening, but cargo volume is about 13 cubic feet ΓÇô low for a compact sport sedan.

Driving Impressions

Not many sport sedans exude charm and personality like Alfa Romeo’s eager, curvaceous Giulia. Most of the time, it’s sheer joy to drive. Sharp steering and beautifully composed handling join with strong powertrains to turn ordinary outings into an experience.

In any form, ride quality is firm and composed ΓÇô but not punishing, at least with the standard suspension. Standard 17-inch tires behave well on broken-up pavement.

Optional adaptive dampers are worth considering. Softer than standard ordinarily, they tighten nicely to suit spirited driving.

Because the Giulia transmits so much activity from the road to the driver, steering becomes a tactile experience. Quick steering with swift reactions makes the Giulia a joyous companion on winding roads, but keeping it centered on long straightaways is a greater challenge.

Performance differs sharply between the two Giulia engines. The base 4-cylinder is smooth and quiet, and its abundant power mates nicely with the transmission.

A knob selects Dynamic, Natural, or Advanced Efficiency mode, altering throttle, transmission, and steering responses accordingly. With the available adaptive suspension, Dynamic mode tightens everything, but without growing too harsh.

Ferrari’s input to the Quadrifoglio’s V-6 engine is evident, as it revs eagerly toward a 6,500-rpm redline. Almost pleading to be pushed hard, the V-6 works well with the automatic, which produces quick, firm shifts in Dynamic or Race mode.

Even when driven hard, the Quadrifoglio exhibits a balanced, natural feel ΓÇô predictable and controlled. Steering is even quicker than any 4-cylinder Giulia, yet toned-down for urban driving, in Natural mode. Standard Brembo brakes are strong and resist fading. Costly carbon-ceramic brakes are an option.

The Giulia’s 4-cylinder engine balances performance with competitive fuel-efficiency, EPA-rated at 24/33 mpg City/Highway, 27 Combined, with rear-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive sedan is EPA-rated at 23/31/26 mpg. The thirstier V-6 is EPA-rated at 17/24/20 mpg. All Giulias require premium gasoline.

Summary

Any Alfa Giulia provides an entertaining drive. The better-equipped Ti Lusso or Sport edition are a prudent choice for most drivers, but the Quadrifoglio is a high-performance thrill. Few competitive compact sedans, European or otherwise, approach the Giulia’s blend of charm, character, and road behavior.

 

Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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