Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016-present)

The Giulia brings Italian style and driving fun to family car buyers

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Fun to drive: brings a smile to the commute
Feels sporty but doesn't sacrifice comfort
Designed with Italian pizzazz

Weaknesses 

Restricted choice of engines and equipment
Likely to lose value faster than alternatives
Reliability: Alfa Romeo has a poor reputation

If you’re bored of BMWs and uninspired by Audis, then Alfa Romeo claims that its new medium-size family car is every bit as competent and luxurious as its German rivals. Plus it has Italian style to boot - including a quirky offset numberplate.

It wants buyers to look at the Alfa Romeo Giulia instead of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class - as well as the British Jaguar XE. It’s a tough task: these four are among the best all-round cars on the road, offering comfort, driving fun and high-quality interiors.

Previous Alfa Romeos have had a reputation for being fragile but the Giulia's interior feels close to Audi quality - a very good thing. There are some nice touches that drivers of German premium cars will appreciate, most noticeably the ability to control the dashboard screen using a centrally mounted controller, rather than having to poke a touchscreen. The car isn’t exactly roomy inside, but there’s space in the back for two adults to sit comfortably.

The Giulia is a traditional sports saloon, so it has has rear-wheel drive. The engine’s power isn’t sent to the front wheels - as with most other cars - so their only job is to steer, which usually makes the car feel nimbler and sportier.

There is only one, 8-speed automatic, gearbox but you can change gears manually with the gearstick or, on some models, with paddles behind the steering wheel. All petrol and diesel engines are quick and smooth but the sportiest is the Quadrifoglio (four-leaf clover in Italian), powered by a V6 petrol engine built by Ferrari engineers and is likely to cost more than £50,000 when it arrives with the rest of the range in September. 

It’ll be too extravagant for most, but it does share some of its lightweight and hi-tech carbon fibre parts with other versions which will be cheaper, although exact pricing has yet to be announced.

This helps to make the Giulia a light car. The diesel weighs 80kg less than the equivalent BMW 3-Series diesel and you feel that lightness when you take to the road.

The car responds quickly to steering and resists lean into bends. Indeed, its stability gives you that happy sportscar sensation of encouraging you to go faster and faster in corners. At the same time, the Italian car manages to remain impressively comfortable, matching the very best cars (the BMW 3-series and Jaguar XE) in this respect.

A family hatchback, like the Ford Mondeo or VW Passat, might be cheaper and more practical, thanks to its more versatile boot, but the Giulia and its rivals feel more luxurious, more fun to drive and - arguably - more stylish.

We’ve only driven early test Giulias so far, which had a couple of electronic faults – the cruise control didn’t work, for example. If Alfa resolves those problems before the car goes on sale, then buyers will have a very appealing alternative to the competition.

Last Updated 

Monday, July 4, 2016 - 17:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / unlimited miles
Boot size: 
480-litres
Width: 
2024mm
Length: 
4643mm
Height: 
1436mm
Tax: 
From B (free) to J (£490 in first year and £270 thereafter)

Best Alfa Romeo Giulia for... 

Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 diesel
Until more economical versions arrive, the 2.2-litre diesel model is the most frugal and has low carbon dioxide emissions of 109g/km, which reduces taxes.
Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 diesel
The diesel is the best all-rounder, and all models are good on safety spec, coming with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking as standard.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
The Quadrifoglio is an absolute beast, with rip-roaring performance from its 510hp V6 engine

Alfa Romeo Giulia History 

  • September 2016 Goes on sale in the UK

Understanding Alfa Romeo Giulia car names 

  • Giulia
  • Trim
    Super
  • Engine
    2.2 150
  • Gearbox
    AT8
  • Trim
    There are two standard trim levels: Giulia and Giulia Super, which comes with more equipment. The Super can be further upgraded with one of two equipment packs – Luxury and Sport. A third trim level, Quadrifoglio is only available with the V6 engine.
  • Engine
    Alfa Romeo model names include the engine size - 2.2-litres in this case - along with their power rating, in horsepower. The most powerful car is labelled V6: the engine is made up of six cylinders, arranged in a v-shape.
  • Gearbox
    AT8 means an automatic gearbox with eight gears. There is no manual option.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Engines 

2.2 150 diesel, 2.2 180 diesel, 2.2 180 diesel Eco, 2.0 200 petrol, 2.9 V6 BiTurbo

The engines in the Alfa Romeo Giulia are all brand new, so they use some of the latest technology to make them powerful and economical. The most popular engine is likely to the be the new 2.2-litre diesel which is offered in 150hp or 180hp power outputs.

The higher power version we tested was smooth and powerful, accelerating from 0-62mph in a claimed time of 7.1 seconds. The lesser-powered 150hp car takes 8.2 seconds.

The range at launch is one the small side when you consider the choice offered by the German rivals, but this will improve as the Guilia range gets going. An Eco version of the 180bhp diesel, with improved fuel economy, will arrive later this year, and the Italians are also planning a high-power model with over 200hp.

The sensible petrol option is a new 2.0-litre turbocharged unit with 200hp and one that compares favourably to similar engines made by BMW or Mercedes. This gives a decent slug of power combined with a pleasingly sporty noise if you put your foot down, but is also smooth and quiet when driving at a steady speed. Alfa says higher-powered versions of this engine will follow, most likely at the beginning of 2017.

The Quadrifoglio engine is the 2.9-litre V6 with twin turbochargers to boost power without using much extra fuel and a thumping great 510hp on tap. Alfa says it was designed by the same engineers that work on Ferrari engines and the performance it delivers certainly wouldn’t shame a supercar.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration

Top speed

2.2 150

Diesel

67.3mpg

150hp

0 - 62mph: 8.2s

137mph

2.2 180

Diesel

67.3mpg

180hp

0 - 62mph: 7.1s

143mph

2.0

Petrol

47.9mpg*

200hp

0 - 62mph: 6.6s

146mph*

2.9 V6 BiTurbo

Petrol

33.2mpg

510hp

0 - 62mph: 3.9s

191mph

*estimated

 

Alfa Romeo Giulia Trims 

Giulia, Super (Luxury Pack or Sport Pack), Quadrifoglio

With a generous level of standard equipment for the Giula, many buyers will decide that the standard model is all they need. It has cruise control and safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking that can stop the car and avoid a crash, as well as lane departure warning that sounds an alert if you drift out of your lane on a motorway.

All cars also come with a 6.5in screen in the centre of the dashboard. Alfa has followed Mercedes, BMW and Audi in having a dial to control the functions - such as radio - which is generally safer on the move than using a touchscreen. A bigger 8.8in screen with 3D sat nav is available as an option.

Move to Super and you get paddles behind the steering wheel for easier manual operation of the standard automatic gearbox, as well as upping the size of the alloy wheels from 16in to 17in. Some parts of the fabric seats are also replaced with leather.

You can further increase equipment on the Super by choosing one of two packs, Luxury or Sport. Luxury brings full leather seats as well as electric powered and heated front seats. The headlights are upgraded to brighter xenon lamps that also follow your steering to illuminate round corners. Sport meanwhile also includes the same lights while adding a sports steering wheel and some extra aluminium trim.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Reliability and warranty 

Some of the Giulias the press were able to drive at the Italian media launch in May experienced electronic glitches - a failed cruise control, for example - which raises the fear that Alfa hasn’t improved on its so-so reputation for reliability. The brand itself finished an unimpressive 27th out of 32 manufacturers in the Auto Express 2016 Driver Power satisfaction survey, and last time the Giulia’s long-retired predecessor, the 159, appeared in the survey, back in 2014, it finished 129 out of 150 cars.

It is possible that the problems were ironed out before the first cars went on sale. High-mileage drivers can take comfort that Alfa Romeo’s warranty, while not particularly long at three years, doesn’t have a mileage limit.

Used Alfa Romeo Giulia 

The car has yet to launch in the UK, so it’ll be into 2017 before used versions appear.