BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz must be looking nervously over their shoulders, as Alfa Romeo reveals the new Giulia, a four door sports sedan with just as much heritage as the afore-mentioned trio.
In many markets, this new Giulia is a relaunch of Alfa Romeo, with this car available in both right hand drive as well as the Italian left hand drive.
Launched overseas earlier this year, the Giulia, which was developed in part with Ferrari’s help – is a rear wheel drive four door sedan with specifications which outshine the current class leaders.
From February 2017, there will be four variants to choose from with the top of the line being the Giulia QV (which I am told represents the Quadrifoglio, Alfa Romeo’s four leaf clover insignia).
This new Giulia should not be confused with the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider which is based on the new Japanese MX5. The QV is based on an all-new platform which will also underpin the forthcoming Stelvio SUV.
Power comes from a 2.9 liter twin-turbo V6 petrol engine, which had Ferrari input and produces 375 kW at 6500 rpm and 600 Nm torque, available from 2500 to 5000 rpm. With an all-up weight of just 1555 kg, Alfa claims the Giulia QV will cover zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and will not run out of breath until 305 km/h. Fuel consumption figures for this engine are 8.2 liters per 100 km.
In comparison the BMW M3 and M4 only make 331 kW and 550 Nm in competition spec, though the AMG C63 matches the Alfa Romeo in power but the Mercedes delivers 700 Nm torque.
The Giulia QV has RWD with active torque vectoring on the rear axle, a limited slip diff and an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, but a six-speed manual is available as a no-cost option.
It also gets adaptive dampers as standard, along with six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brake calipers.
Standard equipment will include 19 inch alloy wheels with Pirelli tyres, bi-Xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system and automatic high beam, electric powered and heated leather seats, carbon and aluminium trim and an 8.8 inch multimedia screen with satellite navigation.
On the active safety front, it has forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian awareness, blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning and active cruise control.
Reviewers who have driven the new Alfa Romeo say that headroom and knee room in the rear is surprisingly good, though foot room is a little cramped with the low-slung sports seats of the QV.
The next Giulia down is the Giulia Veloce, which is powered by a 2.0 liter four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, producing 206 kW and 400 Nm giving performance figures of zero to 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds, and will use a claimed 6.1 L/100 km on the combined cycle.
Two versions of the mid-spec Giulia Super will be offered. The first will offer a lower-tune version of the Veloce petrol engine, making 147 kW and 330 Nm, while a new 2.2 liter turbocharged diesel will produce 132 kW and 450 Nm. The diesel engine variant uses 4.2 L/100 km.
The base model is just called the Giulia and has the Super’s 147 kW/330 Nm petrol engine.
The entry level car gets leather trim, 18 inch alloys, bi-Xenon headlamps, keyless entry, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors and a reverse parking camera, but does not get the blind-spot warning.
The Super models get better leather and blind spot monitoring, while the Veloce gets adaptive suspension, limited slip diff, 19 inch alloys and an uprated braking package, with red calipers.
Inside, the Veloce’s cabin gets aluminium dash inserts and pedals, sports leather seats and steering wheel and a better sound system.
It certainly looks as if Alfa Romeo has a worthy contender in the sports sedan stakes, though the one factor not revealed was the price. Let us wait with interest. Perhaps we might even see the Alfa Romeo marque exhibiting at the Bangkok International Motor Show in March.