It has been a long time coming. All those corporate promises from the FIAT Group, all those hopes of a proper comeback, and now it is here, the car to (hopefully) resurrect Alfa Romeo fortunes as a car maker, and what better way to do it than to bring the fight right up to the doorstep of the hegemony of German sedans such as the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, with the Giulia.
Sending Message in Power and Style
Launched at the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, near Milan in Italy, Alfa Romeo says that the Giulia is the embodiment of the five elements from which it made its name; distinctive Italian styling, state-of-the-art innovative engines, perfect 50/50 weight distribution, unique technical solutions, and the best power-to-weight ratio. Not only that, the Giulia marks the marque’s return to building rear-wheel drive sedans.
Though the Giulia is the brand’s first four-door sedan since the incredibly sexy 159, Alfa Romeo wasted no time in establishing their intent for their new baby, which is to be the ultimate performance benchmark. As such, Alfa Romeo chose to unveil the Giulia in its ultimate iteration, the Quadrifoglio, which features a six-cylinder turbocharged all-aluminium engine that was “inspired by Ferrari technologies” and develops 510PS. Though no detailed performance figures and drivetrain technologies were revealed, Alfa Romeo promises a 0 to 100km/h time of 3.9 seconds for the Quadrifoglio.
Being a car of Europe, Alfa Romeo promises that there will be a range of both petrol and diesel engines, all of which will be made entirely from aluminium to reduce weight and help achieve the car’s 50/50 front-rear weight distribution.
Continuing Alfa Romeo’s reputation of impeccable Italian styling, the Giulia’s immaculate proportions are based on the technical architecture of the entire car. As such the Giulia sports all the classic sports car looks, with very short front overhangs, a long bonnet and front wings, a retracted passenger compartment, and muscular rear wings. According to Alfa Romeo, the Giulia sports a “very generous wheelbase” that is said to be the longest in its category.
Put together the Giulia’s smooth clean shape that recreates the “teardrop shaped” profile which is reminiscent of the classic Giulietta Sprint, gives it an immaculate and alluring appearance.
Suspension, Steering, and Handling
One of the hallmarks that made Alfa Romeo so well loved amongst enthusiast was the application of engineering solutions for the sole benefit of handling. And Alfa Romeo aims to revive that reputation with the Giulia. The front suspension of the Giulia is a new double wishbone suspension with semi-virtual steering axis that was developed to optimise the filtering effect and guarantee rapid and accurate steering, Alfa Romeo claims that in any situation and at all speeds, the Giulia offers the most direct steering ratio available that is both natural and instinctive to the driver.
To improve handling and aid in taming all that power from the Quadrifoglio’s powerplant, the Giulia is said to feature Torque Vectoring with a double clutch to allow the rear differential to send torque to either one of the rear wheels. However if you think that having a rear-wheel drive is a little too hairy, Alfa Romeo says that the Giulia will also be offered with a four-wheel drive system.
When it comes to the business of keeping all that speed and horsepower tamed, the Giulia is said to feature an Integrated Brake System, which is a electromechanical system that combines stability control and a traditional servo brake for better braking response.
Though Alfa Romeo didn’t reveal any hard numbers on the Giulia’s weight, they claim that it will be able to achieve a weight-to-power ratio of less than 3kg-per-hp, thus putting that figure around the 1,500kg region. Alfa Romeo claims that its relatively low weight and 50-50 weight distribution is achieved through the use of carbon fibre in the propeller shaft, aluminium for the bonnet, roof, engine, brakes, suspension components, doors, and fenders. Further weight optimisation measures also include the usage of carbon ceramic disc brakes and seat that feature carbon fibre structural frames.
When Can We Have It?
If reading all this has gotten you excited about the return of Alfa Romeo, it is best of hold your horses. Since Sime Darby relinquished the Alfa Romeo franchise at the end of 2013, nobody has taken up the brand in Malaysia since. So your best choice for it now is to wait up for somebody with the resources and the boldness to step up to the challenge of bringing back the legendary Italian brand, which is going to be a pretty tall order.
That being said, there is a touch of scepticism with the news of the Giulia, considering the lack of hard numbers behind the Giulia’s performance figures or actual dimensions, or the lack of interior details of the Giulia. Perhaps Alfa Romeo isn’t entirely prepared to give the Giulia its prime time, but we certainly hope that they are hard at work preparing it for the real world. Because it has been a long time coming, and for many enthusiasts a name like Alfa Romeo deserves another chance to live again.
In the meantime listen to the glorious noise and the sweet bellow of the Giulia Quadrifoglio from the video, and imagine the return of Alfa Romeo. It is good therapy.