Alfa Romeo Giulia review New Zealand
My friends at Winger Alfa Romeo were kind enough to offer me their Giulia Quadrifoglio for the weekend, which in turn invoked a fair amount of inner turmoil. For, although I had been chomping at the bit to drive the Giulia again, as most Alfa owners would probably attest, the Romeo’s of old have a bit of a reputation. They are beautifully designed and wonderfully entertaining vehicles but have a tendency to be a little, let’s just say, temperamental.
To add to my nail biting, the Auckland weather bureau had forecasted torrential rain, now I’m not sure about you, but having access to an Italian sports car with 375kW’s of power, 600Nm of torques combined with sodden and slippery tarmac is not exactly confidence inspiring.
Anyway, with the keys in my hand, and the strictest of orders NOT to drive in Race mode, I headed north out of Newmarket.
Being stuck in highway traffic gave me plenty of time to check out Giulia’s cabin. The leather and Alcantara upholstered seats are form fitting (even mine), firm and yet not painfully so. The QV leather steering wheel with red starter button really means business as do the fixed mounted and very large gear paddles (which I used a lot). She has carbon fibre trim throughout her interior which adds to the racy theme but also comes loaded with driver and safety aids such as rear camera, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring (with rear cross path detection). Oh and let’s not forget the 8.8” colour display screen that offers up navigation and a Harman/Kardon sound theatre that isn’t the loudest or most powerful but like me, I doubt you’ll care.
Heading through the tunnel, it gave me chance to listen to the sound of Giulia’s voice, a tap down of several gears let the rev needle spin quickly clockwise and in turn, released the glory of the 2.9L V6 bi-turbo through the open baffled Monza exhaust, all while staying well within the legal speed limits.
With traffic easing and some country roads to play with, it was time to turn that dial. Giulia’s DNA (+race) is controlled via an attractive dial near the gear lever. It changes the car’s driving modes to suit different driving conditions. The A is for all-weather, ideal for the conditions I was facing. It turns all the traction settings to their peak and tames the horses that the V6 powerhouse produces. N is for Neutral, it’s for that everyday drive. Then there’s D for Dynamic, a frisky drive that increases the pulse rate. (We’re not to speak of glove off mode Race). As I stated earlier, I actually thought that driving in D mode in the rain would have been too much but it was not the case. Giulia’s active suspension, torque vectoring and tidy traction control, allowed a very spirited and yet very confident drive – with a little wiggle here and there to keep me focused.
As the weather eased a little, I took the opportunity to park up and admire the Giulia’s shape and form. Dressed in Vulcano black, this is a four door, four seat, executive vehicle but from its 19-Inch forged alloys, near ground level carbon fibre active aero splitter, carbon fibre bonnet, roof and rear spoiler and red brake calipers, it’s every bit the performance sports car.
The Giulia heralds a new chapter for Alfa, one that includes stringent and multiple quality control checks and balances and I have to say she didn’t miss a beat in my care, sigh. Enough of all that, time to hit the road again.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is at heart a driver’s car. It has the looks and pizzazz that the Alfa’s are renowned for but also boasts reliability and confidence that has maybe been a little lacking in the past. I have no doubt that over time, Giulia will inherit a few of her own foibles (after all she has Alfa DNA) but I think in the end, that will just endear her to us further – because there really is, something about Giulia.
More about Alfa Romeo Giulia here