Alfa Romeo, there’s something different about them but they’re generally well liked in the car enthusiast world. They are recognized as the automobile of choice for those who don’t run with the pack. But like any other company they still need sales to survive so how does this new Giulia Veloce balance the rich history of the company with the need to appeal to the market?!
First launched in 2015/16, the Giulia has already been around a while and was well overdue for a mid life facelift. Not only that, the company have swapped the two previous models for a Veloce Carbon now. Effectively, there’s only two Giulia models you can buy currently, the Veloce Carbon and the Quadrifoglio. Now everyone has heard how good the QV is but it is also expensive. The Veloce has quietly lived in its shadow for years now but it deserves the spotlight too.
You might be wondering why this 2021 Giulia looks much the same as the old model?! Well that’s because it is! There was nothing wrong with the Giulia’s looks in the first place so why change it. Alfa have wisely stuck with their irresistible style but added a garnish of Carbon for this model. On the outside, the famous triangular grille is framed with carbon fibre. The mirrors too are covered in the stuff and lastly, the rear lip spoiler is also carbon fibre. The ‘Giulia and ‘Veloce’ badges themselves are now blacked out and offers a good contrast to the red paint.
The wheels are finished in a dark grey colour as well and are a beautiful modern rendition of Alfa’s famous teledial alloy. Everything about this car just oozes pizzazz.
There’s no doubt about it, the interior of the Giulia has style. Just look at the flow of the dashboard and that steering wheel. The fit and finish has been massively improved but it’s still not up to the mark of the Germans. Getting closer though. However, the biggest step-up with this Giulia has been the infotainment screen. They have finally brought it up to speed, it’s easy to use and includes a suite of new safety features as well. The carbon fibre on the interior is a new addition as well with the Carbon model. You get carbon fibre inserts on the door cards, dashboard and centre console. They have been quite generous with the stuff!
The gear stick has also been changed so it feels better to hold, the paddles are now big aluminium things and the cabin feels a lot more solid now.
All of that is great but the true test of a proper Alfa Romeo is the drive. Seeing as this is the Veloce model, is it lacking compared to the QV? Probably but it still is one of the best handling sedans out there. The steering is quick just like a proper Alfa, it goes around corners unbelievably well. I mean, this is a front engine, rear wheel drive sedan with so much grip! That of course comes down to the Q2 differential that’s distributes power to the rear wheels. The engine itself is a 2litre turbo unit producing 206kW and 400Nm. It is powerful but what’s even more special about it is the noise.
Everyone is doing 2 litre turbo engines these days and I’m sorry to say but they all sound relatively similar. Not this one though. It sounds great with your foot to the floor as you tap those large aluminium paddles to upshift. It is an experience! Speaking of the gearbox, it is an 8-speed automatic producing a nice noise upon shifting. Overall, it ticks the biggest box for an Alfa Romeo which is the drive.
Alfa Romeos are different, they always have been. They have a way of making you feel a bit special, whether it’s the drive, looks or the exclusivity. And the good news is that this Giulia is no different. But, it offers all that in a more mainstream package. This is a car that’s easy to live with, practical and intelligent. The Giulia has really shone at balancing both exclusivity and mainstream practicality. It should be the perfect daily.
But, Alfa’s biggest enemy are themselves. As good as this Giulia was, it kept making a weird electrical whirring, the folding mirrors stopped working during our test and the build quality was sub-standard. That’s inexcusable for a brand new car and I want to believe that it was just a one-off but I can’t. Oh Alfa Romeo, I wish you could just make it a little bit easier to love you.
2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce: 3/5
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Words and pictures by Matthew D’Souza