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Saturday - 6 March 2021

Little Black Dress: 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce Carbon Review

The Alfa Giulia is still one of the sexiest saloons on the market today. It is quintessentially Italian and despite having been with us for five years now, its flowing lines and mouth-watering curves make for a modern-day design master piece.

While everyone has been salivating over the 503hp Giulia Quadrofoglio, and rightly so, one should not overlook the Giulia Veloce, which, along with the Ferrari derived QF, have been given a refresh. So, what has changed?

While there have been subtle improvements here and there, the biggest change has come in the Giulia family itself. The entry level Giulia Super and Giulia Veloce is standard spec have been dropped, leaving the Giulia Veloce Carbon you see here, as being the new entry point for the range. The new car will set you back $89,990NZ.

The Giulia Veloce Carbon means exactly what it says. Its an Alfa Giulia Veloce, with lots of carbon fibre. Take a look around that gorgeous saloon body, which is largely unchanged over the previous car, and you notice carbon cosmetic enhancements such as carbon mirrors and a carbon rear spoiler. All badging is blacked out, bar the Alfa emblem, and those 19-inch alloys still look as handsome as ever.

The carbon fibre fest continues on the inside, with the centre console, dashboard and door sills all getting the touch. The sills themselves are also different, with the classic Alfa Romeo emblem glowing when you open the door.

Other cosmetic upgrades include a much chunkier feeling sports steering wheel. The previous Giulia’s wheel felt good in your mitts, but the revised wheel feels even better when clasped. Also, the addition of the Italian Tricolore flag in front of the gear lever is another nice touch.

Under the bonnet sits the familiar turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine producing 206kW of grunt and around 400Nm of torque. This is mated to a eight-speed automatic box with paddles.

As far as tech goes, there have been changes there too. The Giulia’s 8.8-inch infotainment system is new. The new system is much more intuitive than before and easier to get your head around. It is also now touchscreen and can be operated via the touchpad or via the screen itself, much like a tablet.

Lots of safety equipment now come as standard across the range, including lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, active cruise control, auto high-beam, active blind spot assist, and autonomous emergency braking. You also get wireless charging too.

Sitting inside the Giulia Veloce, and you feel your surroundings wrap themselves around you. The seats provide ample later support and the driving position itself is nigh on perfect.

Entry and exit for the driver and front passengers are good, but those in the rear, especially those of a lankier disposition, may need to fold themselves a bit to exit without banging their head on the archway. Headroom in the rear is also average at best.

That said, the Giulia has always championed the driver over its rear passengers. Moving off in Nantural drive mode it is quite surprising that despite its sporting pretensions, the Giulia Veloce Carbon offers a very comfortable, yet supple ride. Even when you flick up to Dynamic mode, you can still soak up the bumps really well.

You can also tell the Giulia’s chassis is still up to the job by a long way. A few flicks down on the left paddle and a firm right shoe out of each corner results in a poised and precise devourment of bendy bitumen. The steering is also pin-sharp with plenty of feel and feedback.

While the eight-speed auto in manual mode is slick on the way down in the higher gears, shifting down to third, second and first is tad jerky, requiring you to throttle off to preserve the smoothness on each change.

Upshifting presents no problem and you can stay in that powerband from between 1,800rpm to 4,000 rpm easily. The Giulia Veloce is also quicker than you might think. Alfa claim a zero to 100km/h time of 5.7 seconds which isn’t too bad.

In summary, those little tweaks and additives have not transformed the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce completely, but have given buyers even more reason to seriously consider it over is German rivals.

It has a few niggles yes, but you can’t escape the charm and style that the Giulia Veloce brings to every drive. The saloon segment is a shadow of its former self, but thanks to cars like the Giulia Veloce Carbon, it is far from dead.

Rating: 3.5/5

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