Alfa Romeo Giulia review

Category: Executive car

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:diesel, petrol
Available colours:
Alfa Romeo Giulia 2020 rear cornering
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RRP £34,995What Car? Target Price from£33,161

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The engine range is made up of two 2.2-litre diesels in 158bhp or 187bhp guides, plus two 2.0-litre turbocharged petrols with 197bhp and 276bhp, and a range-topping twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 with 503bhp, which you can read all about in our separate Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review. All come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard – there’s no option of a manual ’box.

Putting aside the stonking engine in the Quadrifoglio, our favourite engine is the 276bhp 2.0-litre petrol in the Veloce. It’s noticeably more powerful than the entry-level 197bhp 2.0-litre and is certainly a better match for the Giulia's sporty handling (more on which, later). In fact, its 5.7sec 0-62mph claim feels rather conservative from behind the wheel and there is a surprising lack of turbo lag for such a small engine, so it responds to the accelerator promptly. It’s also an absolute joy to flick up the gears using the fixed metal paddle shifters behind the wheel (these are an expensive option, but worth every penny). 

However, while the petrol engines are undoubtedly more fun, the diesels do plenty to recommend themselves, too – not least in terms of running costs. They both pull well from low revs and their eagerness continues throughout the rev range, making motorway commutes a breeze. The eight-speed automatic gearbox suffers a slight delay to change gears when you put your foot down, which can hinder progress when you’re trying to accelerate sharply or go for a gap at a roundabout. Thankfully, though, it’s nowhere near as bad as the lag you get in the Audi A4.

As for refinement, the petrol engines emit a satisfying rasp when pushed hard, while the diesel engines are a little coarse, but do quieten down at a cruise. The Giulia can't compete with the A4's whisper-quiet cruising manners, though, and there's more wind noise at speed than you’ll experience in many rivals. Road noise is subdued, though, making the Giulia a more peaceful companion than a Volvo S60

The Giulia combines a smooth, fluent ride with wonderfully balanced handling – the latter really distinguishing it from the less-involving Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. Cheaper versions of the Giulia come with 16in alloy wheels, while the Veloce rides on 18in wheels.  Although there's a noticeable difference in the driving experiences of entry-level and top-of-the-range models, all have sharp handling and are fun through corners, thanks largely to the Giulia's particularly quick and direct steering. Some might find the slightly heavier steering of the BMW 3 Series to be more reassuring at higher speeds, though.

Alfa Romeo Giulia 2020 rear cornering

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