Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce long-term test: report 1

Alfa Romeo's Giulia Quadrifoglio has long been one of our favourite performance cars, but does the Veloce give you a lot of the same thrills for a much lower price?...

LT Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce header

The car Used Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 TB 280 Veloce Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it's here We want to see if this executive saloon is as sharp to drive as it is to look at

Needs to Combine fun handling with respectable running costs and good everyday usability

Mileage 12,428 List price when new (2021) £42,575 Price new with options £44,725 Value now £36,310 Options fitted Driver Assistance Pack Plus (£1000), Misano Blue metallic paint (£700) and yellow brake callipers (£450) Test economy 30.4mpg Official economy 32.8mpg

22 October 2022 – A taste of Italy

My phone has a very accurate clock, but I still love watches. As useful as Zoom meetings are, sometimes there’s no substitute for being in the same room as colleagues. And while I rarely go anywhere without my Macbook, I prefer to use good old-fashioned pen and paper to make notes in press conferences.

Yes, technology – no matter how brilliant – doesn’t automatically render the old ways undesirable. And for the same reason, while I enjoyed living with my previous two cars, both of which were fully electric, there are still plenty of petrol models out there that I really want to run.

LT Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce rear

Models like my new (well, new to me) Alfa Romeo Giulia. This rival to the likes of the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series is a relatively rare sight on UK roads. However, we’ve always praised it for the way it drives and have even handed it awards in high-performance Quadrifoglio form.

The trouble is, that version costs more than £70,000 and averages around 23mpg in the real world. But the Veloce model I’ve gone for promises a lot of the same thrills for a significantly lower price and with a useful step up in fuel economy.

This superior efficiency (so far, I’m averaging just over 30mpg) is down to the fact that it comes with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine instead of its sister car’s more exotic 2.9-litre V6. Yet you still get 276bhp to play with – enough for 0-60mph in 5.3sec at our test track. That’s quicker than a Honda Civic Type R hot hatch can manage.

As for price, a new Giulia Veloce now costs £46,199. However, one-year-old examples like mine can be bought for around £10,000 less than that.

LT Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce alloy wheel

Go for one of these and you don’t have to worry too much about which option boxes the first owner ticked, because the list of standard equipment includes everything from heated and electrically adjustable leather seats to keyless entry and a wireless charging pad.

That said, the Driver Assistance Pack Plus (a £1000 extra from new) that’s fitted to my car is nice to have, because it upgrades the regular cruise control to an adaptive system that automatically keeps you a safe distance from the car in front, while also bringing handy safety features such as blindspot monitoring and traffic sign recognition

The other option you might want to consider looking out for is the Performance Pack, which adds adaptive suspension for a smoother ride. But even without this, I’m impressed with how supple my car is.

LT Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce gearshift paddle

More of an issue is the abruptness of the eight-speed automatic gearbox when you’re driving around town, and it’s also worth noting that the engine sounds quite coarse in this environment. Fortunately, both smooth out with a bit of speed, and the gearbox’s responsiveness is a real plus when you’re controlling it manually via the tactile metal shift paddles attached to the steering column.

The steering itself is another strength, allowing you to place the car with laser precision and really enjoy the Giulia’s responsive, agile handling. In fact, even though it’s been on sale since 2016, there isn’t a single executive saloon that I prefer dynamically.

Where the Giulia is starting to feel its age is inside, despite an upgrade in 2019. For starters, it’s on the pokey side, plus you miss out on the fully digital instruments that are now the norm in rivals.

LT Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce over-the-shoulder driving shot

Still, while the infotainment system is basically an inferior copy of BMW’s iDrive set-up, that still makes it easier to operate on the move than the vast majority of systems out there. And the fact that the fundamental dashboard design is now eight years old means you get proper, physical climate controls rather than fiddly touch-sensitive ones.

Like I said, technology is great, but it’s best not to completely dismiss the old ways.

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