Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce long-term test

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 goodbye

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 15,200 List price when new (2021) £42,575 Price new with options £44,725 Value on arrival £36,310 Test economy 31.2mpg Official economy 31.4mpg Dealer value now £32,475 Private value now £30,460 Running costs (excluding depreciation) Fuel £652

6 February 2023 – Looking back

Have you ever been to The Goodwood Revival? If not, I’d recommend a visit, because it’s like spending a day in the past, but with everything actually rose tinted. Essentially, you’ve got late-1940s to mid-1960s style without the grime or shortages.

In some respects, then, the event reminds me of my Alfa Romeo Giulia – an executive saloon that carries on the tradition of sharp-looking Alfas, while adding the substance the Italian brand’s cars lacked for years.

Alfa Romeo Giulia rear cornering

I found myself thinking about this recently when I visited Goodwood Motor Circuit – albeit for a What Car? video shoot rather than to attend The Revival (it's held in the autumn, so I’d have either been very early or very late).

Still, the major up side of my timing was that I didn’t have to share the winding country roads that lead to the circuit with 100,000 other visitors.

It was one of my last trips in the Giulia before it left my hands, and I was once again impressed by just how good it is to drive. It flows from bend to bend in a way that makes most rivals feel lumpen and vague. Plus, the sweetly tuned suspension allows the car to breathe with the topography of the road without bouncing or thumping.

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

Admittedly, during my time at Goodwood I didn’t make it beyond the starting grid of the ultra-fast circuit (blame health and safety), but I suspect the Giulia would have been far more at home lapping it than any executive car has a right to be.

The only thing that lets down the driving experience of my Veloce-spec model on a great road is the narrow power band of its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. It’s all done by about 5500rpm, so you have to be careful not to run into the limiter if you’ve got the gearbox in manual mode.

Fortunately, the engine responds sharply when it is in that band. And the 5.3sec 0-60mph time we achieved at the What Car? test track is properly lively.

LT Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce front

During the trip to that video shoot, when I was making the most of the Giulia’s handling, my fuel economy was in the mid-20s. However, on some other journeys, while taking things easy, I’ve seen mid-30s, and my final average of 31.2mpg is just 0.2mpg short of the official figure.

I also found the car to be practical enough for my needs, although it’s worth noting that this isn’t one of its strongest suits. My 5ft 3in wife was fine in the back behind my 5ft 8in driving position (where she could keep our five-year-old daughter company), but if you’re a six-footer with lanky teenagers, an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series will suit you better.

Those models have more upmarket interiors, too, despite the Giulia's receiving an upgrade in 2019. Their materials feel plusher, and have details such as ambient interior lighting and fully digital instruments (both of which my car was missing) that extend their advantage.

Alfa Romeo Giulia interior detail

On the other hand, while the Giulia’s 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, including the one in the A4. And Alfa Romeo continues to fit proper, physical climate controls that are a doddle to use rather than forcing you to delve into onscreen menus or mess about with fiddly touch pads.

Overall, then, the Giulia is a car that deserves to sell in bigger numbers than it does, particularly in my Veloce spec. When I took delivery, I wondered if it would offer a lot of the same thrills as the high-performance Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio despite costing around £25,000 less, and the answer, it turns out, is yes. If you're looking for a fairly compact saloon that's fun to drive but have crossed it off your shortlist, I’d recommend reviving your interest.

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