New Zealanders will find out early next year if European motoring writers are spot on about the rear-drive Alfa Romeo Giulia, that it’s the best car to wear the famous Italian badge in decades.
The new four-door will be here before the end of March, its premium all-wheel-drive Quadrifoglio heading the range. Some markets – Australia included – will have four Giulia variants; New Zealand is still working on its line-up.
“Yes, we will launch Giulia in quarter one,” said FiatChrysler NZ (FCNZ) chief executive David Smitherman. “However, we are still finalising our pricing and model line-up.”
The Giulia Quadrifoglio holds the lap record for a production sedan around Germany’s Nurburgring circuit. It recorded 7min:32sec, driven by factory wheelman Fabio Francia. The previous best of 7min:38sec was set by a Porsche Panamera.
Quadrifoglio will rival the four-door Mercedes-Benz C63 and BMW M3. The base model Giulias will be aimed at the likes of the entry-level C-Class Benz and 3-Series BMW, among others.
Giulia has set another record of sorts, too – it recorded the highest adult occupant protection score ever achieved in Euro NCAP crash testing history. Safety features include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.
There are four sedans in the line-up – Giulia, Giulia Super, Giulia Veloce, and Giulia Quadrifoglio. Which models FCNZ’s Smitherman wants to partner the Quadrifoglio will be known closer to the launch date.
Giulia gets a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 147kW/330Nm and claimed fuel use of 6 litres/100km. Giulia Super offers either the same petrol unit or a 2.2-litre turbodiesel good for 132kW/450Nm and 4.2 litres/100km.
Giulia Veloce steps up a notch or two with a go-faster version of the 2.0-litre petrol, uprated to 206kW/400Nm. Fuel use, says Alfa Romeo, is 6.1 litres/100km.
The premium Giulia Quadrifoglio is equipped with a Ferrari-developed 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 375kW/600Nm via an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
While the 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel Giulias can skip from 0-100km/h in between a claimed 5.8 and 7.1 seconds, Giulia Quadrifoglio gets there in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 305km/h (190mph). Cylinder deactivation technology helps town-and-around fuel use to a claimed 8.2 litres/100km.
Standard on the Giulia is leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, keyless start, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
Giulia Super adds higher-grade leather, eight-way power driver’s seat, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel, and blind spot monitoring. Giulia Veloce adds adaptive suspension, a limited-slip rear differential, 19-inch Veloce alloy wheels and performance brakes with red-painted calipers, along with sportier interior appointments.
Giulia Quadrifoglio gets all of the above and adds 19-inch forged alloy wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, automatic high beam, aluminium and carbon-fibre trim highlights, leather and Alcantara sports seats with contrasting stitching, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, and a 22cm infotainment system.