You buy the Alfa Romeo Giulia because you want to stand out from the crowd. It looks great and drives very well, but it doesn’t feel quite as well made as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes
The Alfa Romeo Giulia, with its striking grille, piercing headlights and flowing lines, looks like a sculpture’s pet project, effortlessly standing out from the sea of Audis and BMW saloons that flood your office car park. There’s even an insanely quick Giulia Quadrifoglio, which is tested separately.
Inside the Giulia things look just as good. The sculpted steering wheel looks like a piece of art and it houses an engine starter button that wouldn’t look out of place in a Ferrari supercar. The hooded dials and circular air vents at either side of the dashboard look sporty and the infotainment screen that blends neatly into the fascia doesn’t look like an afterthought, unlike the ugly iPad style display that’s stuck on top of a Mercedes C-Class’ dashboard.
Interior space is pretty good. You’ll be fine in the front no matter what size you are, but if your back-seat passengers are taller than six foot then they’ll find headroom a little tight, although there’s more than you get in a Mercedes C-Class or Jaguar XE. The boot, meanwhile, is big enough but doesn’t quite have the practical boxy shape that you get in an Audi A4. The Giulia has a reasonable amount of interior storage, but the glovebox and door bins are too small to be much use.
Mid-range Super models are the best value. They come with half leather seats and two-tone plastics that really turn on the style, and they also get the upgraded 8.8-inch infotainment screen, rather than the 6.5-inch infotainment screen that doesn’t have sat-nav.
Soft-touch plastics are used for the main part of the dash but lower down the cabin you’ll find harder, scratchy materials. They’re not the only slightly cheap feeling bits – things like the infotainment controller and gear shifter also feel flimsy – you’ll want an Audi A4 if build quality is a priority.
Just like everything that's produced in Italy – buildings, art, er… women and men – the Alfa Romeo Giulia is absolutely beautiful
Only the Jaguar XE can compete with the Alfa’s fun handling, though. The Giulia’s rear-wheel-drive setup – just like you get in an F1 car – makes it feel very agile, and the steering’s very quick – you can dart into corners like a sports car that’s been turned up to 11. The suspension’s firm enough to prevent body lean in corners, but it isn’t uncomfortable, although the Alfa can feel a little fidgety over a series of smaller bumps.
Engines include a 2.2-litre diesel with two power outputs, but if you don’t cover a lot of miles choose the 200hp, 2.0-litre petrol that’s quick, quieter than the grumbly diesels and feels like a better match for the Alfa’s red-blooded character.
Choosing the Alfa means putting up with a few foibles, but if you’re prepared to live with them you’ll get a car that looks and drives like nothing else for the money. For more detailed and in-depth analysis of the Giulia read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections.