The Alfa Romeo has a lovely looking interior that makes alternatives look about as sporty as a La-Z-Boy sofa, but its build quality is hit and miss
Getting into the Giulia is like slipping behind the steering wheel of a sports car. Everywhere you looks there are design cues to the company’s racing heritage (it raced in F1 up until 1988) such as the hooded dials, circular air vents and controls that point right at the driver.
The three-spoke steering wheel looks brilliant and has racy touches of its own such as the race-car style starter button. For an extra £275 you can equip the eight-speed automatic gearbox with solid aluminium paddles behind the steering. They look like they belong in a Ferrari and that’s exactly who Alfa Romeo has copied them from.
You could be forgiven for thinking (famously-flaky) Ferrari signed off the Giulia’s interior plastics, fit and finish. Some parts of the interior feel cheap – such as the plastics covering the gear shifter – and the gaps between trims on the centre console are inconsistent. By comparison, an Audi A4’s interior seems to have been constructed using laser precision.
Basic models models come with cloth seats and black plastics that don’t really do the interior justice. Better to go for mid-range Super trim, which buys you half-leather seats and the option to specify an eye-catching, two-tone dashboard.
Speciale cars up Alfa’s game with aluminium trim pieces, aluminium pedals and leather upholstery, and sportier Veloce models get all that and the metal paddle gear shifters as standard, but they’re a little bit pricy.
Various packs means you can fine tune the Alfa to your tastes, although most of them aren’t available on the basic car. The £2,750 Lusso Pack is offered on Super models, though, and is good value way of adding lots of extra kit. It includes leather seats and lets you choose from Silverwood or Walnut trim pieces. It also adds kit such as eight-way adjustable, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
The Giulia's available with the same gearshift paddles you get in a Ferrari – £275 has never been better spent!
The entry-level Giulia comes as standard with a 6.5-inch infotainment display that features a DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and USB phone connections, and a 3.5-inch TFT display in the instrument binnacle. It’s worth avoiding, though, because satellite navigation isn’t fitted and Alfa doesn’t offer Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to let you mirror your smartphone’s apps to the in-car screen.
Upgrading to the top-of-the-range system with a larger 8.8-inch display costs £850 in the basic model, but it comes as standard in the rest of the Giulia range. Along with that larger display, it adds sat-nav with 3D maps and swaps the 3.5-inch TFT display between the speedo and rev counters for an easier-to-read seven-inch version. That said, the graphics aren’t particularly crisp and slow processing speeds mean it isn’t as nice to use as the systems you get in an Audi or BMW. It’s easy enough to navigate the menus, though, and the control between the front seats means you can operate it on the move without having to take your eyes off the road – it’s just a shame the controls feel so flimsy and cheap.