Alfa Romeo has built some of the most gorgeous cars of all time, but they usually come with some issues. The Giulia keeps that tradition alive.
lot of people don’t know, but Alfa Romeo originally started as a racing team, absolutely dominating the worldwide racing circuit. Eventually, after WWI, they started getting into producing more road cars, and one of the most iconic ones that they ever made is undoubtedly the Giulia.
Back in 2015, Alfa brought back the Giulia nameplate, now being worn by a compact luxury sports sedan, and it signaled a new era for Alfa Romeo and their return to the US market. The last Alfa sedan in the United States was the rather cool Milano, as well as the bigger 164, but the new Giulia is a great car, though not without some flaws.
10. Why We Love It – It’s Gorgeous
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Alfa Romeos have almost always been gorgeous. The Italians simply know how to do style, and the Giulia is no exception. In terms of size, it fits neatly in the compact luxury segment, alongside the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.
It has clean, simple lines and a fairly standard three-box sedan design, and the sloping roof is very, very subtle. The front is dominated by the traditional Alfa Romeo triangle grille, which facilitates an offset license plate, When compared to some of its rivals, the Giulia is very subtle, but also very gorgeous.
9. Why It’s Best Left Alone – Lackluster Interior Room
If you’re one of the very few people at this current time who are buying a luxury sedan, you’re probably looking for good interior space. A luxury sedan, like this, should be able to carry you, your passengers, and your luggage.
Unfortunately, the Giulia falls a bit short here. That’s not to say that it’s cramped or tiny or even inaccessible, because it absolutely isn’t. Still, the rear seats aren’t exactly the roomiest, and the trunk space isn’t the best in class.
8. Why We Love It – It’s Great To Drive
As well as in the looks department, Alfa pretty much always finds a way to add a little bit of fizz to the driving experience, even on their most mundane models. While the Quadrifoglio is obviously the preferred choice here, even the regular Giulia is great to drive.
For starters, it’s based on the Giorgio platform, meaning power gets sent to the rear wheels. AWD is optional if you need it, but for the ideal experience, RWD is preferred. The Giulia is really well balanced, and it feels engaging and fun to drive. 3 Series who?
7. Why It’s Best Left Alone – Infotainment Isn’t The Best
As it turns out, most of the criticisms leveled at the Giulia are to do with its interior, and that includes the slightly disappointing infotainment system. Although it was given a new lease of life for the 2020 model year, it still isn’t the best.
The screen itself, for one thing, is quite small compared to rivals. In the Giulia, it’s an 8.8″ display, compared to 12″ and bigger on most of its rivals. The interface and controls aren’t as intuitive, and while there’s now Apple CarPlay and a wireless hotspot, overall, it’s not an infotainment system that you’ll be spending a lot of time in.
6. Why We Love It – The Quadrifoglio Is Fabulous
In some way, Alfa Romeo basically shot themselves in the foot when they revealed the high-performance Quadrifoglio version of the Giulia. Pretty much everyone in North America is opting for the fast Giulia, and very few people are choosing the regular version. This is completely justified, however.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio throws away the standard car’s 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder in favor of a Ferrari-built 2.9 liter twin-turbo V6. It develops 503 hp, which is more than the latest BMW M3, and way more than the outgoing M3 which was on sale when the Quadrifoglio came out. The Quadrifoglio is RWD only, and does 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. The top speed is limited… by the laws of physics, to 191 mph. Amazingly, they’ve gotten really, really cheap on the used market.
5. Why It’s Best Left Alone – Patchy Reliability
We all knew it was coming. It’s very difficult to talk about an Alfa Romeo, or any other Italian car, without talking about the reliability concerns that come along with owning one. Credit where it’s due to Alfa; the Giulia is probably way better than some of their cars from 20 or 30 years ago.
That said, most journalists who have tested or have run a Giulia long-term have reported some pretty worrying reliability issues. This is made worse by the fact that Alfa’s dealer and service network is not as widely spread as the competitors, so if you want to pull the trigger on a Giulia, just be aware.
4. Why We Love It – Exclusivity
As Jeremy Clarkson once said, Alfa Romeos are for nice people, and those who quietly want to show everyone that they have the better choice of luxury car, and one that’s more exclusive. This is still very true today with the Giulia.
The Giulia is much, much more exclusive and rarer than its German and Japanese rivals, and that means it’s more special to own a Giulia, and more of an occasion than an everyday occurrence when you encounter one on the street. Not to mention, as we all know, Alfa Romeos simply have more personality and character than other luxury cars.
3. Why It’s Best Left Alone – Interior Build Quality
Undoubtedly the biggest criticism punching bag of the Alfa Romeo Giulia is the interior build quality. This might be forgiven when you remember that a brand-new base Giulia starts at $39,450, compared to well over $40,000 for the Germans.
Still, when you climb inside the Giulia, it feels more like the starting price is around $29,000. The interior design isn’t as flamboyant or stylish as it usually is in Italian cars, and most of the switches and controls are straight out of the Stellantis parts bin. Although things have been improved for the 2021 model year, they still aren’t the best.
2. Why We Love It – The Incredible GTAm Track Special
Despite experiencing a renaissance, Alfa Romeo hasn’t forgotten about their racing heritage. In light of cars like the Jaguar XE SV Project 8, Alfa decided to turn things up to 11 and produce an ultra-limited, track-focused version of the Giulia.
The end result of this idea was the absolutely bonkers Giulia GTAm. It may look similar on the outside, but it’s a lot wider and features truly dramatic aero additions to make it perform a lot better on a racing circuit. Alfa also offers to remove the rear seats to make it even lighter, and the 2.9 liter V6 now develops 540 hp. Production will be limited to just 500 units.
1. Why It’s Best Left Alone – No Manual Transmission
Normally, this wouldn’t be something worth mentioning, as none of the Giulia’s direct competitors offer manual transmissions anymore. Still, it especially hurts on the Quadrifoglio, as a car as brutal and as visceral as that should be offered with a stick shift.
The biggest disappointment is that the Giulia Quadrifoglio is available with a 6-speed manual in other left-hand drive markets, except North America. This is a real shame, but the automatic one shifts gears quickly, and with the manual override, you have access to some truly amazing metal shift paddles. Frankly, once we remember how amazing the Quadrifoglio, and the Giulia itself is, it’s all forgiven.