Monday, 21 August 2017

Italian thoroughbred takes the field

Italian thoroughbred takes the field

FROM its “Alfa” nose to its trim rear end, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is unmistakably Italian through and through.

Anyone could fall in love with the looks of this car, but does the sum of its new — and revised — parts add up?

Well, hatchback buyers will be pleased to know that with the new Giulietta, Alfa Romeo has stepped up to the mark.

In the carmaker’s own words, the Giulietta has “revised styling, enhanced specification and new technology”.

There is a “simplified range structure and a new engine and transmission combination” all aimed at meeting the “evolving demands of the premium hatchback buyer”.

So the scene is set: a car manufacturer established over many years faces the realities of 21st century motoring life.

I’m old-fashioned enough to love just the name. The words “Alfa Romeo” trip off the lips with as much aplomb as they ever did. But does the Giulietta deliver?

In some ways, yes. In others, I think the jury may still be out.

But this is not on my account. I very much enjoyed my time with the Giulietta. What I worry about is its immediate competition.

Like any other industry, motor manufacture moves at an incredible pace today. Unless car makers are prepared to fund research and development, then produce new models quickly and successfully, they will find it hard to keep up.

The revised Giulietta has everything in place, so time will tell if it makes an impact.

I found the car a satisfying drive with good performance and economy from its range of engines.

Under the bonnet there’s now the option of combining the 120hp 1.6-litre JTDM-2turbo diesel engine with the ALFA TCT twin dry-clutch transmission.

Together with Alfa Romeo’s ALFA TCT transmission, it can be used as a full automatic or as a full manual, either by slotting the gear selector into its sequential gate or by using the paddles on the steering wheel.

This engine/gearbox combination returns a top speed of 121mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 10.2 seconds. Its official combined fuel figures match those of the manual version, returning an impressive 74.3 mpg, while producing 99 g/km of CO2.

In the UK, the new Giulietta’s model range features five trim levels: Giulietta, Giulietta Super, Giulietta Tecnica, Giulietta Speciale and Giulietta Veloce.

The revised front-end styling comprises a new honeycomb grille, piano black bumper inserts (with red highlights on sporty models) and revised headlamp and fog lamp surrounds. There are also new Alfa Romeo and Giulietta badge designs, new alloy wheels, revised tailpipes and new colours (Alfa White and Lipari Grey).

Inside, the car too benefits from revised seat upholsteries and dashboard/
door panel finishes and a new trip computer display.

The Uconnect infotainment system has smartphone-enabled live services including music streaming with Deezer and TuneIn, news from Reuters, Facebook and Twitter
check-in, eco:Drive and my:Car services, and traffic updates for navigation-equipped models.

The entry-level Giulietta is as good-looking as the higher spec versions. There are burnished headlamp surrounds, satin-finish door handles and new tailpipes outside.

Inside sees new grey and black fabric seats with the Alfa Romeo logo on the head restraints, new matte black dashboard insert and luxury floor mats.

Standard equipment is comprehensive, including a leather steering wheel with audio remote controls, air conditioning, five-inch Uconnect LIVE with DAB plus USB and Bluetooth connectivity, luxury floor mats, Alfa DNA selector, six airbags, 16-inch “Turbine” alloy wheels and electric windows all round.

Prices for the Giulietta start from £18,450 on the road (1.4 turbo petrol 120hp).

The Giulietta Super trim level additions include dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a front armrest, new 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, rear air vents and upgraded seat upholstery.

A new Lusso pack can be added to the Super model to enhance the look of the car and includes a 17-inch alloy wheel upgrade, sports leather upholstery, a rear armrest with third rear headrest, aluminium kick plates, electric lumbar support on both front seats, and the 6.5-inch Uconnect Live system with voice-operated satellite navigation and 3D mapping.

The Lusso pack is priced at £2,650.

The Giulietta Speciale offers customers the option of combining the sporty look and feel of the high performance Veloce version with a broad selection of engines.

Standard equipment includes a sports suspension; sports bumpers with red Alfa profile; classic, five-hole, 18-inch alloy wheels; Brembo brakes with red, four-piston callipers; new carbon-look headlamp surrounds; an anthracite finish on the mirror caps, door handles, grille and fog light surrounds and the 6.5-inch Uconnect LIVE system with navigation.

Prices for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Speciale start at £24,240 on the road (150hp 1.4 turbo petrol MultiAir).

Finally, the new Giulietta Veloce tops the revised
line-up and in terms of equipment is similar to the Speciale but with new 18-inch alloy wheels, specific sports suspension tuning, oversized tailpipes and, of course, the most powerful engine in the Giulietta range — the 240hp 1750 turbo petrol engine combined with a specially calibrated TCT transmission.

Prices for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce start at £28,480 on the road.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

l Prices start from £18,450

l Revised specifications, equipment levels, upholsteries, wheel designs and finishes

l Range is simplified with five new trim levels: Giulietta, Giulietta Super, Giulietta Tecnica, Giulietta Speciale and Giulietta Veloce

l 120hp 1.6 JTDM-2turbo diesel engine now combined with the ALFA TCT twin dry-clutch transmission

l Uconnect system with smartphone-enabled LIVE services now standard across the range

Review by Nigel Wigmore

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