- Alfa Romeo returns to the compact executive saloon market
- Giulia promises driver-focussed cabin and sharp handling
- Can it compete with established rivals from BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz?
If you’re looking for a new compact executive saloon but the current crop of German stalwarts leaves you a bit cold, behold the new Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Billed as an Italian-styled driver-focussed alternative, it will have rear-wheel drive with the option of four-wheel drive, balanced weight distribution and direct steering to ensure it drives a well as it looks.
Not since the 159 has Alfa Romeo fielded a car of this type so it’s a big return for the Italian manufacturer, which is making bold promises about double-wishbones, a semi-virtual steering axis and constant caster trail. Loosely translated, this means it should go round corners quickly and offer the sort of direct steering enthusiastic drivers crave.
The only word on engines so far is a petrol V6 turbo with more than 500bhp that you may have a hard time getting past your fleet manager, but we expect at least a couple of company car friendly units will join the line-up.
Alfa says that by fitting the engine and major mechanical components between the axles, the Giulia will have sporty looking short overhangs and a long wheelbase to maximise interior space.
Inside the controls will be centred around the driver, with a small steering wheel full of controls and a centre console free of clutter, complete with lashings of carbon fibre and wood.
As the rest of the car industry moves inexorably towards greater automation, Alfa Romeo says it will use clever electronics in order to improve the driving experience, rather than removing the driver from the process.
Electronically-controlled adaptive dampers and a new type of torque vectoring system will improve traction in slippery conditions without being invasive.
It’ll stop well too, thanks to a new integrated braking system which should shorten the time it takes between pressing the pedal and the car coming to a screeching halt.
All of this can be tailored by the new Alfa DNA system by selecting driving styles ranging from Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficient and even a Racing mode in high performance versions.
Sales of the Giulia are expected to start early next year.