Alfa Romeo Giulietta

The Italian Aroma

If I think back to the past, I reckon my first close encounter with an Alfa vehicle was in 2006 when I interviewed Jean Aghnatios, owner of a 1971 Alfa Romeo 2000 GT Veloce, a 1970 Alfa Romeo Spider 1750 Series 1 and a 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Series 3. With the Giulietta, I drove it last April 2012 in Beirut and again in Turin in June 2012. Alfa has now been officially taken by Fiat and Chrysler Group Middle East., and was launched 2 months ago.

In the Centenary year, the name is a tribute to an automobile myth and Alfa Romeo. The Giulietta is a car that, in the fifties, caught the imagination of generations of car enthusiasts, making the dream of owning an Alfa Romeo and enjoying the high level of comfort and technical excellence accessible for the first time. The Alfa Romeo Style Center has produced a new Giulietta, a sports car capable of expressing great agility on the most demanding routes and providing comfort on everyday roads.

Driving Impressions
To start with, the Giulietta rides with an agility that's been lacking in old Alfas. It steers accurately too due to a new entirely electric twin pinion steering rack whose motor is mounted away from the steering column to reduce fake sensations through the rim.

The Giulietta is benchmarked against the Audi A3 and VW Golf. Compared to its predecessors, the Giulietta is considerably more competent on a wide range of road conditions, with impressive ride quality, decent handling and fairly good refinement. There were a few problems that the testers had with the Giulietta, especially regarding its handling characteristics; many thought it was a fun car to drive, but wasn't quite as engaging as its arch rival from Volkswagen.

The car is pretty fast, but never nervous around the straight ahead and with a realistic build-up of weight as the cornering speeds rise. Although I was driving an automatic transmission, I had the same feeling as when changing gears on a standard; it gives you the pleasure of manual gearbox transmission. It is a great car to drive, balanced and accurate, but rationally elastic.

Inside the cockpit, the Giulietta combines a truly sporty look and feel with great practicality in everyday use. The high-quality materials employed for the dashboard and an ergonomically designed passenger compartment contribute to the passenger compartment's high level of habitability.

Drivetrain
With a 1.4 L turbo engine delivering 170 hp, this is more than you require for flat and mountainous roads. Its top speed is 218 kph with just 7.7 seconds from standstill to 100 kph. Alfa claims that the fuel consumption is 5.2 l/100 km. The well-known Start & Stop function, which is not always available with traditional automatic transmissions, is now available, and guarantees an additional advantage in terms of fuel consumption.

The Giulietta has brand-new architecture, designed to meet the expectations of the most demanding customers in terms of road holding, agility and safety. Its excellent dynamic performance and great comfort are the result of refined technical solutions implemented in the suspensions, a next-generation steering system, a rigid yet light structure made of aluminium and high-strength steel, and state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies.

Alfa DNA, a device which customizes the behavior of the car according to different driving styles and road conditions, can adapt the new Alfa Romeo to the needs of each individual driver to enhance driving pleasure and comfort. The new architecture of the Alfa Giulietta was designed to integrate and enhance all onboard systems. Three set-ups (Dynamic, Normal and All Weather) are available and can be selected using the Alfa DNA. This device - standard across the entire range of the new model - modifies the operating parameters of the engine, of the steering system and of the Q2 electronic differential, in addition to fine-tuning the stability control system (VDC) behavioral logics.

Exterior
Combining sportiness and elegance, the Alfa Giulietta is the result of Alfa Romeo's new direction in style and technology - an approach that started with the 8C Competizione supercar and which recalls the brand's glorious past while projecting its traditional values of technology and emotion into the future.

The front end is developed around a "trilobe shape" and features a brand-new interpretation of the classic Alfa grille, set into the front bumper and suspended between the two air intakes. The entire car develops from here to combine a lively personality with an elegant form. The front headlamps implement LED technology and a Daytime Running Lights (DRL) function for maximum active safety.

The profile of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is rich in personality and confers the appearance of an agile, solid model. This is above all the result of the coupe-shaped side windows, which highlight a dynamic and streamlined shape, and of the concealed rear handles. The side ribbing adds to the car's slender look, while the taut lines closing in on the rear end accentuate the "wedge" shape of the body.

The style of the rear end, like that of the front and the side, is strong and consolidates the impression of a muscular car firmly gripped to the road. Like the headlamps, the rear light clusters implement LED technology, to the advantage of preventive safety in addition to good looks.

Interior
The interior design is taut and light: a horizontally developed dashboard with aluminium element accents and rocker controls which explicitly recall the 8C Competizione. Painstaking attention to detail and the high quality of the materials used are the most advanced expression of Italian style.

Finally, the dimensions of the new car give a compact, dynamic shape combined with excellent roominess and a capacious boot (350 liters): the car is 4.35 meters long, 1.46 meters high and 1.80 meters wide with a wheelbase of 2.63 meters.

Safety
Alfa Romeo Giulietta was designed to obtain the maximum Euro NCAP rating in order to offer total protection to driver and passengers. Furthermore, suspension, steering and braking system are designed to be perfectly balanced even during extreme maneuvers.

Finally, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is fitted with the most sophisticated electronic devices for dynamic control as standard: VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), DST (Dynamic Steering Torque), Q2 electronic differential and Alfa DNA selector. All these systems guarantee driving safety, dynamism and performance in the best Alfa Romeo tradition.

Verdict
The Giulietta is one of the more expensive cars in its class, but it is competitively priced in the GCC when compared with its premium rivals. It also comes with a good amount of equipment, plus it's also quite cheap to run. However, the Giulietta isn't expected to hold its value that well; there are concerns about how fast the Giulietta might depreciate compared to more typical rivals.

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