To Alfa Romeo fans and followers, the Giulia name has been synonymous with the little compact saloon that made history as one of the best-selling Alfas during the 1960s and 1970s, where it also gained racing pedigree thanks to Autodelta, Alfa Romeo’s in-house tuning and motorsport division. It ended production in 1977.
Alfa Romeo in its previous years only offered the 4C sports car, the Giulietta hatchback and the MiTo subcompact since the production of the 159 sedan ended in 2011. But under the new “Giorgio” platform in the brand’s relaunch coinciding with the brand’s 105th anniversary, Alfa Romeo decided to revive the Giulia name as a compact, four-door sedan that would prove its worth against the German triumvirate. It now sports a front-engined, rear-wheel drive platform for the first time since the 75 saloon, which also sports the same drivetrain, ended production in 1992.
The Giorgio platform involved 5 million euros worth of investment in a new eight-car line-up, with production sales targets eyed at up to 400,000 units in 2018 from 74,000 units in 2013. There is also a plan of opening many more dealerships all over the world. The Giulia signalled the start of the project.
The car was revealed in July in the new Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese in Milan, Italy.
At a minimum, it employs double-wishbone suspension at the front and multi-link suspension at the rear, with carbon fiber driveshaft. It also uses aluminium for its suspension, shocks, front wings and doors. These make the Giulia a serious performer against its German rivals, with performance that is a class higher than its predecessors, the 75, 156 and 159, respectively. All-wheel drive models will also be offered, as with the 159.
The flagship of the lineup, the Giulia Quadrifoglio (cloverleaf in Italian), was the first to be revealed in its debut. Massive front vents in the Quadrifoglio trim indicate that a monster of an engine is lurking underneath the bonnet: a Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter twin turbo petrol V6 that saw use in the Maserati Ghibli, fettled by “engineers with Ferrari background.” It produces 510 horsepower and will propel the Quadrifoglio from 0 to 60 miles per hour or 96 kilometers per hour in a claimed 3.9 seconds, outmatching its German rivals. The performance even eclipses its limited edition sports car brother, the 8C Competizione, which is powered by a 480-hp Maserati-derived V8. It will also feature carbon fiber roof and bonnet (hood) to achieve a 50:50 weight distribution, with performance worthy of the iconic Cloverleaf badge that is prevalent in high-performance Alfa Romeo models.
Alfa Romeos are known for its elegance in styling as with other Italian cars and the Giulia is no exception. “Italian style is characterised by a high quality surface finish which means creating rich, harmonious reflections across the volumes. The end result is the new Giulia, a sculptured shape reminiscent of a big cat just about to pounce. The same inspiration is found inside the car. Everything is clean, essential and centers around the driver, such as the controls grouped on the small steering wheel designed to adapt to all driving styles,” Alfa Romeo said in a press statement.
“The driver’s position was ‘cut’ as a fabric with a diagonal tunnel, a slightly undulated dashboard and cleverly oriented instruments which convey the impression of a tailor-made suit with hand-crafted care and premium materials: carbon fibre, wood and fabrics are chosen for their visual and tactile pleasantness and assembled in such a way to make the human touch visible,” it added.
Production of the new Giulia will start in early 2016, with the first models including the Quadrifoglio and 2.2-liter turbodiesel versions.