What: 1.4TB MultiAir Front-wheel-drive, 170hp/125kw of power, 250 Nm of torque, 7.8 secs 0-100 km/h, CO2 134 g/100km 1750TBi Quadrifoglio Verde Front-wheel-drive, 235hp/125kw of power, 340 Nm of torque, 6.8 secs 0-100 km/h, CO2 134 g/100km
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta first saw ray of light in 2010 and like the 156, it too has had a huge responsibility in keeping the Italian manufacturer in the game. The beautiful and nimble 156 was a huge commercial success after slow (and 'erhm' ugly) 1980's, yet the siblings 147 hatchback or the 159 sedan/tourer didn't deliver on driving dynamics as expected. After the introduction of the Giulietta, it now seems strange to even compare it up against the outdated 147 - this is a revolution in all senses.
It would be impossible to write an Alfa Romeo review without first touching upon the most essential question in everyone's mind - how does it drive? Comfortably superbly. This is to say that it carries its passengers very smoothly, yet push it and you find that it takes direction and orders without causing concerns or surprises. Surely emphasis has been put a lot on comfort and silence, so it feels on occasion one class bigger than what the actual size suggests. I have driven the Giulietta with standard chassis as daily driver, which works fine on Finnish roads that are severely beaten by winter conditions. I also had the opportunity to test briefly a car on a twisty country road with Pack Sport, including 18" teledial alloys, stiffer sport chassis, sideskirts and part leather interior to highlight the sportier attitude. That seemed all in all a perfectly balanced set up for my liking, sporty and precise without being uncomfortable. The top spec Quadrifoglio Verde I drove was very extensively equipped, clad in carbon fibre from the front scudetto to the rear top wing, and sitting on 19" Ti wheels, soundtrack by two extra large Ragazzon exhausts.
Giulietta's "no apologies" nature is also evident with the engines. Most buyers will likely opt for the slightly more powerful 170 horsepower MultiAir version which is a notable difference to competing brands, where bulk of the buyers choose entry level, approx. 100 horsepower engines. The MultiAir engine sound has so much more structure and grawl to it than what you would ever dare to expect from a 1.4 liter engine with stock exhaust. Cuore Sportivo is very much alive. Stepping into the hot hatch category, here the Quadrifoglio Verde performs with 235hp and launching to 100km/h a whole second faster than the 170hp MultiAir. The power delivery is yet smooth and tolerant, it's a very compressed and civilized pack of performance.
Given the revolution in architecture, we acknowledge that a completely new model would have its set of quality issues before all the small things get ironed out. These are most likely fixed under warranty and car inspection statistics now indicate that Giulietta build quality after 3 years is in line with the overall market. So all in all this a great result, improving overall quality on completely new model and design.
And design then, last but not least, is something that truly speaks for this car. On paper in terms of numbers, it is a very common dull hatchback like everything else. But look at the car on the street and you notice that this car stands comparison to expensive sportscars. It is people from all ages, genders and car ownerships that complement on how good the Giulietta looks. Italian design has managed to conquer even the most mundane car object into something beautiful, and for that achievement alone we must praise the Giulietta as winner in its class.