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What is it?

ALFA Romeo Giulias are lovely machines, and depending on your luck at Lotto, you can choose from six of the Italian thoroughbreds with the charming badge of a serpent apparently swallowing a man.

The entry-level Giulia costs $59,895, but you can spend $143,900 on the bigger-engined, 2.9-litre QV if your numbers come up.

In either case, you’ll have a vehicle with a lot of history behind it.

That serpent, by the way, is not eating the chap. Rather, the guy is escaping from its jaws.

Milanese folklore says it shows the start of a new life, which is what many will discover if they get out of their Same-Same and into a Giulia.

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What’s it cost?

What we’re looking at here is the standard one, at just a smidgen under the $60K mark.

It’s a stylish car with typical classic flair, powered by a 147kW/330Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that drives the rear wheels through a smart 8-speed multi-mode automatic transmission.

Also, the test car came with $4000 worth of Veloce pack, which added active suspension, 19-inch alloys,  red brake calipers, a sports steering wheel, aluminium pedals, gloss-black window surrounds and rear seat privacy glass.

It’s a lot of kit for the money and well worth it.

The cabin is sportily stylish and the steering wheel is fitted with the world’s biggest paddles, constantly reminding you that this car comes from seriously sporty lineage.

The starter button is on the steering wheel, as in some racing cars, the leather-trimmed, powered seats are nicely bolstered and all the controls are clearly identified.

Instrumentation is what you’d expect of such heritage, with a rev counter dominating the display.

Accommodation is excellent in front, a bit squeezy in the back, but it will take three passengers and be assured it’s nothing like the Giulietta of the early 1960s, which was jokingly known as ‘the world’s fastest four-door two-seater.’

The 480-litre boot is rather shallow, more suited to soft bags the Euros favour, rather than big trunks.

For the safety freaks, standard fare includes Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Recognition, Integrated Brake System, Lane Departure Warning, eight airbags, a reversing camera with guidelines, front and rear parking sensors and auto-on headlights and wipers.  Yes, it does have a five star rating.

Giulias come with an 8.8-inch screen incorporating satnav and 8-speaker digital radio with Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity.

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What’s it go like?

Drive it, and the first stunner is its brakes. Again, that’s the benefit of decades in motorsport.

It gets going like big snake after a wayward traveller, despatching the sprint to 100km/h in about 6.5 seconds, and its efficiency is such that you can get somewhere around 7.0L/100km, depending on where and how you drive. The official number is 6.0.

What does it drive like? Let’s ask Dr Rob Bobla:

With little time to spare, a half circumnavigation of the north part of the city and dinner to collect, the new Giulia took off like an espresso shot.

Settling in between traffic you notice it’s gorgeous lines are constantly admired by motorists and pedestrians alike.

On the road the steering is sharper than any pizza cutter; there is some weight so it does not feel flighty, but poised for your next input.

The chassis works well with the rubber on the car too and gives a genuine feeling of road command. No dough here.

Inside is similar to the QV: there are three drive modes Dynamic, Natural and All Weather.

N and A feel similar in this model and D jogs the gears a little more aggressively as you play Gran Turismo for real.

The cabin is typically Alfa, just a nice place to be.

The infotainment is seamlessly integrated into the dash, seats are all electric, super supportive and attractive — not only to Alfisti but all arancini lovers too.

With the errands out of the way it’s time to get food and nothing better to get than something well rounded and Italian, like the Giulia.

With 10 minutes to destination and the aroma of Milano and pizza bulging from the excellent base model Giulia, we select Dynamic mode and eat the kilometres.

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What we like?

  • Great finish and seats
  • Sharp steering response and road holding
  • Excellent noise damping
  • Good looks
  • Feels like a $70k plus car everywhere

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What we don’t like?

  • Engine could have a raspier note

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The bottom line?

A practical beauty built for people who appreciate decent engineering and driving. Meraviglioso.

 

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Alfa Romeo Giulia, priced from $59,895
  • 8.5/10
    Looks - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Safety - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Thirst - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Practicality - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Comfort - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Tech - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Value - 8/10
8.1/10

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.