Alfa Romeo Giulia: Not so active anymore

Riley Riley

2022 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce 6

What is it?

The number of sports sedans available to Aussie drivers continues to shrink.

Ford and Holden’s offerings are no more and the Chrysler 300 is over and out too.

That leaves the Germans, the Genesis G70 and maybe the Lexus IS350 F-Sport — and of course Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Who could forget the Giulia, the car and platform with the very future of the storied brand riding on its elegant back.

If there’s one thing the Italians know how to do and do well, it’s design and build great-looking cars with impeccable road manners — and Giulia is one of them.

2022 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce 7 1

What’s it cost?

Introduced in 2015 as a replacement for the 159, Giulia was last updated in 2021.

It’s not just a good-looking car, but a veritable work of art, with its deep V-shaped signature grille.

But it looks like Alfa has quietly trimmed the lineup since our last encounter because just two out of the five models remaining.

There’s the four cylinder Giulia Veloce priced from $74,950 and from there it doubles up to the twin-turbo V6 Quadrifoglio at twice the price and power — $152,360 before on-road costs.

Our test vehicle was the Veloce with a few bits and pieces added.

Standard kit includes 19-inch alloys, the Q2 limited slip rear diff and a sports body kit with dual exhausts.

It appears the Veloce no longer comes with Alfa active suspension, although we’re still waiting for Alfa to confirm this development.

There’s also leather trim and dual-zone climate air, a heated steering wheel, heated eight-way power adjust front seats with driver memory and power-adjust seat bolsters, aluminium pedals and dash insert plus ambient interior lighting.

Add to this adaptive bi-xenon headlights, keyless entry and start, auto engine stop-start, auto lights and wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror, front and rear parking sensors and a reverse parking camera with dynamic guidelines — plus wireless phone charging.

Infotainment comes in the form of an 8.8-inch touchscreen with eight-speaker audio, built-in navigation, AM/FM/DAB radio, voice control, Bluetooth with audio streaming plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

There’s USB A and C ports and AUX input in the front as well as another USB port in the back — and praise be a physical volume knob.

Premium 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio is available as a $1255 option which sounds like a pretty good deal.

Crash tested back in 2016 Giulia scores a full five-star safety rating with six airbags, rear view camera, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (City, Interurban and Vulnerable Road User).

There’s also Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Active Blind Spot Assist and Driver Attention Assist — but no auto braking in reverse.

Add to this Active Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Control and Automatic High Beam Assist.

Driver Attention Assist monitors the movements of the vehicle via the Multi-Touch Display program and encourages drivers to rest when drowsy.

Other options include metallic paint at $1355 (exxy), Tri-Colour paint $2755 (even exxier), Dual-pane sunroof $2255 (don’t like sunroofs), Black or Yellow brake calipers ($755) and 20-inch Veloce Five-Hole Alloy Wheels ($700).

We’d say yes to the audio, painted calipers and alloys. The good news is that basic Alfa red will cost you nothing.

Giulia now comes with a five-year warranty and five-year roadside assistance, with service intervals pegged at 12 months/15,000km.

2022 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce 8

What’s it go like?

Alfa’s first rear drive sedan in years, Giulia was designed with a clear emphasis on performance.

It had to channel the brand’s heritage, its ‘Italian-ness’ and design DNA, but also had to be better than its German rivals if it was to beat them at their own game.

Befitting its role as a sports sedan, the compact dimensions suggest agility, with a cabin that follows a traditional design route.

There’s heavily bolstered leather sports seats and old-style, driver focused analogue instrument dials.

A smallish-looking touchscreen can be found inset in the dash, where it is less intrusive — but close enough if and when you need it.

Remember, it’s not the destination but the journey that counts here.

The start button is hidden in full sight on the steering wheel like a Ferrari, rather than hidden somewhere in and around the dash.

If you’re of a certain age, then you need to be aware that Giulia sits reasonably low to the ground and the heavily bolstered seats can make entry and exit a little difficult.

In the back, rear legroom is tight, especially with the front seats set back, while the boot though deep is fairly shallow, with a smallish opening that will limit what you can get in there anyway.

Neither of the four- or six-cylinder engines offered have anything to do with Ferrari, although engine development was headed up by a former Ferrari guy.

The 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine in the Veloce develops 206kW of power at 5250 rpm and 400Nm of torque from 2250 rpm.

With a 58-litre tank and auto engine stop-start, it uses a claimed 6.1 litres of 95 RON premium per 100km and generates 141g of CO2 per kilometre.

Drive is to the rear wheels through an 8-speed ZF automatic and limited slip rear diff, with large metal paddle shifts fixed to the steering column rather than rotating with the wheel.

Weighing in at a trim 1490kg, the dash from 0-100km/h takes 5.7 seconds and it has a top speed of 240km/h — not lightning quick but quick enough to whet the appetite.

Helping to keep weight down is a carbon-fibre drive shaft as well as aluminium shock towers, suspension components, front wings and doors.

At this point it’s worth mentioning the DNA control dial located close to hand on the centre console.

It provides access to sport mode and, in the previous model, there was another less conspicuous button in the centre of the dial that could be used to soften the adjustable suspension in sport mode if necessary.

It’s no longer there.

DNA stands for Dynamic, Natural and Advanced efficiency — in other words Sport, Normal and Eco.

Dynamic dials up the excitement, with sharper braking and steering, plus more aggressive engine, transmission and throttle tip-in calibrations.

It also adds some snarl to the exhaust note, although it could and should be louder.

It wasn’t that long ago that cars that could hit the 100km/h mark in 6.0 seconds or less were considered high performance.

Times have kept tumbling, but Veloce still feels plenty quick.

While there’s a slight hesitation in the default mode, the car really starts to spark in Dynamic mode.

There’s plenty of torque down low which makes it easy to drive in the cut and thrust of city traffic, but a car like this really demands the open road.

You can tell Giulia is a driver’s car from the way it responds, the way it turns easily into corners and the way it communicates what is happening to the driver.

It has a real planted feel with electric variable power steering that is quick, light and direct.

Heading into our first corner, at a somewhat faster speed than your average punter, the car turns in eagerly, almost as though it knows the way.

Squirming, the car feels like it’s almost alive under our feet, with the diff and suspension working in tandem, with plenty of help from grippy Pirellis.

The brakes are brilliant, strong and progressive, enabling late braking into corners, with a little lift-off oversteer evident.

With staggered runflat 225/40 series rubber at front and wider 255/35s at the rear, the ride is outstanding — even without the aid of active suspension.

It’s only on choppy city roads, like Sydney’s Parramatta Rd, that it starts to become uncomfortable.

Gear changes from the ZF transmission are smooth and timely, but moving between forward and reverse can be awkward during parking manoeuvres.

The paddle shifts are nice to have for engine braking or to grab a quick gear, but Drive and Dynamic mode are almost as good.

Importantly, Giulia is fun to drive and while there’s always the M3-beating 375kW Quadrifoglio to consider — for our money four cylinder engines are what Alfa does best.

We were getting 9.8L/100km after more than 350km —  not quite the promised 6.1 but liveable for a sports sedan.

The Veloce gets our vote. Bellissimo.

2022 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce 2

What we like?

  • Style
  • Performance
  • Handling
  • Price
  • That DNA button

2022 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce 4

What we don’t like?

  • Bit low for oldies
  • Seat a bit clingy on exit
  • Cramped rear seat
  • Small rear view camera
  • Where’s the active suspension?

2022 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce 1

The bottom line?

We motoring journos have a short list of cars we’d rather not give back. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of them.

It’s a real driver’s car, with a punchy turbo engine and rear-wheel drive, along with a limited slip diff to keep things nice and neat.

Throw in stunning good looks and it’s a hard one to pass up, particularly at the price point.

Waddaya reckon, Alfa? Finders keepers.

2022 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce 3


CHECKOUT: Tonale takes Alfa into the future

CHECKOUT: Alfasud a rust bucket (but I loved it)


Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce, priced from $74,950
  • Looks - 8.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
  • Thirst - 7.5/10
  • Practicality - 6.5/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 8.5/10

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *