The world of compact executive saloons is an increasingly competitive one. BMW’s 3-Series, Audi’s A4 and Mercedes’ C-Class have slugged it out for years. There is another– slightly more left field -option, though. If you’re looking for a slick luxury saloon that drives with utter class- a charismatic, luxurious and uber stylish Italian choice–then we give you the Alfa Romeo Guilia.
Where better to start an Alfa Romeo Guilia review than by talking about what may well be the car’s biggest asset - its eye-watering good looks.
We don’t care if this sounds weird - the Giulia is quite simply beautiful. There aren’t many cars on the road this gorgeous. Drive one and you won’t have seen so much rubbernecked head-turning since your last trip to an owl sanctuary.
Alfa Romeos have always been known for their looks and while the Guilia is unique and modern, it manages to retain its classic, utterly distinct and recognisable Milanese look. Bellissima!
The car’s biggest asset - its eye-watering good looks.
What’s it like to drive?
The Giulia isn’t just a pretty face, there’s a seriously well-made engine dwelling beneath its chassis. There’s a perfect balance of smoothness and performance here. Quick steering, top-notch handling and an eight-speed automatic gearbox team up to offer drivers a truly effortless drive.
That doesn’t mean performance is sacrificed though, oh no. Motoring purists may lament the lack of clutch. That’s soon forgotten after a few miles. The Giulia can handle city strazzas just as easily as motorways or long countryside treks.
While you’ll enjoy the car’s capability on an autostrade or on long rural roads, you may miss the adoring glances from awestruck city slicker pedestrians.
The Giulia isn’t just a pretty face, there’s a seriously well-made engine dwelling beneath its chassis.
The interior of a Giulia is a sight to behold. Opulent and elegant, there’s a real sumptuousness to the huge steering wheel, large stylish dials and digitalised instruments. This is especially true of later Giulias. Earlier models do give off a vague impression of having copied their German competitors just a tad. That said, they’re still of a very high quality.
Comfortable seating arrangements offer an excellent view of the road in the front and there’s more than enough space throughout to make this Alfa Romeo a very relaxing and roomy place to be. The long wheelbase means that passengers in the back could wear flippers and still have room to jiggle their feet about.
The infotainment system is intuitive and well laid-out, if not quite a class leader. Older models do tend to have quite blocky graphics compared to similarly aged rivals. One thing we really love about the infotainment systems in Giulias is that they can be controlled via a special rotary dial between the front seats. This means no clumsy touchscreen prodding while driving - a neat and unusual little safety feature.
Expect Bluetooth, USB connectivity, a DAB radio and sat-nav as standard. Music fans can opt for a Harman/Kardon stereo upgrade in newer Giulias. There's also a rather snazzy smartphone app that helps you find your car in a crowded car park and remotely operate features like the central locking. Not entirely necessary, but a nice option.
Boot space is more than adequate in the Giulia, if not class-leadingly amazing. It has exactly the same room in the boot as both the Mercedes C-Class and 3-Series BMW, if that helps you picture it. No? Okay, well, you can fit six carry-on mini-suitcases or three large suitcases in there. There’s a relatively annoying little lip that cuts down on space, but that’s hardly unusual, so we’re not grumbling too much.
As for more miscellaneous storage space, the Giulia isn’t found wanting. The storage area under the centre armrest upfront is pleasingly big and there are various other little useful cubbyholes throughout. More pernickety storage space lovers may be a little underwhelmed by the dimensions of the door bins and glovebox.
Running costs and reliability
Alfa Romeos are known for their sleek good looks - of that there’s little doubt. They also, unfortunately, have something of a reputation as unreliable. Luckily for Giulia owners, the manufacturers have addressed their historic mechanical issues and now rank a whole lot higher in owner satisfaction surveys.
As for running costs, a sexy executive saloon like this could disappoint. The Giulia, however, does not. The fuel economy from these beauties is surprisingly good. The slightly lower powered diesels offer a shade over 50mpg. Opt for the meatier and more powerful diesel or petrol engine, however, and it drops quite significantly to a fairly low 41mpg.
What we love
Anyone looking for a high-end executive saloon that combines performance with comfort, and stands out from the crowd with classic Italian good looks, will fall in love with the Alfa Romeo Giulia. These are obvious candidates for high-end company cars, but the reality is, when a car looks and drives this good, they suit almost everyone.
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The Giulia is a real breath of minty fresh air blown all over a market dominated by the famous German manufacturers for so long. Latin flair elevates it and offers motorists a unique and exciting change from the norm. Factor in the fuel economy and the dynamic drive and it’s hard not to recommend Milan over Bavaria here. What’s that we’re feeling here? It might just be amore...
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