Long-term test (Update 1): Alfa Romeo Giulia Super
It’s been a few months since I took “ownership” of my first Alfa Romeo and in that time the Giulia and I have really gelled.
To date, I have yet to see another one in Cape Town, which might not be what Alfa Romeo South Africa might like, but I am enjoying the exclusivity.
Since our first road test of a 2,0-litre turbopetrol model a few months ago, I have learnt to live with the idiosyncrasies that we mentioned in that test. I’ve learnt to modulate the snatchy brake pedal by applying pressure with just my big toe; and what I first perceived as twitch-quick steering action now feels completely natural, so much so that when I step into another test car the helm feels gloopy and slow-witted.
Speaking of the steering… Older Alfa sedans such as the 156 and 159 had comically large turning circles, an annoying trait that left drivers making multipoint turns to park or negotiate tight spaces. Happily, the new Giulia doesn’t display that frustrating characteristic. However, the suspension setup is such that the variable Ackermann angle causes an odd chatter through the front wheels, akin to turning the front wheels on gravel as the tyres slip across the surface. Initially, it was cause for concern, but doing some online research reveals that this is completely normal for the latest Giulia. The upside for this slight annoyance, however, is an absence of understeer in almost all driving conditions.
Apart from learning to live with the Giulia’s peculiarities, I have been enjoying its dynamic prowess, which is reflected in the car’s fuel consumption. Another factor helping to raise the figure is a lack of open-road motoring, as the Giulia spends most of its time within the Cape metropolitan area.
After 4 months
Mileage now: 5 578 km
Fuel consumption: 10,27 L/100 km
We like: excellent dynamics
We don’t like: odd steering chatter
Long-term test (Introduction): Alfa Romeo Giulia Super
A few months ago, we tested Alfa Romeo’s brand-new, range-topping Giulia QV. We found it to be an incredible driving machine, so much so that we give it the nod above Mercedes-AMG’s C63 and BMW’s M3.
However, while performance models are great for creating hype and brand awareness, it’s further down the pecking order where the majority of sales take place. In a more recent comparison test, a 2,0-litre Giulia held its own against a similarly engined and priced Audi A4.
During both those tests, some readers expressed the opinion that, being an Alfa, it was only a matter of time before something went wrong on the Giulia. So, we requested a long-term test car to see whether these prejudicial claims should be laid to rest.
A few weeks ago, we took delivery of a Giulia Super, which is the mid-level derivative in the compact-executive range and a hearty nod to the nomenclature used on Alfas of old. The Super is powered by a 2,0-litre turbopetrol coupled with an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. In Alfa tradition, power is sent to the rear wheels.
There is no doubt the Giulia is a great-looking car and, while the Kelvinator white colour divides the CAR team, the mid-size sedan attracts admiring glances.
The Super trim level denotes a certain level of luxury and, while the base-spec model isn’t lacking, this derivative does add a few desirable modern conveniences to the package. These include dual-zone climate control, radar-based cruise control, partial leather seats, chunky metal paddle shifters like the ones on its QV sibling, 17-inch alloys and a reverse-view camera. The infotainment system features Bluetooth connectivity, which is quicker-acting than that of my old Audi A4 long-term car, but there is no satellite navigation or heated front seats, sadly.
Speaking of the seats, they are partially trimmed in red leather, with grey inserts in the cushions and backrests. They brighten what is otherwise a sombre cabin.
The Giulia has managed to accumulate quite some mileage in just a few weeks. I’ve been away on assignment, but thankfully some colleagues have been using it in my absence instead of their own long-term test cars, which speaks volumes of the driver-oriented nature of the Giulia.
So far, there haven’t been any issues to report, something we don’t foresee changing over the next 12 months if recent positive experience with two Alfa longtermers, a Giulietta and a Mito, are anything to go by.
After 1 month
Mileage now: 1 578 km
Fuel consumption: 10,18 L/100 km
We like: beautiful shape
We don’t like: bland colour