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

Long-term test (Update): Alfa Romeo Giulia Super

Monitoring Naamsa reports over the last few months indicates that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is struggling with Giulia sales; only one unit found a new owner in February. While I understand that the Giulia is unlikely to compete with the established heavy hitters – the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class – the CAR team remains perplexed by this low figure.

In its time with us, the Giulia has been a treat to drive. Not only does it boast comfort and a stylish design on a level with the Germans, but such is its dynamic character that it’s more engaging than the C-Class and Audi A4.

In SA, brand perception and resale value remain big drivers in purchasing decisions and this has much to do with the Giulia’s relatively poor sales. Hopefully, with time, the arrival of additional models such as the Giulia Veloce and, of course, wider acceptance of the excellent Stelvio will be a catalyst for improved sales.

The Giulia is not without its quirks, however. The most notable ones are rather nervous front parking sensors that never fail to scare the hell out of me, triggering a loud warning when they sense anything even remotely close to the car (or, sometimes, even when the Giulia is nowhere near an obstacle). Equally oddly, the climate control cannot be adjusted if the park assist is active.

Other than these peculiarities, there haven’t been any issues with its functionality, reliability or perceived build quality.

As far as fuel consumption is concerned, the Giulia has been averaging 9,2 L/100 km, an excellent figure for a 1,6-tonne vehicle powered by a 2,0-litre turbopetrol. There’s nothing else in our fleet that we can fairly compare this to that is also driven predominantly in urban environs.

After 10 months
Mileage now: 12 948 km
Fuel consumption: 9,27 L/100 km
We like: dynamic driving feel
We don’t like: lacklustre sales