As disruptive as I may be in an office environment, I’m actually not one to willingly draw attention to myself…until now. Since its recent addition to the CAR long-term test fleet, our new Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1750 TBi Quadrifoglio Verde has proved to be a real head-turner – especially with those 17-inch ‘telephone dial’ rims and lustrous metallic red paintwork. It’s taking some getting used to – as is the tendency to check oneself out in every reflective surface when driving through town.
Another aspect of the new Alfa that’s required some acclimatization is the lack of resting place for your clutch loafer in the foot well – it’s a the only black mark against a very tastefully-executed, and reasonably spacious, cabin that benefits from such optional niceties as a crystal-clear Bose sound system, a panoramic sunroof and snug, electrically-adjustable sports seats.
Although the turbocharged 1,75-litre engine develops an impressive 173 kW and 340 N.m of torque, the Giulietta doesn’t really feel like a hot hatch. There’s noticeable turbo lag below 2 300 r/min and the exhaust note is rather subdued, but once the turbo spools up the forward momentum is relentless and the Giulietta picks up some serious pace.
Nudging the DNA drive selector into the more aggressive ‘d’ setting does sharpen up the throttle and engage the overboost to negate some of the low-end sluggishness, making the Giulietta great fun to thread through the bends at pace but, in doing so, it’s all too easy to light up the tyres at the traffic lights – again, attracting more attention than you’d need whilst going some way to explaining the 10,7-litres/100 km average fuel consumption to date.
Thanks to a supple ride and refined manners, the Giulietta has thus far acquitted itself very well around town – a sojourn up the West Coast beckons…