Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV review

Presented by

Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV

Road test: Is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV a hot Golf-beater?

Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV review
Road test: Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV

 

ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA

Bloody Volkswagen Golf. You see them everywhere, in ever-increasing numbers, and while it’s easy to dismiss the conservative Volksy’s ubiquity, there’s a reason for it. The Golf VI is a great car that is incredibly adept at just about everything – except arousing passion.

It only takes one glance at the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta for its sex appeal to kick in, but then Alfa has long been capable of designing voluptuous forms. What the Italians have had a little more trouble with is the functional side of things – stuff the Germans usually excel at – but if we’re to believe the boasts from Milan, the new Giulietta hatch is finally the car to break the Italian mould. It’s sexy and sensible.

Unlike the 147 it replaces, the Giulietta can match the Golf in a whole bunch of practical ways. Its boot is bang-on the Golf’s 350-litre capacity and Alfa claims that with a 1.83m driver behind the wheel, a 1.84m passenger can fit behind, compared to a 1.80m human in the Golf. The $37K 125kW Giulietta 1.4 MultiAir is both quicker (0-100 in 7.8sec v 8.0) and uses less fuel (5.6L/100km v 6.5) than VW’s 118kW Golf 1.4 TSI, and the $42K Giulietta QV manages to one-up the benchmark Golf GTI – 173kW versus 155, 0.1sec faster to 100km/h, and slightly more economical. On paper, then, Giulietta scores.

But on the road, the Giulietta is an even greater triumph. Wearing fat 225/40ZR18 Pirelli P Zero Rossos, the grunty QV is a revelation – balanced, composed and supple, but also keen, talkative and inspiring. It treads that fine line between disciplined and comfortable like a 3-Series used to before being slugged with run-flats.

Cornered hard, the QV tucks its nose in tight and any mild power-on understeer is quelled beautifully by Alfa’s Q2 electronic limited-slip front diff. The really well-sorted multi-link IRS fluidly moves the tail out slightly on corner exits, while rarely provoking the excellent ESP, and the throttle adjustability is a joy. Add precise, nicely-weighted, kickback-free steering and you can see why the Giulietta’s dynamics rate so highly – even in the cushier, less-focused 1.4. It’s real premium stuff.

The QV’s turbocharged, direct-injection 1750 TBi engine has easily enough grunt to complement the car’s chassis, but it does so without genuine flavour and it lacks the old 147 Twin Spark’s glorious induction fizz. The MultiAir 1.4 actually sounds sportier. Both feature six-speed manuals, but the 1.4 will get a TCT dual-clutch option mid-year.

In terms of driver-appeal, then, the Giulietta nails it, and it has charisma, too, but functionally, it still falls a fair way short of a Golf. The front seats are reasonable, but the back seat is very shallow and has no under-thigh support, wasting all that good room, and there aren’t any bottle holders anywhere. Little things, yes, but stuff you really appreciate. And stuff the VW aces. Thankfully for the Alfisti, though, after a couple of corners, all will be forgiven.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV

 

Engine: 1742cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbo

Power: 173kW @ 5500rpm

Torque: 340Nm @ 1900rpm

Weight: 1320kg

Transmission: 6-speed manual

0-100km/h: 6.8sec (claimed)

Top speed: 242km/h (claimed)

Price: $41,990

 

 

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more unique car reviews and features plus see the latest unique and classic cars for sale.

Subscribe to Unique Cars magazine
- Print edition
- Digital edition