First ride: Alfa Giulia 2.2 Diesel: Dance tango with me!

Curve fun with the Giulia (Photo: Bernd Conrad)

Life does not necessarily get easier. At least for the typical middle class customer. Often in middle management and authorized to enter the company. His employer does not explicitly write down any brand, but some cars either close the boss (Jaguar XE - relatively cheap, but how does that happen to drive up the customer in the Jaguar?) Or you yourself (VW Passat, done nicely, but how does that happen to drive on the neighbor in the Passat?).

The trio of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class remains. "Once like everyone". So that you can profile yourself, but only not attract attention? That no longer has to be the case, but the choice is more difficult, the decision-making process becomes more complicated: a fourth alternative comes into play.

Departure into the modern age: The Giulia has overtaking prestige - like the whole brand (Photo: Bernd Conrad).
Departure into the modern age: The Giulia has overtaking prestige - like the whole brand (Photo: Bernd Conrad).

Prototype BMW 3er

Because Alfa Romeo is back! Have you read recently? Certainly. We do not agree with that because it sounds good, but because the premium with the first new car has been sitting for years. Especially the BMW 3er has to stretch, which was clearly the benchmark for the Giulia development.

Take a deep breath first. Just do not support anything. I approach the new Italian sedan quite neutral and clarified. For the first exit, the choice falls on a configuration, which the sample customer mentioned above might well consider:

The Alfa Romeo Giulia with the 132 kW / 180 PS strong 2.2 liter diesel engine (there is still an 150 PS variant and especially for the markets of France and Germany also an entry-level diesel with 136 PS).

This unit is linked to the second equipment level called Super, which costs 150 euros extra for the 1.800 hp diesel. It comes with a fabric / leather combination in the interior, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, chrome jewelry and more, so it's definitely worth it even with the weaker model.

The test car in muted dark blue with beige leather interior looks solid, for an Alfa Romeo maybe a bit too piefig. 293 words Gossip, dear readers, you want to know how the Giulia feels!

Welcome home: Pleasant Alfa cockpit. Only the seats are not ideal (photo: Bernd Conrad).
Welcome home: Pleasant Alfa cockpit. Only the seats are not ideal (photo: Bernd Conrad).

Here we go. The thumb of the left hand moves intuitively to the start button on the steering wheel and the question immediately arises "why isn't it here with every car"? The four-cylinder gets up and diesels. Quite perceptible and robust, but in a not unpleasant frequency. Sounds a bit like the BMW 320d, which I will use more often in this report for comparison. But that also means: An Audi A4 TDI makes it quieter.

While the selector lever of the optional ZF eight-speed automatic transmission (should I say BMW again?) Is set to P, I explore the interior with my eyes and fingers. From the very first second, as a driver, you feel fully absorbed by the car, as poured into it. Fits perfectly. The steering wheel is comfortable in the hand, especially the material mix of the leather wreath with the slip-resistant synthetic fabric in the thumb grooves is a splendor. But why the Alfa Romeo emblem in the baffle staring at the driver monochrome and not in its full blaze of color remains the secret of the marketing strategists.

The round instruments lie in deep caves and are perfectly legible. What could also apply to the interposed 7-Zoll-Display, if it would be used properly. The navigation displays are well displayed, but who calls, for example, the driving data of the on-board computer, wonders about seemingly arbitrarily distributed, far too small numbers on the large black area.

They are also available over the center console. As soon as the infotainment is switched on, the wonderfully fitted monitor for navigation, audio and vehicle settings appears here. In a time of clumsy lounging displays on some dashboard a nice change.

This is nicer: 08 / 15 selector lever and brittle plastic in the center console (Photo: Bernd Conrad).
This is nicer: 08 / 15 selector lever and brittle plastic in the center console (Photo: Bernd Conrad).

Noteworthy: The Giulia has no touch screen. That too can still exist, and it works. With 20 buttons, four knobs (one with additional printing function, so much time must be) and two rollers, which are distributed over the cockpit and multifunction steering wheel, the Alfa can serve great. Also with the service applies: Model Munich middle class.

This also applies to the feel of the installed plastics and the quality impression. The bumpy carpet in the passenger footwell and a few unclean fitted parts of the door paneling, I bile in good faith on the Vorserienstatus the test car.

But now: selector lever to "D". Over narrow country roads it goes on the Autostrada. The diesel ignites neatly without tearing out trees. But he should not, relaxed Kilometerspulen is his job. The automatic always keeps the right gear in hand and pleases with very crisp gear changes, which sometimes remind of the characteristics of a double clutch. Even on a longer winding road, for which Giulia and I leave the slippery Italian motorway, it does not push its fingers to the standard paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Unruffled, chic design: The Giulia in profile (Photo: Bernd Conrad).
Unruffled, chic design: The Giulia in profile (Photo: Bernd Conrad).

Rather already to the DNA knob on the center console. Here you can set the characteristics of the drive (engine and transmission) and the steering. "A" stands for the efficient mode in which Giulia seems to be well-rested. In "N" everything is just normal and here in the mountains I choose "D" for "Dynamic". The engine is more alert to the gas, the steering becomes heavier and more direct. With it you circle the car with millimeter precision over the asphalt.

It is, therefore, whether Giulia pulls you without a single lesson on the dance floor and with you a straight tango kinks. Amazing how fast the driver and the car become one, how a diesel-powered mid-size sedan suddenly feels like a sporty compact car. Of course, the rear-wheel drive also plays its role in brisk uphill and downhill climbing, without the drive axle wanting to interfere brashly. ESP use? None.

There is still no adjustable suspension for the Alfa. Even if this option is postponed, you can safely save the money for it. With the test car's 18 inch rims, Giulia offers amazing comfort, even on second- and third-degree choppy roads. This interpretation, the car buys but by no means with strong lateral incline in curves or the slope to falter, Giulia puts here a perfect balancing act. Tango. It is above all the combination of the apparent contrast between comfortable suspension and sporty-direct steering that impresses.

Which unfortunately does not apply to the seats. While the upper back experiences some lateral support, the rider slips helplessly around on the too small seat. The smooth leather helps here diligently, so my recommendation for the standard fabric / leather upholstery must be clearly expressed. The BMW 3 Series is also the model for the seating, but here the rental car version with the unusable standard seats. It's a shame that Alfa does not offer any optional sports seats with adjustable thigh pads and more shaped seat bolsters.

A job for the model maintenance so. Then the dreary plastic in the center console and the scratch-sensitive rotary push-button for infotainment operation can be tackled right away.

If the view already falls to the bottom right, also disturbs the brittle automatic control lever. Also, should look like BMW (provides the ZF only?), But would have earned a chic Alfa Romeo design.

6,8 liter of diesel on 100 kilometers, the 180 PS-Giulia has approved on the test drive. In view of the fixed mountain passages a passable value.

Despite the color similarity with the house: The Giulia does not hide. (Photo: Bernd Conrad)
Despite the color similarity with the house: The Giulia does not hide. (Photo: Bernd Conrad)

Manual switching as an alternative to the automatic?

Less is not necessarily synonymous with the manual version, which I could try for direct comparison in the connection (the gray-beige car in the pictures). The six-speed transmission has pleasantly short distances, but is not the jagged-crisp Sportrührgerät, perhaps expected. Like the competitor from Munich the reverse gear can be reached via a resistance to the left next to the first gear. At the pressure point but can be happy to work again, it happens quite that accidentally hinzufährt towards the rear rather than forward.

The manual control box trusts Alfa Romeo also less torque than the torque converter automatic. While there maximum torque 450 Nm pending, this value culminates automatically switched at 380 Nm. But they also mean enough strength.

What also stands out: With the third pedal (for the clutch), it is at least in my shoe size dimensions (48) plentifully tight in the footwell, all too often hooked the coupling foot with the support left next to it.

2.250 Euro is a proud extra charge for the eight-speed automatic - which is still a sensible investment, it fits just perfectly to the well-balanced Giulia and uses the torque potential of the diesel better with the two additional speed levels.

So let's talk about dear money. The new Alfa Romeo is not cheap, and on purpose. It was not the aim of the Italians to throw a budget alternative to the established premium sedans on the market. You want to see each other at eye level. The Giulia Super with 39.650 hp diesel and automatic costs 180 euros. At first glance, only 50 euros under the BMW 320d. To stay fair, we at Bayern include the parking sensors, automatic air conditioning and fabric / leather seats. Makes 41.530 euros and thus 1.700 euros price advantage for the Italian.

Two tailpipes on the rear mark the diesel (Photo: Bernd Conrad).
Two tailpipes on the rear mark the diesel (Photo: Bernd Conrad).

The conclusion

Can the comeback of Alfa Romeo succeed? The chances were never better than with Giulia. It has become a really good car, considering the long dry spell and failures of Alfa Romeo last year, even an unexpectedly good one. Thus, the forecast of 4.000 Giulia sales in the first full sales year 2017 on the German market is at first glance too low. The bottleneck is likely to be the dealer network, which has shrunk to only 80 operations.

Even if the BMW representation is perhaps around the corner, one was advised middle-class prospects: Before the signing of a purchase or lease contract is definitely worth the drive to Alfa Romeo seller. Because with the additional selection, life will not be easier, but in such an alternative but quite beautiful.

 

Specifications Alfa Romeo Giulia Super 2.2 Diesel (automatic)

capacity2.143 cc
Performance132 kW / 180 PS at 3.750 RPM
maximum torque380 Nm (450 Nm) at 1.750 rpm
Acceleration 0-100 km / h7,2 seconds (6,8 seconds)
top speed230 km/h
Standard consumption combined4,2 liters / 100 km
base price37.400 Euro (39.650 Euro)

 

 

 

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