Published on June 25th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Alfa Romeo returns with the Giulia
This is important. 2015 marks the year that Alfa Romeo decides to pump a little bit of life back into a company that’s on the brink of failure, with sales that have dropped dismally low in comparison to it’s heydays. The 159 was the last 4-door Alfa Romeo model to make an appearance in the market, before the company eventually limited itself to producing superminis and sports cars like the 4C and 8C. For parent company Fiat Chrysler Automotive, the brand has been on the back burner- until now.
The Giulia marks an all new generation of Alfa Romeo models, under Chrysler ownership. There are those who may have questioned Sergio Marchionne’s decisions (and his manhandling of Maserati seems to be leading nowhere), but this refresh of the model lineup has been 6 years in the making. Earlier this year, it was announced that Alfa Romeo would be producing two new engines- a turbocharged 1.8-litre inline-4 motor, as well as turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 motor, which would be developed by Ferrari. These models will be featured in the Giulia among other cars, joined with a smaller capacity inline-4 and a few diesel motors as well.
Another reason for purists to rejoice is that the Giulia will be -deep breath- rear wheel drive. This is fantastic for a company that supposedly left the world of rear-driven cars decades ago, and this engineering decision was made in order to fight the German luxury sedan powerhouses. It’s also an exercise in optimization and platform sharing: the Giulia is said to be sitting on a shortened version of the Maserati Ghibli platform, redesigned to take smaller engines. Plenty of mechanical solutions about: Alfa claims that the twin-clutched differential allows more precise control of power delivery to each rear wheel in tandem with torque vectoring, which increases the grip limits of the car before the activation of traction control systems. Alfa has mentioned there will be all-wheel drive variants available as well, most likely f or countries where snow is a seasonal issue.
The highest spec version- the Quadrifoglio Verde- sports some nice aesthetic touches to separate it from the regular Giulias. It’s also powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 motor, pushing out a staggering 503 bhp- a figure which puts it nicely between the BMW M3 and the Mercedes C63 AMG. Cylinders can be de-activated during cruising for better fuel efficiency as well, a necessity when trying to meet European fuel and emission regulations. Weight distribution across the range is set to be at 50-50 between the front and rear- no mean feat for a 4-door sedan to achieve. Curb weight is also set to be on the light side, being estimated at a little over 1,500 kg. An Active Aero Splitter is included, along with a revised version of the Alfa DNA drive mode system that we’ve seen in their last few cars.
It’s said that the Mito will no longer be in production by the time next year rolls around, and instead the company is aiming to attack the larger luxury sedan markets, as well as a foray into the crossover market. Alfa Romeo is shedding it’s image of being a quirky compact car producer, perhaps even doing away with the sports car association, and focusing on competing as a proper luxury brand. The next iteration of the Giuletta will be rear-wheel driven as well, although what platform it uses is yet to be seen. The move may be a little more profit driven than passion driven, but if Alfa Romeo is willing to provide a more soulful alternative to the Teutonic offerings on the market, then we are all better for it. Let’s just hope the electronics hold up.