The Alfa Romeo saloon is available in four trim levels – Giulia, Super, Speciale and Veloce, while those after the Cloverleaf get a few more worthwhile features. The entry level Giulia trim equips the Alfa with 16in alloy wheels, cruise control, rear parking sensors, a chrome exhaust pipe, LED rear lights and a wealth of safety technology - including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and forward collision warning - as standard. Inside there is manually adjustable front seats, a leather clad steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers and lights, and Alfa's infotainment system complete with a 6.5in display, DAB radio, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Upgrade to Super and 17in alloys, aluminium door sills and part leather seats are included alongside an uprated infotainment system with a larger 8.8in display and sat nav, while opting for the Speciale adds numerous luxuries to the package. These include 18in alloy wheels shod in run flat tyres, bi-xenon headlights, electrically adjustable and heated front sports seats, a heated steering wheel, electrically folding door mirrors and a sporty bodykit.
The range-topping Veloce model gets an unique set of alloys, an upgraded braking system, front parking sensors and lovely crafted aluminium paddle shifters. Those after a more thrilling drive can opt for the lunacy of the Quadrifoglio, which not only gets you a 2.9-litre V6 punching out 503bhp and the ability to propel the Giulia to 191mph at full chat, it also gets a wealth of additional equipment as standard too. These include 19in alloys, more powerful bi-xenon headlights, blind spot monitoring system, interior ambient lighting, a bespoke leather and Alcantara upholstery, a rear-view camera and a quad-exhaust, not to mention Alfa's clever active aerodynamics package, active torque vectoring system, chassis control and dedicated race mode.
Discovering what makes Giulia passionate
Initially the Giulia is quite annoying, progressing upon further acquaintance to really rather encouraging. The irritation stems from a raft of superficially minor issues that still contrive to diminish your enjoyment of the car.
You can’t turn off the stability systems, there’s no such thing as the correct wiper speed in light rain, the hazard lights trigger much too soon under moderate to heavy braking, the temperature in the car at times sometimes seemed to be at significant variance to that displayed on the screen and the sat-nav screen is decidedly low rent compared to what is now found in its BMW and Mercedes rivals. Out there in the real world where cars are lived with as well as driven, this stuff matters.
However, it shouldn’t be allowed to cloud the fundamental fact that this not only the most competitive Alfa Romeo saloon since the last Giulia was launched more than half a century ago but, crucially for anyone with Alfisti blood lurking in their veins, the most likeable, too. The detailing may need some work, but the fundamentals are mainly excellent.
So you start with a flawless driving position (at least for left-hand drive cars) and, at least by compromised modern standards, excellent all round visibility. The engine is noisy at idle and under full load, but otherwise quiet, quieter for sure than equivalents found in the C-Class and Jaguar XE, but probably still behind BMW and Audi. The instruments in their classically hooded binnacles are clear, though not that attractive.
The wheels won’t have completed their first revolution before you notice the ride quality. It is eerily good for this kind of car and not just on smooth Italian roads.