Is this really it?
Alfa Romeoâ€™s are like buses, you don't see one for ages and then they all come along at once. After 5 billion euros of investment Alfa is entering a renaissance, eight new models in 3 years and in typical Alfa style they have decided to call it the same name as a previous model, the Giulia, do you know how annoying that is, imagine the conversation, a customer rings up and wants to book in their Giulia in for a service, which one will that be sir, a 101 Giulia, a 105 series Giulia or a Giulia 952, next, almost inevitably will come â€œits a 1750â€, you can see where this is going, I bet you it will be red as well! I suppose I should be used to it as we already have 3 different types of Giulietta and a GTV of everything!
So what is happening at Alfa? The truth is that Sergeo Marchionne is trying to get Fiat into a position where it can compete with VW, Toyota etc, he has already acquired Chrysler and is interested in taking over GM (seriously) Now part of that plan involves realigning Alfa to compete against Audi, BMW and Mercedes as this area of the car market is by far the most profitable and at the moment FCA has no really competitive products in this sector, those of us who are slightly longer in the tooth may remember that this has been achieved before with the VW Group pulling Audi from a manufacturer of somewhat dowdy but reliable family cars into the brand it is today but this took the best part of 15 years and I dont expect Mr Marchionne to be with Alfa that long! One of the first things that the executives at Alfa did was some research into the brand and its history, perhaps unsurprisingly to Alfisti they discovered that Alfa Romeo was considered a premium brand by its customers who were willing to pay well over Â£100,000 for its products while the executives in charge of the brand were trying to force the marque into the VW Polo, Fiat Punto and Renault Clio market and as we all know If you have a Diamond you dont try to sell it at a car boot sale! Perhaps unsurprisingly the top brass at Fiat decided that they had to change their perspective of the brand and realign it with their customers perceptions and work from there. So two years ago a team was set up to develop a new Alfa, the team was headed by Phillippe Krief, ex-Ferrari (his last project before leaving Ferrari was the 458 Speciale) and they have come up with the Giulia.
So on Wednesday the 24th of June 2015, Alfaâ€™s 105th Birthday Alfa Romeo revealed the Giulia at the spiritual home of Alfa Romeo, Arese. Normally with new cars you get some previews on the internet, not this time, I didnâ€™t manage to see one spy shot until the day before which is unusual for a manufacturer. Even as I write this a week after release details are still sketchy with no definitive specification being released, so what do I know?
Firstly it is a new chassis specifically developed for the Giulia and in the terms of the trade it is scalable, they can make the chassis bigger or smaller as required imagine a modern day Giulia!?!? sorry imagine a modern day 105 series Giulia where the same chassis was used for the spider, the Coupe and the Saloon, that is scalable. This chassis is effectively Alfa Romeo until 2020 so it is quite important and all models from now on will be based on it. The chassis is either rear wheel drive which to the older generation of the club is â€œAlfa Romeoâ€ or four wheel drive and we are promised 8 different models, so we have a saloon, a coupe, a spider, a 4x4, an estate, a SUV, a crossover and maybe a spaceship as here in the office can't think of any other categories you could possible put a car in! (donâ€™t laugh it won't be the first time Alfa Romeo have released a spaceship!*) The first model released is the Quadrifoglio, please note and I have been told this in no uncertain terms it is not a â€œQuadrifoglio Verdeâ€ which is interesting in itself, is the Quadrifoglio Verde still to come? if so it is going to be some sort of monster as the standard Quadrifoglio isnt exactly a shrinking violet, how does 510 bhp sound? whatâ€™s more how does 3.0 litre 510 bhp twin turbo V6 sound? Again I have been told definitively this is not a version of the Maserati engine, the Maserati is a 60 degree V6 while the Alfa engine is a 90 degree V6 (note the old Busso V6 was a 60 degree V6) the car has variable cam timing but I dont know if it will have dual continuous variable valve timing like the 1750 turbo or Multiair like the 1.4 Giulietta. However this line in the sales blurb â€œoffering surprising fuel efficiency thanks to electronically controlled cylinder deactivation technologyâ€ makes me think that it will use the multiair system with some modifications to hold a valve open to reduce pumping losses, but that really is a bit of a stab in the dark. In line with Sergio Marchionne assertion that all Alfa Romeoâ€™s will be built in Italy the engine is made in Termoli, Italy. Other engines used will almost certainly include the 1750 turbo, the 1.4 multiair, the 2.0 litre JTDm and a V6 Diesel of around 300 bhp, transmission will be either 6 speed manual or 7 speed TCT semi automatic gearbox.
As for the suspension, you have to read Alfaâ€™s sales blurb â€œa sophisticated Alfalink multi-link solution has been chosen for the rear axle, while the front suspension employs a new, double-wishbone set-up. Developed exclusively by Alfa Romeo, a new semi-virtual steering axis optimises the filtering effect and guarantees rapid, accurate steering by keeping a constant caster trail in corners. In combination with electronically-controlled adaptive dampers, the always-perfect footprint allows the Giulia to tackle high lateral forcesâ€ now interpreting that without a couple of pictures is virtually impossible, to me I would suggest that it has double wishbones at the front with the rear controlled by some sort of self steering multi link modified double wishbone affair. There will also be computer controlled shock absorbers to keep everything under control. The sales patter continues but reading between the lines â€œthe Giulia introduces an innovative double-clutch Torque Vectoring systemâ€ means it has a mechanical limited slip differential. I do love some of this marketing speak that manufacturers come out with, how they expect anyone to understand what that is supposed to be is firmly beyond me,
Moving on to the special bits, the car has a carbon fibre prop-shaft, bonnet, roof and seat frames, now that really is trick and the front and rear sub frames are made of Aluminium as are the wings and doors, while the brakes are carbon ceramic with aluminium callipers! Now all of this adds up to a pretty potent package, more than we are used to for Alfa Romeo however when all said and done this halo model is a perfect teaser but lets face it this car will depend on the dynamics and sales of the 2.0 litre diesel and that is where the proof of the pudding will lie. just before I sign off I have one further bit of marketing gobbledygook â€œsales in the UK are slated for Q3 2016â€ got that!
*Disco Volante=Flying Saucer