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Alfa Romeo Giulia First Look

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/25/2015 Richard Truesdell, Manufacturer, Jim Gleason

A Ferrari-inspired 3.0-liter, twin turbo six-cylinder producing 503 horsepower. If that doesn’t convince you that Alfa Romeo’s just-released Giulia sedan in top-spec, M3-crushing Quadrifoglio trim isn’t a serious contender, you might want to check your pulse. Oh, and the Giulia will hit 60 in just 3.9 seconds.

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After years of speculation, Alfa Romeo finally dropped the curtain on its new sedan to much fanfare at the brand-new Alfa Romeo museum outside of Milan. The all-new Giulia represents the first step in a complete overhaul of the brand in an effort to take on premium German rivals such as BMW, Mercedes, and Audi that have long since surpassed the Italian automaker in sales. The Giulia also represents the first mainstream Alfa Romeo model to be sold in the North American market since the brand left in the mid-1990s.

Although we only got a preview of the M3-fighting RWD Quadrifoglio version, Alfa plans to release a whole range of Giulias starting with a base model that will feature a 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbo engine and optional AWD. Four-cylinder and six-cylinder diesel variants will also be made, but it’s not clear these models will come to American shores.

Mechanically, the Giulia ticks off all the right boxes for the enthusiast driver. Alfa promises the car will have a perfect 50/50 weight distribution for neutral handling at the limit. To keep weight in check, the car will feature lightweight materials. Aluminum was used extensively in the engine, brakes, suspension, and body components such as the doors and wings. Meanwhile, the propeller shaft, hood, and roof are all made out of carbon fiber. The rumor at the reveal was that the car could weigh as little as 3,300 pounds. With powerful engines such as the range-topping 503-hp, twin-turbo six-cylinder, Alfa promises best-in-class power-to-weight ratios.

The car will feature other innovations such as a unique double wishbone suspension up front for optimized road feel and a steering rack that promises to be the quickest in its class. Optional carbon-ceramic brakes will be available, as well. In an effort to increase high-speed stability, the car produces downforce with an active splitter up front and a massive diffuser out the rear. It certainly looks the part.

Inside the car, there’s a clear focus on prioritizing the driver. The fat steering wheel is “F1-inspired” with a large red starter button. The console features a simplified driver input knob known as Alfa DNA where the driver can select a variety of driving modes, with Race the most aggressive setting.

With a claimed longest wheelbase in its class but a compact body, the Giulia features short overhangs resulting in an aggressive profile. Large rear haunches give the car a Maserati-like presence, which is no bad thing. Although the general proportions are spot-on, the large plastic intakes with fussy detailing in the front lower bumper leave us feeling a bit conflicted on the overall look.

Alfa Romeo Giulia First Look

When FiatChrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne took the stage to introduce the sedan to the press, he made it clear that this is just the beginning of a complete rebirth of the Alfa Romeo brand, a rebirth that will spawn seven new models over the next three years and could boost worldwide sales from 68,000 in 2014 to more than 400,000, with 150,000 of those coming from the North American market. An overly ambitious plan? Only time will tell.

According to Marchionne, the Giulia represents a new way forward for Alfa Romeo. Created by a skunkworks team, the project was shrouded in secrecy during its two years of development. “For such a revolutionary project, we needed the team to think outside the box, to start with a clean sheet of paper, unobstructed by existing rules and structures,” Marchionne said. “The Giulia represents the beginning of the rebuilding of that brand with its original DNA, with those elements that define its genetic code.”

Although we walked away from this preview of the Giulia impressed, the question here is how much of its cutting-edge technology and style will trickle down to the lesser non-Quadrifoglio variants, as those will be the volume-sellers. For American buyers who have lost touch with the Alfa Romeo brand, the Giulia will need to be impressive in all trim levels, and that is no easy task.

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