First of all, Giulia is pronounced like Julia. Okay? Okay.
A quick Google search for the most beautiful cars in the world won’t leave you hard-pressed to find the Alfa Romeo Giulia in the published lists. And quite frankly, I couldn’t agree more. It’s up there, along with names like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Jaguar because that’s what this Italian car aims to do when FCA decided to revive the nameplate in 2015 – to shake the luxury compact sedan segment that’s currently reigned by the 3 Series, C-Class, A4, and XE.
To be quite honest, I was equally nervous and elated when Petromax Enterprise, the new importer of Alfa Romeo cars in the Philippines, has reached out to us to review the Giulia. The feeling’s like when a friend has set you up with a hot girl – it’s hard to say yes because rejection is a bitch but at the same time, saying no would be the most foolish thing to do.
Of course, I said yes, and I’m so glad I did. Here’s our full review of the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia in its Super trim.
The Giulia isn’t regarded to be one of the most beautiful cars in the world for nothing. It has a certain balance to its design that could cater to the tastes of luxury car buyers. It’s not too flashy but it’s no pushover either. Even better, the iconic Alfa Romeo red color of the demo unit is a sight to behold – if the Scudetto shield isn’t already a head turner for you. The latter is probably one of the most animated grilles in automotive history, and I meant that in a positive way.
In profile, the Giulia has simple yet effective lines that exude class more than sportiness, reinforced by touches of chrome-outlined windows. The Giulia also looks like a fast car even in a standstill, primarily because of its long hood, ridiculously low 100mm ground clearance (even lower than the Nissan GT-R), and the sloping roofline that connects smoothly to the trunk for a fastback appeal. The rear overhangs may look long, but it’s functional as it is aesthetic.
Alfa Romeo didn’t even bother adding dual exhaust tips because that’s what this car is – a standout without even trying. If there’s any qualm, it would be with the long front doors that are kind of positioned oddly; ingress and egress from the driver’s seat would need a bit of an effort.
Of note, the demo unit here might show halogen daytime running lights, but the Philippine-spec Giulia would come in with LED DRLs, LED foglights, and bi-xenon projector headlamps, which are a perfect match to the triangular LED taillights at the back. It also sits on 19s, but the PH-spec would come in with 17-inch 10-spoke alloys. The 19-inchers are available as an option.
The exterior’s balance and sultry curves are paired nicely with the Giulia’s flowing lines inside the cabin, with a few hints of classic Alfa-isms like the hooded analog gauges and the push start ignition found on the steering wheel. You’ll also love the brushed aluminum accents that populate the interior. The soft-touch plastics might tick the picky buyer, though, mostly found in the center console around the drive controls and the familiar gear lever shifter.
I absolutely love the Giulia’s driving position; it’s like a GT car – legs are stretched and the steering wheel is positioned in any way you wish. It makes sitting in the car pretty comfortable even in long hours while the bolsters of the fine leather-clad seats would make you want to attack corners without hesitation, which is the very thing that makes this car one of the best in its class (more on this later). The steering wheel is also wrapped with a soft cowhide for ultimate haptic pleasure. Although, the top of the steering wheel is a bit thin for my hands, but that’s just me.
Space at the rear is more than enough for someone standing 5’6” and below, but taller ones would feel a bit iffy because of the low headroom. Three passengers are also possible but the one in the middle would need to make do with a flat seat and a tall transmission tunnel in the middle. Coziness isn’t compromised, though, as rear air-conditioning vents are standard and NVH isolation is superb at all times. Trunk space is generous and can be maximized by folding the rear backrests.
With its class and price point, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is tech-laden but with a few quirks. Everything’s pretty automatic and power-adjustable, which includes the driver and front passenger seats with memory function. I also like the way the 6.8-inch display infotainment is integrated onto the dashboard, although I wish it could have been bigger so there would be less empty black space around it. The demo unit doesn’t have a parking camera but it does come standard in the PH-spec when you buy one.
As to its quirks, the Giulia has electronic parking brakes but it doesn’t have brake hold, which I think is a missed opportunity. The knob control for the infotainment system is a tad flimsy but it has good feedback and isn’t really hard to familiarize with, while the auto start/stop system isn’t discreet, so you’ll probably resolve to not using it anyway. Lastly, the multi-information display between the gauge clusters are also bright and unaffected by direct sunlight, but the icons clutter the display a bit, but I do love the cursive Alfa Romeo badge embedded on it. So classy.
For smartphone pairing, it’s seamless and quite fast via either Bluetooth and USB, plus handsfree calls are loud and clear. The high-fidelity speakers make listening to my favorite music a pleasurable thing to do.
The Giulia is pretty much loaded with active and passive safety features. It does come with autonomous braking with adjustable sensitivity and pedestrian detection, plus there’s a lane keep assist system. A wide array of airbags surround the passengers, while trivial things like ABS with EBD, traction control, tire pressure monitoring, seatbelt reminders, and ISOFIX child seat tethers come standard as well.
Driving & Handling
Before I discuss how the Alfa Romeo Giulia drives, let me disclose the parts of the car that hide underneath the surface but ultimately affects its driving performance.
The Giulia has aluminum suspensions, front and rear, while its driveshaft is carbon fiber. Its hood is made out of aluminum, too, and so are the hood and roof. This makes the car lightweight, which greatly affects its world-renowned handling. Also, you will only need two full turns for the steering wheel to go from lock-to-lock.
With these traits intact, the Giulia handled like a small car plus the steering was light at low speeds but tightened up like a pipe valve at highway runs. You’ll definitely enjoy attacking corners with it and if you choose so, you’ll appreciate its almost flat cornering. The experience was almost visceral, if not hypnotic, and the only regret I’ve had was that the demo unit didn’t come with the 503-hp V6 from the Quadrifoglio trim and the PH-spec-standard aluminum paddle shifters.
With that said, the Super trim does come with a healthy 200-hp 2.0-liter twin scroll turbocharged power plant with 330 Nm of torque, transferred to the rear wheels via an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. In Natural (normal) and Advanced Efficiency (eco) modes, it runs like a normal city car – behaved and composed, almost blending in, especially with its rather silent exhaust note.
In Dynamic (sport) mode, however, the Giulia transformed into a different animal. Gear shifts were quicker, to the point where a bit of harshness was felt when downshifting, while the engine pretty much stayed at higher RPMs to give you the needed pull whenever you need it. Driving this car in Dynamic mode made me feel like a middle-aged guy trying to pull back all the lost hair.
Halting, on the other hand, is safe and progressive, thanks to the huge Alfa Romeo disc brakes, while ride comfort is borderline sporty but could still take road imperfections with inflicting impact to the occupants.
While it’s so tempting to keep the car in Dynamic mode all the time, you really shouldn’t since the Giulia is thirsty for rotten dinosaurs in this mode. In more than 200 kilometers of driving the Italian sedan, it registered an average fuel economy of 6.6 km/L. Take note that I drove the car without minding fuel efficiency and while enjoying Dynamic mode 40% of the time.
Starts at P3,820,000, with the price going up as you add options along the way, the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super is just within the price range of its European rivals. But, if you want something different, if you want a car that’s arguably the quickest compact luxury sedan around the corners, partnered with efficient power delivery from its twin-scroll turbocharged four-pot mill, then this returning Italian nameplate is your best bet. And yes, the Germans included.