The long wait is over for petrolheads and Italian car fans alike; Alfa Romeo has finally unveiled its 159 saloon successor. This is the new Alfa Romeo Giulia. The striking new BMW 3 Series rival gets a scorching 503bhp Quadrifoglio variant that hits 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds, and is due to go on sale at the start of 2016.
The widely expected name ‘Giulia’ was finally confirmed by leaked images taken on a camera phone, but this is the first time we’ve seen the new Alfa Romeo Guilia from all angles in official pics. The bold design is a world away from the angular 159, and signifies Alfa’s attempt to move the saloon further away from family saloon rivals and firmly into compact exec territory.
Alfa Romeo Giulia: exterior styling
Gone is the 159’s intricate headlamp design, replaced by large LED units that sweep around to the wheelarches. The trademark Alfa Romeo ‘Treofoil’ V-shaped central grille remains, but underneath are purposeful air intakes and a prominent lip spoiler marking out this as the hot ‘QV’ model in the range.
The long, kinked bonnet sweeps back to a steeply raked windscreen, while the side profile reveals a rounded window design similar to that on the Alfa Romeo 8C coupe. This Quadrifoglio variant also gets butch side sills, but it’s not clear yet whether the more humdrum models in the range will get these styling traits.
There’s more than a hint of both the Infiniti Q50 and Jaguar XE in the coupe-like rear three-quarter profile to our eyes, but Alfa has made the car its own with sweeping LED rear lenses and a neat boot spoiler. This Cloverleaf model sports racy quad tailpipes with a gloss black surround, hinting at the performance from the Ferrari-derived powertrain underneath.
Alfa Romeo Giulia QV: Ferrari engine?
Yes, Alfa has turned to the Prancing Horse for its flagship engine. It’s a 3.0-litre V6 Bi-turbo petrol unit, pumping out an astonishing 503bhp. That’s a full 78bhp more than the BMW M3, and right up with the Mercedes-AMG C63 S. It is also available with either rear or four-wheel drive, a radical departure from the front-wheel drive 156 and 159. The QV is capable of 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds, faster than almost all of its main rivals.
Alfa claims 50/50 weight distribution, and extensive use of lightweight materials throughout including aluminium for the wings, doors and rear crossmemeber, carbon-fibre for the bonnet and roof and use of composites. Despite the focus on lightness, the firm is claiming best-in-class torsional rigidity. Sophisticated multi-link rear suspension and double-wishbone front suspension is used for every variant of the Giulia. It’s claimed that the new car offers 3hp per kilo, and we can expect even the top variants to weight around 1,500kg.
Adaptive dampers and an updated version of the firm’s ‘DNA’ variable driving system are also available on the Quadrifoglio, but it’s not yet clear whether these will debut on entry-level models.
The Quadrifoglio also debuts performance tech that’s new to Alfa, including Torque Vectoring, an electromechanical Integrated Brake System and an Active Aero splitter that manages downforce for better high-speed stability.
Alfa’s CEO Harald Wester has explained to Auto Express that great efforts have been made to differentiate the Giulia from the dominant German (and now British) compact executive crowd. “Premium brands now offer the same thing. They are interchangeable. If you exaggerate you could say they are boring. New Alfa will put the driver back at the centre. Alfa will once again become the perfect fusion of man and machine. Putting the driver at centre stage means they are at the heart of the brand.”
Alfa Romeo Giulia: official video
Alfa Romeo Giulia: interior design
The interior is also markedly different from that found in the current Giulietta or Mito range. Familiar Alfa details remain in the cowled instrument dials and chrome ringed ventilation controls, but the swooping dash line and large central screen is all new. Sporty features such as carbon-fibre trim throughout and a push-button engine start mark it out from small executive rivals. The tall centre console is a result of its rear-wheel drive layout.
What do you think of Alfa’s new Giulia? Can it take on the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE? Let us know in the comments section below…