Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce review: hands-on
The sports sedan that tugs at the heartstrings
When you think of luxury sedans, chances are your mind jumps straight to Germany with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz dominating the sales in the Australian luxury segment. However, there is a good chance you have forgotten about the little country to Germany's south – unless you're looking to spend well into the six figures, that is.
Italian-born Alfa Romeo has been looking to make a resurgence with the release of the Giulia, which looks every bit as elegant as its rivals to the north. But looks aren't everything for die-hard automotive fans, who historically followed their heart and purchased an Alfa, despite a combination of practicality flaws and reliability issues.
Could the Giulia be the car that makes Alfa Romeo a key player in the executive vehicle market? We hopped into the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce, which we were lucky enough to get in the stunning, unique-to-the-model "Misano Blue", to see what the Italian company has offered up to consumers.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce price: $72,990 before on-road costs.
As tested price (our vehicle with all options): $77,100 before on-road costs.
What extras does the Giulia Veloce receive?
When you opt for the Veloce in the Giulia range, you get the following bolted on to the vehicle:
- Alfa Active Suspension
- 19-inch, 5-hole aluminium alloy wheels with dark finish
- Sports leather seats with six-way electric adjustment and bolstering
- Aluminium interior trim
- Sports steering wheel
- Aluminium sports pedals
- Gloss black side window surrounds
- Privacy glass on rear side and back window
What's it like inside?
I thought it was very nice and uniquely Italian.
Everything is laid out well, the infotainment screen tilts to the driver, the seats are comfortable and there's leather on almost every surface.
Interacting with the infotainment system is done via a rotary dial, typical with the majority of the Giulia's German competitors. It is fairly easy to use and the graphics on the 8.8-inch screen are clear too. You get satellite navigation, digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Although the system isn't a touchscreen, you also cop Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but these aren't as intuitive thanks to the rotary dial.
Sound from the system is sent to your cranium via a high-quality, 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system
The air conditioning vents are even Ferrari-esque and tie the whole layout together pleasingly.
We did have some issues with the dual-pane panoramic sunroof that was optioned on our Veloce press vehicle as it seemed to impinge on headroom a little bit. This is something to watch out for if you are on the taller side.
In terms of fit and finish, you would have to look hard to find faults with it.
In the back though, there isn't all that much room. Anyone in the back who is six foot or over isn't going to be overly comfortable in terms of both knee and toe room under the front seats
On the plus side though, passengers in the back get good-sized door bins, a USB charging port (which will need to be shared) and the same gimbal-style air conditioning vents.
Right at the rear, you will have access to 480 litres of boot space, which is more or less bang on average for the segment.
There is no spare tyre under the boot floor either, with a tyre repair kit taking its place.
What's it like on the road?
It's comfortable to sit and drive along in. The seats are well-bolstered and the whole interior feels very much like an Italian sports car.
There's the large start button on the steering wheel that adds to this feeling, and the electric seats make it easy to get set-up.
But the driving dynamics are really the standout of the Alfa Romeo Giulia.
It gifts you a fantastic, planted, nimble response that really does put a smile on your face. You don't need to be in the Quadrifoglio to really enjoy the Giulia, either. This is a very engaging car.
It darts quickly wherever you point it and the steering is really well weighted, providing a good amount of feedback from the surface underfoot (or tyre). The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine is almost as responsive – it gets going quickly.
If you are after numbers, the engine produces 206kW and 400Nm and will sprint to 100 km/h in a brisk 5.7 seconds. There are no less than eight gears in the gearbox it has been matched with.
One observation we made was that there was no obvious way to turn traction control off, and while there may not be many reasons to deactivate it in day-to-day driving, it is a little bit like having a driving instructor in the car with you telling you to be sensible at all times.
The Veloce comes with Alfa Active Suspension. What is it?
Alfa Active Suspension essentially takes in real-time data about the road surface you are driving on, the conditions and the general driving dynamics. It then quickly adjusts the damping characteristics of the dampers in order to achieve comfort and the best possible grip.
How safe is the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce?
Along with six airbags and a five-star ANCAP safety rating, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce comes with a range of safety features as standard across the range, including the following:
- Active cruise control
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Lane departure warning
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Reversing camera with dynamic guides
- Automatic headlights
- Automatic windscreen wipers
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
It may not be as cutting edge as the German vehicles, but with some impressive driving dynamics, this is a vehicle that really has tugged at my heartstrings. If you are in the market for a small performance sedan, check out the Giulia.
What it lacks in tech, it makes up for in character and passion.