The 2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Is Better Than You Think

The 2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Is Better Than You Think

Get those Alfa Romeo reliability jokes out of your system. I’m here to tell you they aren’t needed here. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is very good. And in the sport sedan segment — a segment that seems to get smaller every few years — the Giulia is a standout offering from a brand that gets too much flack.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison | First Drive

Disclaimer: Alfa offered me the Giulia on a whim after I contacted them for information about a story I was working on. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this thing.

What Is It?

The Giulia is one of three cars the brand sells here in the U.S. Well four if you count the 33 Stradale but it’s ultra exclusive and already sold out. The other two are the Stelvio and Tonale. The Giulia is also the only sedan Alfa sells in the U.S. It’s been on sale largely unchanged since its 2016 introduction. A recent refresh has given the Giulia a slightly redesigned front fascia; the Giulia you see here is the model available right before the refresh was announced.

Photo: Lawrence Hodge/Jalopnik

Only two engines are offered on the Giulia. If you don’t choose the fire breathing 505 horsepower 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 in the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the only engine available is a 2.0-liter 280 hp turbocharged I4. That engine gets mated to an eight speed automatic.

2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Luzzo

2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia LuzzoPhoto: Lawrence Hodge/Jalopnik

The one I borrowed is the Giulia Luzzo Edition; that’s just fancy Italian for Luxury Edition. Starting from the $45,615 Giulia Ti, an extra $3,200 gets you Crema Cannelloni Design Leather-Trimmed Seats, leather trim on the upper dash, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, and bright silver trim around the front grille, on the exhaust tips, window moldings and covering the 19-inch five spoke wheels with red brake calipers. With another $400 for the Alfa Rosso exterior color, this Giulia rings in at $54,030.

See also  In Singapore, a Toyota Camry Hybrid costs $183,000 — here's why

A Dynamic Chassis With Superb Tuning

Did BMW or Lotus let Alfa Romeo borrow some of their engineers? Because this thing is fantastic to drive. Turn in is excellent. Throw it into a corner and it’s like the Giulia is saying “Yea don’t even worry about it, I got this.” Body roll is non-existent and the Giulia stays planted through any curve you throw it into. With handling this exceptional, you’d think the Giulia’s ride would be stiff or rough. Surprisingly its double wishbone setup manages to deliver a comfortable ride. Braking is sport car-like with Brembo four-piston calipers that bring the car down from speed with ease. One of the reasons the Giulia is so responsive, Alfa says, is its class-exclusive carbon fiber driveshaft which helps keep weight down and improves engine response.

Speaking of the engine, that was another surprise. The 2.0-liter turbo I4 used in the Giulia is also used in everything from the new Alfa Romeo Tonale/Dodge Hornet to five different Jeep models around the world, including the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee 4xe models. So my hopes weren’t high on the performance front. But the engine surprisingly delivered. The turbo seems as if it’s always on boost so lag is nearly non-existent. And with 306 lb-ft of torque, it pulls hard and pulls away from other cars with ease.

The Only Downside

2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Luzzo Interior

2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Photo: Lawrence Hodge/Jalopnik

The only knock about the Giulia that I didn’t care for was the interior. It’s not a bad looking interior and material quality was top notch. But this was not an interior designed with Americans in mind. I’m a big guy, 6 ‘0 tall and just over 260 lbs and this is not an interior I could sit in for long periods on something like a road trip.

See also  Small Plane Passengers Survive Fiery Crash Landing Onto Interstate Highway

2023 Alfa Romeo Luzzo

2023 Alfa Romeo LuzzoPhoto: Lawrence Hodge/Jalopnik

The steering angle was awkward: adjust the steering wheel a bit higher, and it hides some parts of the gauges; move the seat down….I couldn’t as it was already at its lowest. Move the steering wheel down and it’s nearly rubbing my knees. Another weird part about the interior was the infotainment screen. The plastic that covered it had a dark tint on it so in direct sunlight it was nearly useless.

Front legroom is decent at 42.4-inches, but an intrusive transmission tunnel makes that seem smaller. Rear seat legroom is as tight as a cummerbund around a big bellied man in a tux at 35.1-inches. This is all made worse by small door openings and doors that don’t seem to swing open wide enough for entry and exit.

Verdict

What you have here is one of the best kept sport sedan secrets on the market. It looks fantastic, is from a brand that you might not see very often, and doesn’t come across like it’s trying too hard or being pretentious like some German offerings. The downside is that $50,000+ price puts it right in line with those very German offerings, some of which are genuinely better. The used market is another factor. Used Giulias are absurdly cheap with low miles, even ones that are just a year old. New ones can be had with steep discounts though.

But even if you go for a new one, don’t let any preconceived notions about Alfa Romeo stop you from driving a Giulia. You won’t regret it.

See also  This Airline Is Weighing Passengers Before International Flights

2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Lusso RWD *Ltd Avail* Specs

Engine type

Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4

Transmission/Drive

Automatic w/OD