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2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia was new.


Performance: 9.5

Drivers looking for a luxury small car that's thrilling to drive should definitely consider the all-new 2017 Alfa Rome Giulia. Even the base model is quick, with lithe handling to match. True performance seekers will find the Giulia Quadrifoglio – with its twin-turbocharged V6 – shockingly quick, and its active suspension and Brembo brakes make it a great car to take on the track.

  • "Best of all, it is a tidy and solid sport sedan that's relaxed in its ride, yet firm enough to give a truly spirited driving experience." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In any version, the Giulia is a blast to drive, a performance-focused sedan that really delivers on the sports sedan idea." -- Cars.com
  • "The new Giulia offers a genuinely great drive. And, perhaps equally importantly as the brand strives to re-establish itself, this truly is a car with character. You feel it as soon as you turn the wheel." -- CNET

Acceleration and Power

A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 280 horsepower paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard in the base 2017 Giulia and Giulia Ti models. Fuel economy estimates for the Giulia are not yet available.

Propelling the high-performance Giulia Quadrifoglio is a 505-horsepower twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 along with an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to Alfa Romeo, the Giulia Quadrifoglio can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and it has a top speed of 191 mph.

The base four-cylinder engine is one of the most powerful standard engines in the class. It delivers brisk acceleration and an excellent sound. The Quadrifoglio's V6 makes the Giulia even quicker, beating some supercars around the Nurburgring. Car enthusiasts may be disappointed that there's not a manual transmission available, but the eight-speed automatic makes such immediate shifts to deliver the right amount of power, it should satisfy you. If you so desire, you can use the optional paddle shifters to shift at your own pace.

  • "Even after a drive in the Quadrifoglio, the 2.0-liter radiates spirit. While Alfa's engine lacks the smooth and rev-happy character of the four-cylinder turbos from Audi or BMW, this one sounds grittier and angrier and provides good thrust." -- Car and Driver
  • "Fire up the raucous V-6, which has been breathed on by Ferrari engineers, according to Alfa execs, and hang on - zero-to-60 mph happens in 3.8 loud, blurry seconds, with a top speed of 191 mph. A standard, showroom-stock Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio actually set the fastest four-door production sedan lap time at the famed Nurburgring race track in Germany – beating dedicated two-seat sports cars like the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera." -- Cars.com
  • "Adding to the drama is the superb 8-speed; in manual mode, shifts crack off in the air and smack your backside. The transmission feels nearly as quick as a dual-clutch unit, and the giant paddles behind the wheel feel so good to your fingertips you'll never want to leave the shifter in automatic mode. The car injects its Alfa Romeo sports/racing heritage straight to the core of your cerebellum." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Driving the Giulia feels like driving a sports car thanks to its exceptionally tight steering, lithe handling, and forceful brakes. You should be aware that it doesn't necessarily settle down much in normal driving. You'll sacrifice some comfort for thrills, too, so if you want a comfortable cruiser, look elsewhere. The BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 better balance comfort and agility.

However, few cars in the class have steering as sharp as the Giulia. In fact, it's so out of the ordinary, you'll need to pay attention when just cruising along. Even slight turns of the steering wheel translate into big movements on the road. It's a similar story with the brakes. They deliver immense stopping power to let you keep your foot on the accelerator longer around twisty roads. This is less than ideal during daily driving, however, as small taps on the brakes will feel like hard slams in other cars.

The base Giulia and Ti trims come standard with rear-wheel drive, Brembo brakes, and the Alfa DNA Drive Selector, which adjusts throttle and braking response, along with steering effort. You can choose from three modes, Dynamic, Natural, or Advanced Efficiency. You can also get all-wheel drive with both models. The Giulia Quadrifoglio gets high-performance Brembo brakes, Pirelli tires, active suspension, and the Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector, which adds race mode to the standard three. If you need even more stopping power, the Quadrifoglio is available with carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes.

  • "Primary control comes from the quickest steering I've ever felt in a sedan. The 11-to-one ratio makes it extremely responsive and it's highly precise. This car turns into a corner like a mid-engine supercar. The tightest hairpin I could find only required 180 degrees of steering, meaning you never have to take your hands off the wheel." -- Motor Trend
  • "It's also a lot of fun to drive, too, with outstanding handling due in part to its perfect 50/50 weight distribution. This gives the Giulia a poise and neutrality that you can feel – whether you're on the track or on the street, it's easy to toss the car around on twisty roads or just make some rapid lane changes with zero drama or discomfort." -- Cars.com
  • "Brakes are extremely potent but touchy. You'll need practice before you're easing into them without banging the nose down. Again, though, this a racy characteristic, more track car than road car. For sure, stopping power is abundant; it's just a matter of adjusting to the unique feel in modulation. The optional carbon ceramic brakes are grabbier still." -- Automobile Magazine

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