Giulietta 2.0 JTDm 170bhp Lusso
wondered about that red-
tongued, green snake on the Alfa
shield? For me it represents the
serpent from the Garden of Eden.
Think about it; no hot-blooded man
is going to go for an apple, even
a big shiny red one. But a classy-
looking Italian called Giulietta, now
AND A CLASSY LOOKER the new Giulietta surely is. Starting with a front-end
carrying that symbolic cross-and-snake, shield-shaped grille, the lines flow
along heavily sculpted flanks before neatly wrapping up the coupe styling around
the Giulietta's pert tail. At first glance it's easy to miss the
rear doors, so subtly are they integrated into the profile but look close and
you'll spot their artfully disguised handles in the trailing upper corner
of the window frames.
Given that it will compete for sales against the likes of VW's Golf and Ford's
all-new Focus, it seems a sure-fire winner on looks alone. Despite giving the
distinct impression of being a three-door coupe, the Giulietta is a real-world
five-door hatch as such, it offers a strong measure of practicality
within its willowy body.
In fact, for such a striking lady the Giulietta is surprisingly cheap, especially
the 170bhp 2.0-litre JTDm turbodiesel tested here in Lusso spec and which costs
an almost disappointingly reasonable £21,650 something this sexy
should surely cost more!
you want to pay even less there are two subordinate sisters: a 105bhp 1.6 JTDm
and another, but less powerful, 2.0-litre with 140bhp. Prices for the diesel-powered
Giulietta models range from £18,400 to £22,950. For those who prefer their steeds
to drink from the unleaded pump, petrol engines come in 120, 170 and 235bhp
flavours and cost between £17,450 and £24,995.
quick: you dont need
much of a straight at all
to see 80mph on the
uphill. In normal driving
this equates to effortless
performance on all
kinds of roads, allied to
2.0-litre turbodiesel proved to be powerful, lively and smooth all the way to
its 4,500rpm red-line; a firm prod on the accelerator never failing to produce
a real shove from its 170bhp and 236lb ft (on tap from 1,500rpm and rising to
258lb ft at 1,750rpm in 'overboost'). Enough to power the Giulietta to a top
speed of close to double the legal limit (at 135mph) and romp to the benchmark
62mph from standstill in 8 seconds dead. In fact, it's deceivingly quick
you don't need much of a straight at all to see 80mph on the speedo, even powering
uphill. In normal driving this equates to effortless performance on all kinds
of roads, allied to excellent economy.
Officially, and helped by fuel-saving Start&Stop technology, the 2.0 JTDm will
return a gosh-factor 68.9mpg in the extra-urban cycle, 48.7 in the urban cycle
and 60.1mpg combined. During our week-long test we recorded a very acceptable
average consumption of 47.9mpg.
All this talk of sexy looks, power, torque and near-50mpg real-world compression
ignition (sorry, diesel) economy and we haven't even mentioned the cockpit.
Ordinary cars have interiors; Alfas have 'cockpits'.
On opening a front door, the cabin's most striking feature is the full-width
fascia with a metallic insert strip ours was the standard Magnesio
Grey but it can be had in a number of colours including brushed Aluminium, Ghiaccio
White and Alfa Red (solid or metallic). Other finishes are available as extra-cost
options and can be paired with matching gear knobs. Red leather upholstery ratcheted
up the cabin ambience on our Lusso test car. It's also roomier inside than its
coupe glasshouse suggests, with a good fist of headroom in the front.
Complementing the 'slimline' fascia treatment with its damped air vents and
red-lettered audio control panel display are bold, chrome-rimmed rotary A/C
controls, a sporty three-spoke, multifunction steering wheel (whose three matte
black spokes connect to a hard, smooth and very workable black leather rim)
and a bank of rubberised, retro-style toggle switches inspired by the Alfa 8C
Competizione. The golf-ball size gear knob silver finish; but
it's not metal fits the palm well.
The speedo and rev-counter follow the Alfa tradition of individual dials in
deep hooded binnacles and it keeps them reflection-free. White
on black, they're at their sharpest when the Giulietta's bright-white LED daytime
running lights are switched on, and are helpfully calibrated in 5mph increments
for roads where speed cameras still reign.
will also appreciate the well-padded and well-bolstered seats with ribbed and
perforated centre panels. Seat bases are longer than average and provide good
under-knee support. Generous height and reach adjustment of the wheel along
with a seat height adjuster contribute to a comfortable driving position.
clue as to what this
Alfa is all about is the
are three times larger
than those on the
speedometer. Need we
Built-in lumbar support is fairly
strong; if you want electric lumbar adjustment it will cost you another £160.
There's no left footrest but the footwell is comfortable enough and, besides,
how many sporting drivers use cruise control? A clue as to what this Alfa is
all about is the rev-counter its figures are three times larger
than those on the speedometer. Need we say more?
On the practical side, there are ample cubbyholes for oddments including a chilled
glovebox fitted with a rack for three cans (or small bottles) along with centre
console cup-holders and a useful lidded bin on the fascia where the SatNav would
go if you paid the extra £1,230. There's also a small storage section in the
padded drop-down centre armrest. If you have kids, the seat belt reminder warning
above the auto-dimming rear-view mirror will came in handy. Throw in efficient
dual-zone heating and cooling and sitting in the front of the Giulietta is somewhere
you'd be happy spending a lot of your time.
And sitting in the back is no hardship, either. Unlike some sporty coupe-styled
five-door hatchbacks, the Giulietta's rear seats serve up decent room and comfort
and so long as you're under 5' 11", rear headroom isn't compromised
by the sloping roof although taller drivers will find they could do with a tad
more under-thigh support. Helped by a wide padded centre rear armrest (with
pop-out cup-holders and built-in storage tray) and lots of foot room, four near-six-footers
can travel together without problems.
Adding to the relaxed ambience is the Giulietta's quiet and refined demeanour
at speed; enough to shrink the longest journeys. And good news for driver visibility
all three rear headrests slide down low over the seatbacks when
not in use.
With the split/fold 60:40 back seats in use, the regular-shaped 350-litre boot
is equipped with a bag hook, power socket and recesses to store bottles
if that's what you want to stash there. Plus, there's a load-through hatch.
The seatbacks fold but the resulting load floor is not fully flat
if you regularly need more cargo room there's always Alfa's own 159 Sportwagon.
the record, Lusso spec gets you cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate
control, radio with CD/MP3 player, Blue&Me hands-free system with voice recognition
and media player with USB port, sports dials, auto-dimming rear-view mirror,
auto lights and wipers, four electric one-shot windows, electrically operated
and heated door mirrors, power-fold mirrors (on demand), height adjustable front
seats, LED daytime running lights, fog lights, six airbags including window,
DNA, VDC (Alfa's ESP system), Q2 electronic limited-slip differential, Hill
Holder, Start&Stop and double-spoke alloys.
to the point, how does she go? Alfas are traditionally about three things: performance,
handling and ride. The first surprise is that the diesel unit doesn't weight-up
the front-end to the detriment of the handling or ride quality, which is impressively
supple, soaking up the bumps and up there with the class leaders.
When you up the tempo,
the grip keeps pace.
Plus the Giulietta has a
to stick to her line...
The new chassis features MacPherson struts up front and an aluminium multilink
independent rear suspension (Turismo and Lusso models have softer spring and
damper settings than the more sporty Veloce and Cloverleaf versions).
Which brings us to the Giulietta's DNA. The switchable DNA multi-mode drive
system (first seen on the MiTo) allows the driver to choose between Dynamic,
Normal and All-weather handling modes three distinct programmes
that alter damper and differential settings, throttle response, steering effort
and modify the intervention threshold for the VDC (Alfa's electronic stability
control), all on the fly. Most of the time it's fine left in Normal, where you'll
enjoy smooth, well-composed but still entertaining progress with a good balance
between comfort and control. When you need a shot of adrenaline, flick the DNA
switch just ahead of the short gear lever to Dynamic.
Many an otherwise competent sports car is let down by its steering. Not so the
Giulietta. It's quick and direct and steers crisply via an electrically-assisted
rack. There's a noticeable step-up in engine response in Dynamic; mark the extra
aggression down to the additional 22lb ft of torque on tap at 1,750rpm in 'overboost'.
However, the combination of an agile chassis, well controlled body roll and
keen steering means the Giulietta tracks satisfyingly through bends in any of
the three driving modes and when you up the tempo, the grip keeps
pace. Plus the lady has a stubborn determination, once committed, to stick to
The Giulietta puts her power down through the front wheels but thanks to the
standard-fit Q2 electronic differential there's an impressive amount of traction.
All of which, underscored by a six-speed gearbox with a swift and accurate change
action and strong brakes albeit a tad sharp at city speeds until
you're used to them makes this temptress engaging company on testing
B-roads. Forget all those pointless surveys that tell you which celeb is the
'most desirable passenger' the only company you really need answers
to the name 'Giulietta'!
This is an easy one to sum up. Not only does the glam Giulietta drive well but
it's also a serious contender for your money against its rivals. For a family
car it's a breath of fresh air, with a nicely-judged balance between sportiness
and comfort that will have you driving more miles than you need to because you'll
want to. Tempted? MotorBar
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDm 170bhp Lusso 170bhp | £21,650
Maximum speed: 135mph | 0-62mph: 8 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 47.9mpg
Power: 170bhp | Torque: 258lb ft | CO2 124g/km