The Car Connection Alfa Romeo Giulia Overview
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a compact luxury sedan that takes on established rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Cadillac.
Giulia is an old name for Alfa Romeo, reaching all the way back into the 1960s. The current model is a four-door sedan and the first meaningful step for the automaker to return to the U.S.
For 2021, Alfa Romeo simplifies the Giulia’s lineup to four models: Sprint, Ti, Ti Sport, and Quadrifoglio. The brand also juggles equipment by model, turns old models into packages, and changes what safety features are available in which packages.
MORE: Read our 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia review
The Giulia launched as the high-performance Quadrifoglio model, which is a competitor for the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63. With a Ferrari-derived twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 under the hood, the Quadrifoglio makes 505 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes standard with start/stop technology and cylinder deactivation. Alfa Romeo says the engine will vault the car from 0-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 191 mph.
All other versions are powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 making 280 hp. An 8-speed automatic is the only transmission in all models. All-wheel drive is optional with the turbo-4.
When it was released, Alfa Romeo claimed the Quadrifoglio offered best-in-class torsional rigidity and a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio of 7 pounds per horsepower. Several weight-savings measures are applied to arrive at that number. Carbon fiber is used for the driveshaft, hood, and roof, while the doors, fenders, front and rear subframes, mirrors, and suspension are aluminum components. An aluminum composite and plastic crossmember sheds pounds at the rear, while optional carbon-ceramic brakes weigh half as much as the standard cast-iron rotors and save unsprung weight at all four corners. Cast-iron brakes are also offered.
All Giulia models feature a double-wishbone front suspension and a multi-link independent rear suspension. The Alfa DNA Pro drive-mode selector is standard, offering Advanced Efficiency, Natural, and Dynamic modes that adjust the brake and steering feel, as well as the engine, transmission, and throttle response. The Quadrifoglio also gets a Race mode.
The Giulia’s design features a long wheelbase with short overhangs. The familiar Alfa Romeo trefoil grille is front and center, flanked by adaptive bi-xenon headlights. A carbon-fiber front active aero splitter increases high-speed downforce by as much as 220 pounds. The rear fenders have powerful haunches that are reminiscent of the E90-generation (2008-2013) BMW M3. The coefficient of drag is a fairly slippery 0.32.
Inside, the Quadriglio has aggressively bolstered Alcantara sport seats and a small steering wheel that is home to the start button and other controls. The instrument cluster has a 7.0-inch driver information display, and the dash features an 8.8-inch touchscreen for infotainment, as well as real-time performance data and telemetry. The center console houses a BMW iDrive-style control knob. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility were made optional for 2018.
The Giulia comes standard with automatic emergency braking, which was added for 2020. Also new for 2020 as options were active lane control, blind-spot monitors with steering assist, cruise control that adjusts the speed when the speed limit changes, a driver-attention monitor, and traffic sign recognition. Also available are adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane-departure warnings, active lane control, regular blind-spot monitors with rear cross-path detection, front and rear park assist, and automatic high beams.
The Giulia received no significant changes for the 2019 model year, but for 2020 it got the aforementioned safety features plus improved interior materials and a new 8.8-inch infotainment system that acts quicker, is less complicated, and includes a touchscreen.