The Alfa Romeo Giulia is the storied Italian brand's first real volley in its battle to return to the US market after years of teasing. Originally introduced in 2017 to rave reviews of its driving dynamics and well-deserved criticism of its reliability, this beautiful sedan remains one of the most intriguing offerings in the compact premium sports sedan segment.
What's New for 2018
Despite its youth, Alfa Romeo's parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is making some welcome additions to the Giulia line. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available on all trim levels, freeing owners of the woeful standard infotainment system. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking (marketed as Forward Collision Warning Plus) and a Harmon Kardon audio system are now standard on the range-topping Quadrifoglio – both items remain optional on the base and Ti trims.
New wheel options and minor packaging changes round out the rest of the updates for 2018.
Choosing Your Alfa Romeo Giulia
Alfa Romeo offers the Giulia with a choice of two powertrains, and a simple look at their outputs should be enough to tell you which you'll want. The base is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque.
This well-balanced engine can scoot the Giulia and Giulia Ti to 60 miles per hour in a brisk 5.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 149 mph. It's also significantly more potent than the equivalent four-cylinders from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. It's just as thrifty, too, returning 24 miles per gallon in the city, 33 highway, and 27 combined. Adding the optional all-wheel-drive system raises the Giulia's price $2,000 and lowers those figures to 23, 31, and 26, respectively.
For those that need a bit more velocità, there's the Giulia Quadrifoglio and its 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V6. This engine is a gem, producing 505 hp, 443 lb-ft of torque, and blessing the Quadrifoglio – Italian for four-leaf clover – to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. This engine will keep going right up to 191 mph. It also sounds like God's own pit bull under hard throttle, a vicious, enthusiastic exhaust note that bellows at every opportunity.
Unsurprisingly, that furor doesn't do well at the pumps. The Giulia Quad returns EPA estimates of 17 mpg city, 24 highway, and 20 combined (although if you drive it as Alfa intends, those figures will be far lower) and is only available with rear-wheel drive.
Both four- and six-cylinder Giulias put their power down through a rear-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Sorry purists, the only way to get a manual Giulia is to cross the pond.
The Giulia's enthusiastic powertrains are just a gateway drug to Italian driving nirvana. All Giulias feature super-fast, direct steering and firm suspensions – adaptive dampers are available on Ti models with the Sport Package and standard on the Quadrifoglio – that deliver what's arguably the nimblest handling character in the class. The Giulia is a pure joy to fling around. Brembo brakes are standard, although they're electronically controlled, so brake feel isn't great except in aggressive cases.
The Giulia and Giulia Ti share a few common option packages. A $950 Navigation Package upgrades the standard 8.8-inch infotainment screen with a dedicated navigation option (which is redundant, now that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available), while the $1,500 Driver Assist Dynamic Plus Package adds a slew of active safety systems. Look for adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and automatic high beams. The 14-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system rings up at $900, while a panoramic sunroof is a $1,350 option.
The Giulia is available in three dedicated trim levels.
Tempting though it may be, the Giulia is a driver's car and works best when optioned with sporty features rather than luxurious ones. Grab a Ti Sport with the Performance Package for under $45,000 and find a twisty road – if that doesn't appeal to you, the best recommendation we can make is to buy a Mercedes-Benz C300 instead.