Alfa Romeo Giulia

JTDM-2 Super

Alfa Romeo Giulia, front
Alfa Romeo Giulia, 2017, side
Alfa Romeo Giulia, front
Alfa Romeo Giulia, 2017, side 2
Alfa Romeo Giulia, 2017, side 3
Alfa Romeo Giulia, rear
Alfa Romeo Giulia, rear
Alfa Romeo Giulia, rear
Alfa Romeo Giulia, interior
Alfa Romeo Giulia, interior

WE'VE all know that kerb appeal can win over a potential car buyer.

But this is something much stronger. It's recognition of a rare beauty in a vehicle that comes along so infrequently...and when it does, it's nearly always possessed by some unaffordable supercar like a Ferrari or a Bugatti.

Not this time. I've just completed testing the latest saloon from Alfa Romeo, the nostalgically named Giulia, a four-door £30,000-plus family car that hasn't got a bodyline or a single crease out of place despite having practical dimensions that allow four or maybe five to travel in comfort with their luggage.

It's one of those cars that after parking and getting out, you just have to steal a last glimpse.

It's an important model for Alfa, owned by the Fiat Chrysler group because it's a market dominated by Audi with the A4, BMW's 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class, all excellent cars that appeal strongly to the corporate sector, an area that's somehow evaded charismatic Alfa.

I sampled the 2.2-litre turbo diesel 180 Super, a version that blends punchy performance with the sort of economy high mileage business users demand.

Priced at just under £33,000, it presents an attractive package with plenty of goodies on board such as sat-nav, eight speaker audio system, leather and cloth upholstery, alloys and parking sensors. Power is from a generally smooth 178bhp four cylinder turbo diesel giving it better than class-average acceleration and plenty of high gear grunt.

Figures of 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds and a max of 143mph illustrate that this is an executive saloon with enough power to back up its sleek sporty shape. An eight-speed automatic gearbox complete with steering wheel paddles completes the equation which is aimed at blending pace with ease of driving - a formula that should appeal to business buyers.

It immediately feels like a driver's car, from the first moment when you activate the engine from the steering wheel positioned starter button. The diesel clatter mars things a tad, but then the going smoothes out and there's ample urge for swift overtaking.

The car was fitted with optional 8J front alloys and 9J ones on the rear (price £750), so it was unsurprising that it stuck leach-like to the road. The rear drive design further complements the sporty handling and roadholding.

Passenger space is sufficient rather than over-generous with plenty of legroom up front but a bit less generous for those in the back. Finish is good and the switchgear is well positioned and easy to use. An 8.8 inch colour screen dominates the fascia. Cubby space for oddments a limited with a small central box and narrow door pockets.

Boot space is about average for the class, but it's fairly shallow so some objects could be difficult to accommodate. The rear seats split and fold 60-40.

Fiat tends to produce commendably economical engines, and that in the Giulia is no exception. With emissions of just 109g/km it is one of the most frugal models in its sector. My average of 48mpg during the test drive was exceptional for such a spirited saloon.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo Giulia JTDM-2 Super

Price: £32,990

Mechanical:178bhp, 2,198cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 143mph

0-62mph: 7.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 77.3

Insurance Group: 26

C02 emissions: 109g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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