Superb driver's car

from Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Giulia, dynamic
Alfa Romeo Giulia, front quarter
Alfa Romeo Giulia, front action
Alfa Romeo Giulia, rear quarter
Alfa Romeo Giulia, side action
Alfa Romeo Giulia, rear action
Alfa Romeo Giulia, dashboard
Alfa Romeo Giulia, front seats
Alfa Romeo Giulia, rear seats

IF I had the wherewithal or could raise it anywhere in the near future I would go straight out and buy an Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce.

This seductively beautiful sports saloon is just about the best looking four door on the market, and drives even better than it looks.

It's like the first day of the holidays when you were 10, not getting up, but looking forward to going out and doing the things you want to do.

I'd be getting up early every day if I had one of these marvellous machines sitting outside the door.

It looks exciting standing at the kerb, those silken curves sweeping back to a muscular tail that's the view most of us are going to see.

This Giulia is, for me, the epitome of automotive excellence, giving the driver just about everything he could want in one marvellous package.

It's a brilliant driver's car in every way - smooth, silky, powerful and with the most addictive sound.

With 280bhp under the right foot from a refined and hugely responsive 2.0-litre petrol turbo, acceleration is kick-in-the-back stupendous. This is a car that takes careful handling if you wish to keep your licence.

Power goes to the rear wheels through a standard eight-speed automatic - there's no manual option in the UK - and the changes are swift and smooth, with none of the havering between gears that some other autos are prone to.

The engine and gearbox work together beautifully, with the engine always on song and the gearbox always in the right gear.

For those that relish ringing the changes themselves, there is also an excellent manual setting, with ‘proper' paddles attached to the steering column that don't move with the wheel.

This is like the Ferrari system and 100 per cent better than any of those with paddles attached to the wheel - which I rarely use because they're so awkward.

So we know that there is sufficient straight line performance, making overtaking a delight. It's as fast as the BMW 340i and that has 40 more bhp.

The delicious power delivery is matched by perfect 50/50 front to rear weight distribution, helping towards the most marvellous and almost unbelievable grip and road holding.

The way it tracks through bends I know well is almost uncanny and this brilliant handling in every situation puts it right at the top of the sports saloon tree.

Add in the absolutely perfect, precise and positive steering and it dominates the most difficult stretches of road better than any other car I have driven. It also felt safer doing so.

There are other cars that are quicker of course, but I would venture to say that none of them feel as focused and pure - it's so good that it seems an extension of thought.

Even the brakes are wonderfully progressive and positive, with loads of feel.

Now, with most sporting saloons that are this good to drive, I would be tempering my praise about now on the lack of comfort.

But I don't have to with the Alfa because it rides reasonably well at town speeds and much better even on poor surfaces on the open road.

The level of equipment is very good without any extras, but anyone interested in one can find that out for themselves.

FAST FACTS

Price: £38,795

Mechanical:276bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 149mph

0-62mph: 5.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 41

Insurance Group: 36

C02 emissions: 157g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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