IT'S always nice to be able to own a car that stands out from the crowd when you leave it in a busy car park.
And few stand out more than Alfa Romeo's Giulia, particularly if you opt for the more sporty, high performance Veloce version.
It's the sort of car you buy if you want to get away from the mainstream manufacturers and make a statement - telling everyone you don't run with the herd.
It's sleek, it's sporty and it boasts the kind of performance to satisfy the most demanding of drivers.
With its clean cut muscular lines, long bonnet, swept back headlights and instantly recognisable shield-shaped Alfa grille with the traditional offset number plate this Italian stallion is designed to turn heads.
The range starts with a 200bhp model but the Veloce - the word means fast or rapid in Italian - boasts a 280bhp, 2.0-litre petrol engine giving it a top speed just short of 150 miles per hour and the ability to sprint to 62mph in a very impressive 5.7 seconds.
And being a car with rear wheel drive - unlike its stable mate the Alfa Romeo Giulietta - it's a car whose handling will really appeal to purists.
Inside the cabin the Giulia has the sort of Italian flair you would expect from this manufacturer.
Superb high backed leather seats with the Alfa crest embossed in the headrests, aluminium racing-style pedals, aluminium paddles behind the steering wheel for manual gear changes and - in the case of the car driven here - a leather covered dashboard for an additional £795.
There's a central display screen operated via a centre console dial which gives you a wide choice of onboard features as well as displaying the satellite navigation system and picture from the reversing camera.
Both front seats are electrically adjustable and heated while the heated steering wheel houses the racing car style starter button. Push it and there's a superb sporting rasp from the twin exhausts at the rear.
But before moving off you have the option of selecting one of three driving modes on a rotary dial; eco, normal or dynamic. And on the Giulia, unlike on some cars, there's a dramatic difference between all three.
For everyday use normal is ideal but if you are happy to potter along at a slightly more relaxed pace some days eco gives you the added benefit of a coasting feature when you lift off the accelerator to help improve the economy.
On the other hand if you want raw performance moving the dial to dynamic sees the Giulia grow horns as it hangs on to the revs longer in each of the first seven gears in the eight-speed automatic gearbox giving you blistering acceleration.
But even at high speed the Giulia delivers the sort of handling and grip you would expect of an Alfa and the steering is pin sharp and positive.
Alfa Romeo claim average fuel consumption of 46.3 but over a week's motoring mine was just over 30mpg, which is still pretty good for a performance car like this.