IT'S a ground rule for any professional...never allow beauty to distort the truth.
But like many high-minded principles despite their worthiness', it's frequently difficult to put them into practice.
And never more difficult than when applied to cars. Without a shadow of doubt, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of the most gorgeous looking saloons on the road...maybe the ultimate beauty in a class not renown for sensational visual appeal.
After all, a four door family five-seater is a workhorse rather than a show pony.
Recently freshened, but happily little altered externally the Giulia range sets out its stall at the C-Class Mercedes, BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4. And the Veloce version we have been driving aims to provide luxury alongside punchy performance.
Powered by a petrol two litre, it pumps out no less than 276 bhp, making it the second most powerful Giulia on sale. Only the race-bred Quadrifoglio with 503 bhp beats it for muscle.
With a price tag of just over Â£42,000 it packs in all the trinkets, bells and whistles you'd expect in an executive express, such as leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlights, touchscreen entertainment centre, sat nav, Bluetooth, and dark tint alloy wheels.
No manual gearbox is available, but the eight speed automatic system is a joy to use. It comes with rather obvious metal steering wheel paddles which are fun to tap and offer a bit more driver involvement.
Not that the Alfa is short of character or driver engagement. It's one of those cars that thrive on being driven hard. Its handling is responsive and rewarding with an excellent ride which manages to suppress poor surfaces and yet remain composed as the cornering forces rise.
The traditional rear wheel drive layout and even weight distribution aid both balance and handling.
Adhesion is impressive and the steering feeds back constant information to the helm - a treat for keen drivers.
The four cylinder two litre engine remains refined until high revs when a certain harshness creeps into the note. With acceleration to 62mph in under six seconds, the Veloce is no slouch. It tops out at 149mph.
A ‘DNA' control gives the driver an option of Dynamic, Normal or Advanced Efficiency modes. Certainly, the dynamic setting pays dividends in speeding up the response of the engine and the change points for the transmission.
Despite a fairly small, modern engine, fuel consumption isn't as frugal as you might hope. We didn't manage to equal the combined average of 32.8mpg during the test - around 28mpg proved to be the normal during some enjoyable but spirited cross country trips.
The cabin is smart and decently appointed. Ample room in the front with good shoulder space. Room for rear seat passengers isn't quite so generous, especially in the legroom department. The conventional rear boot holds 480 litres of luggage - about average for the class.