Saturday, 5 December 2009

Alfa Romeo launches the Giulietta

Alfa Romeo has just announced a new five-door compact based on the MiTo platform - the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The new car will replace the aging Alfa 146, and this front-drive compact will debut with four engines - two 1.4-liter petrol engines (120 & 170 bhp) and two diesels (1.6-litre at 105bhp  & 2.0-litre at 170 bhp). The name Giulietta means "little Julia" in Italian and is pronounced Julie-etta, and is steeped in Alfa's history as a best-selling sedan.

The new Giulietta shares the same strong Alfa DNA as the other cars in its line-up, with its updated Alfa shield and sharing design elements with the Alfa Mito compact. The car measures 171.3 inches long on a 103.5 inch wheelbase (width is 70.9 inches and height is 57.5 inches), making it slightly longer than a Golf (which it'll compete against) and slightly taller than the out-going Alfa 146.

Sporting enthusiasts will always remember Alfa as the sports car manufacturer, and they will be pleased to know the Alfa Romeo Giulietta will be launched with a 1.8-liter four-cyclinder enine with turbocharged direct injection producing 235 horsepower, as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1750 TBi. The car may be compact, but all models will feature a host of technology such as stability control, DST (Dynamic Steering Torque) and Q2 electronic differential (splits torque between the two front wheels to maintain grip and avoid wheel slip).

Personally, I think Alfa is on to a winner with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (they probably need to work on getting the correct pronunciation out to the customers). The design for a compact car is stunning to say the least, and with the bland (IMHO) styling of the current Golf and Polo, this little number can run circles around the competition (which I felt should include the MINI and Fiat 500). I love the resigned headlight cluster (much more than the MITO) and the creases in the bonnet is a nice touch of muscle. The honeycombed grill reminds me of the previous Golf GTi, which is not a bad thing.

From the side, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta looks equally stunning with the smart crease along the shoulder-line of the car. A unique aspect will be the hidden door handles of the rear doors, which harks back to the Alfa 156. I'm glad they put it back here in the Giulietta because it's a perfect fit for the sporty character of the compact, making it look like a coupe even! And the turbine-blade rims have the killer-look, although I'm sure that you'd probably need 17" or bigger rims for the full-effect. They do look like they're really difficult to to clean though. And yes... the red Alfa brake calipers are heavenly...

There are many cars today which are mismatched - they either have a nice front or a good rear, but seldom both. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta on the other hand, got both ends right. In fact, I'd think the rear is even better than the front! One can't help but think of the Alfa Brera when they look at the swanky curves of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, so obviously the Alfa DNA runs deep in the family. The end result of teh creases and curves are dramatic, and the tail-lights are styled with a flair for passion, unlike the dead-looking or gawky and awkward looking taillights you find in many cars today. Twin-exhaust for a 1.4-litre car? Definitely a case of aesthetics over technicality, but they do look gorgeous! The keyhole is probably hidden behind the badge of the serpent, delivering one of the most stunning rear design of a car.

The Italian flair for design and passion continues inside with the incredibly stylish interior. The uniquely styled seats take centre-stage with the ribbed design that only Italians can pull off, emblazoned with the Alfa logo in red stitching on the headrest. The official pictures show a huge retractable sunroof as well, which will probably be an expensive option (maybe only available in the 1750 TBi?). If I must criticize something, perhaps it's the headroom which looks pretty tight in the photo, especially for the rear passenger. There're no official photos of the dash board yet, so I do hope that doesn't disappoint an otherwise great design for a car interior.

So if you are looking for a nice continental compact car, there're the usual suspects such as the VW Golf/Polo, the MINI, the Peugeot 207 etc. And then there's the Italian alternative - the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Darn... even the name sounds sexy already!


  1. Simply fantastic.

    Alfista Malti

  2. can always rely on Alfa to come out tops: monstrous