Categories: Tests

Alfa Romeo Giulia (2023) test: the Italian still in the race?

Presented in June 2015, the beautiful Giulia has weathered many storms that have befallen the Italian manufacturer. Sales plummeting, range reduced to the strict minimum, production stoppage of small models (Juliet, Mito…), it is certain thatAlfa Romeo has seen better days… But since 2021, a new wind has been blowing on the Turin brand. Now part of the group Stellarthe manufacturer then offered itself a unique chance to raise the bar and announced a new compact SUV, the Tonal.

But at the same time, the brand does not forget its flagship model. The Giulia is still present in the catalog, after nearly 8 years of marketing! What if the sleek sedan got a minor update in 2020, now is the time for the real restyling rang. But will this “2023” vintage be enough to stay in the race?

Design: still one of the most beautiful sedans to date

If there is one thing that cannot be taken away from this Giulia, It’s good son look. The saloon, as elegant as ever, retains its sensual lines and sporty character. Impossible to remain indifferent to this pencil stroke, especially in the face of the pack of SUVs that we now meet so often on the asphalt. THE Etna red (Invoice 2 650 €) optional sublimates the beautiful Italian in our configuration.

With this restyling, Alfa designers did not upset this magnificent design. On the contrary. Only the optics are new. If the shape does not change, the light signature evolves with three LED blocks now, like the Tonale. The Italian took the opportunity to harmonize its range and did the same for the Stelvio, also restyled this year. The grille is unchanged and only the shields adopt minor changes, with an extended grille inside. On the sides, a badge FAST indicates that this Giulia features the highest trim level available. This endowment includes several elements in noir volcano, such as the shells of mirrors, the exhaust outlets or the contours of the windows. These are also over-tinted on the back. 19 inch rims COMPETITION as well as the red BREMBO® brake calipers set the tone. Finally, the rear part remains unchanged, with the exception of the lights which are very slightly redesigned with a transparent part.

Interior: an elegant but dated interior

On board this Restyled Giulia, you have to have an eye to spot the changes. The main development is in front of the driver. The needle counters now give way to a 12″ screen well integrated into the dashboard. Customizable and practical, it displays a lot of information necessary for driving. On the other hand, impossible to say the same to the 8.8″ slab housed in the center. The display is dated, the ergonomics are bad and the touchscreen is terribly slow. This makes navigation in the menus laborious and the experience is unworthy of a modern car. Fortunately, the wheel is still present and helps navigate the menus. For the rest of the presentation, the Giulia remains in the classic with still a lot of physical buttons. We still feel the weight of the years, but the whole remains well built and flattering to the eye, especially in this finish FAST and those aluminum inserts. Several elements of the dashboard, as well as the pallets or the pedals, are also in aluminum finish. Finally, the interior gives pride of place to leather, omnipresent in the passenger compartment as well as for the upholstery. The sports seats are also excellent, with a good level of lateral support.

In the back, we are still pretty well seated on the bench seat of the Giulia, as long as there are two of us. The middle seat is, in fact, very limited, not offering optimal comfort with the transmission tunnel which interferes with the legs of the central passenger. Finally, the trunk always does 380 liters and does not evolve. Even if it is quite deep, the absence of a tailgate does not help for its loading.

At the wheel: fun driving and playful chassis

For this restyling, Alfa Romeo has decided to make a clean sweep of the available engines. Only two diesel engines are kept in the catalog, the 2.2 JTD in 160 et 210 ch. On the petrol side, we unfortunately lose the 2.0 MultiAir 200 hp, to keep only the version of 280 ch. On the other hand, if you are looking for performance, the version Four-leaf cloverQV for friends, is fortunately still available with its V6 the 510 ch.

Our test version is equipped with the diesel of 210 ch. Very torquey (470 Nm), the whole is associated with a 8-speed automatic transmissionalways very intelligent, as well as Q4 all-wheel drive. This in-house 4WD technology from the Italian manufacturer is actually a bit specific. The torque is sent to the rear wheels only most of the time, and up to 50% of the power can be transmitted to the front wheels if the rear wheels are spinning. There is therefore almost never any loss of motor skills. Efficiency is maximized on asphalt, without losing that playful character. Precisely, if the Giulia can slip from the rear axle, the exercise is done easily without ever being scared! The pleasure is there, every moment. The small steering wheel, the precise steering, the contained weight (1,565 kg Italian) coupled with an excellent chassis give a rare charm to this Giulia. In a market overwhelmed by electric SUVs approaching dangerously close to 3 tons when loaded, driving a nimble and torquey sedan is a treat. THE 470 Nm available from 1 750 tr/m give a lively and responsive car, placing itself at the finger and the eye on the road. VELOCE braking (optional) is efficient, even if the feeling is sometimes uncertain. You have to press hard to maximize efficiency. On the figures side, Alfa Romeo indicates a 0 to 100 km / h shot in just 6.8 seconds. Among the negative points, the diesel reasons noisily in the passenger compartment and the sound is unremarkable. The 280 hp petrol sounds slightly better, but we are still very far from the melody of the V6 of the QV, which is actually a truncated 8-cylinder Ferrari! Finally, in terms of comfort, the compromise is very well found. Thanks to the DNA modes, you have the choice between several driving modes, including the most “Dynamic” but without having anything uncomfortable either.

Verdict: we let ourselves be seduced despite our shortcomings

This restyling, which ultimately remains only on the surface, offers a mixed picture. With only one change new light signature, a digital instrument cluster and a facelifted front bumper… the pill is hard to swallow. Compared to the competition, the interior, although still elegant, seems dated. Logic for a car whose design dates back 10 years! The restyling also puts an end to interesting engines, including the pleasant 2.0 petrol 200 hp, due to a CO² penalty that is too high in France. Also, the Italian sedan has other small flaws. Ergonomics that could be improved, start & stop not very discreet, driving aid systems well below the competition… So many points that are difficult to justify for a 2023 car. Especially since the price is on the rise: 47 450 € for the entrance ticket. And our test model exceeds the 51 100 € in VELOCE finish.

Yes, but there is a but. When a sedan with such charm still exist, complaining would be inappropriate. The Giulia is aimed at drivers eager for driving pleasure and eager to ride with a elegant but playful sedan. Faced with efficient but cold German sedans, the Italian certainly has an unstoppable asset of seduction… And you have to hurry, the next versions will be 100% electric!

Data sheet of the trial version:

  • Version : 2.2 Turbo Diesel 210 ch
  • Finish: VELOCE
  • Prix : 51 100
  • Malus : + 1 386 €
  • Engine type: Turbo diesel (2.2 L, 4-cylinder)
  • CV : 12
  • Power: 210 hp
  • Couple : 470 Nm
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Transmission: Integral (Q4)
  • Gearbox: 8-speed automatic (AT8)
  • Tank: 52 liters
  • Builder Acceleration: 6.8s
  • Length: 4.64m
  • Width: 1.86m
  • Height: 145m
  • Poids : 1 565 kg

Options of the tested model:

  • Tinted rear windows
  • Leather dashboard with red and gray stitching
  • 900w audio system by Harman Kardon 14 hp (with subwoofer)
  • Red BREMBO® brake calipers
  • Anti-theft system
  • Autonomous driving package
  • Lane Keeping System
  • Semi-autonomous driving assistance on the highway
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Semi-autonomous driving assistance in heavy traffic
  • Blind spot detection system with corrective action
  • Driver fatigue detection
  • Coupling cruise control with sign recognition

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