Simply 'la bella vita' in a 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia
The Giulia in its natural environment
Keen followers may remember us falling head over heels for the 2019 Quadrifoglio version of the Giulia late last year. Its mad amount of power (505hp), beautiful looks and hilarious all-round driving experience was intoxicating. We didn't want to give it back! Therefore when the opportunity to take out the latest standard version of the entry-luxury saloon arose, we were nervous. How could the normal incarnation of something so crazy be any fun? Surely it'd be much the same as hanging out with family- friendly America's Got Talent Howard Stern after being a guest on his bonkers radio show: chalk and cheese. Actually what this Giulia lacks in bananas performance it makes up for by elevating the very much meat and potatoes end of the motoring spectrum to one of those five-hour Italian Sunday lunches. It's elegant, it's stunning and you will definitely enjoy a different type of fun.
What are the numbers like on this one?
Different, sure, but not disappointing. A turbocharged two-litre engine produces 280hp, which for a four-seater, ostensibly family car, dictates it's fairly nippy. A compact body also contributes to its agility. That engine creates a typically Alfa aria - again something you wouldn't necessarily expect from a car in this segment. Pulling away from a hotel (a feature which ranks especially high in the UAE) will attract significant attention, so there's no need to worry. 0-100km/h will take about 5.7 seconds, if the resort's driveway is particularly long and straight. However, even if it were bendy, you'd still have a smile on your face.
Why would we?
Because we felt the Guilia really came to life in the corners. It's solid and planted. You can't really give it more praise than that because in this SUV age it is becoming increasingly difficult to come across. Instant confidence is exuded as you attempt sharper turns to test the limits. It constantly stays the course. While there aren't a huge number of twists on our roads - save for weekends in the Fujairah mountains - it is reassuring to know you have a machine capable of your own private rally stage in the garage. Stick it in Dynamic driving mode (as opposed to Natural and Advanced Efficiency) and you have an enthusiast's aggressive plaything you can use every day.
What's it like inside?
It is often said Alfas are drivers' vehicles and the company has capitalised on this with its interior layout and features. A smart and comfortable cockpit displays a couple of race accents to stave off the drabness many executive saloons feel is essential. Bare metal pedals, a stylish steering wheel and digital dashboard with chrome highlighted dials make for a lovely feel. The 8.8-inch centre screen is high-spec for the tech heads and remains controlled by a rotary knob as well as your touch if caressing the screen isn't your bag.
Anything that didn't take your fancy?
The navigation was a tad too basic for our liking, but we barely use it if GMaps is up and running on someone's phone. In the back you're not blessed with acres of room, though two larger than average humans can (and did) have a relaxed trip for up to four hours. That's about it. The ride, grunt and looks far outweigh any negatives and we believe the Guilia to be great value for its price point. Delizioso.
. Engine: Turbocharged two-litre
. Power: 280hp
. 0-100km/h: 5.7 secs
. Price: From Dhs129,900