Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce Review: The Hearty Italian
Taste is extremely subjective – however, I bet you’d be hard-pressed to find a single person amongst your repertoire of friends and family who doesn’t appreciate a hearty Italian meal. Some say that it’s down to the freshness of the chosen ingredients, whilst others opine that its simplicity is the one that manages to bring out an array of authentic and bold flavours. Whatever it is, in Italian cuisine, a chef’s passion can undoubtedly be felt through his/ her crafted dishes, and it is because of this, those evenings at Italian restaurants are often reserved for special occasions.
Quite unlike such gastronomic experiences though, the Alfa Romeo Giulia offers spades of Italian passion and soul that can be experienced at any time of the day, just at a touch of its steering wheel-mounted starter button.
It has been a couple of years since the Giulia first arrived on our shores and it has now received some updates for its latest model year. It might be a stretch to call this an out-and-out facelift model, as changes are focused on the improvement of interior quality and updates to its infotainment system. What we previously liked so much about the Giulia – its aggressive yet luscious looks, and driver-focused dynamics – has been retained, with a couple of rough edges now polished out.
A new 8.8 inch touchscreen infotainment system now occupies its dashboard, updated for increased user-friendliness and responsiveness. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto coming as standard, scrolling through menus either by using its iDrive-like rotary dial or swiping across its screen has become a more intuitive and lag-free experience. Drivers who frequently use CarPlay or Android Auto might have to get used to plugging their smartphones in for access; but with multiple USB points and a newly designed centre console that houses a wireless charger, the improved integration of technology is a more than welcome change.
Gripping the ergonomically designed steering wheel, echoes of Ferrari 458/ 488 seem to reverberate through. With 2 different grains of leather being stitched on its wheel, an enhanced sense of control is certainly felt. Coupled with sports seats which bolster you in, the facelifted Giulia’s cabin retains its driver-focused feel. With leather now being applied more generously to its dash and interior surfaces, together with an enhanced level of fit-and-finish, the Giulia can now hold a candle in terms of interior quality to its German rivals.
Elsewhere, much of what made the Giulia so successful has remained. As before, its exterior looks like it had been sketched freehand on an easel rather than modelled with sophisticated digital 3D software. The same chorus has been sung multiple times by now, but it’s challenging not to reiterate that there is no angle from which the Giulia doesn’t look good from. To differentiate itself from the rest of the model line up, the Veloce now comes standard with the Nero Edizione exterior package – which means blacked-out badges, exhaust tips, exterior mirrors and more. Its burnished 19 inch cloverleaf-styled alloy rims serve as the icing on the cake, providing an aggressive yet poised stance.
Under the hood, the same 2.0 litre turbocharged block provides 280bhp and propels the Giulia to 100kmh in just over 5 seconds. It is in its drive, that one can feel that the Giulia was a car made for drivers, by a driver. Its steering is quick and precise, and enables the Giulia to dance around corners with great finesse. It is also through the bends that its sub-1500kg kerb weight shows through – the Giulia is agile, and possesses more than sufficient power driven through its ZF 8-speed transmission to exit corners with fervour.
Despite rolling on 19 inch rims, it takes the most unsettled of surfaces for the Giulia to feel uncomfortable in. The Giulia is more sports sedan than plush cruiser, providing high levels of engagement and a close connection to the road surface for both the driver and passengers alike. As before, the Giulia’s rear is best suited for adults 1.8m and below and offers a decent level of practicality in the form of a foldable rear bench and 480L of boot space.
We think that the Giulia, in Veloce guise, is the perfect middle ground between the entry-level Super and the fire-breathing Quadrifolgio. Singaporeans have certainly put money where their mouths have been, with this being the most popularly opted model of the line-up to date.
The additional power over the base model is useful for the odd burst of acceleration or days where more spirited driving is on the cards. And with a whole host of standard features such as adaptive dampers, a limited-slip differential and that sweet-sounding 900W Harmon Kardon audio system, the Veloce offers significant value for money not just over the base spec, but also over most of its German rivals. Now, what's left is to spec one in Visconti Green and Tan Leather.
Credits: Words by Joel Foo; Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club