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2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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110 Years of Style and Exclusivity

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Alfa Romeo celebrated its 110th birthday in June. By coincidence, my drive of a 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia couldn’t have been better timed to reacquaint me with the heritage of this storied brand.

Back in early March, at one of the last in-person product briefings before Covid-19 took hold of our lives, I attended a product briefing hosted by the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) that detailed the new features of the 2020 Giulia.

Ben Lyon, Head of Alfa Romeo, Operations and Customer Experience, led this presentation saying they were “keeping what’s great and improving on the rest.” For 2020, more features have been made standard, a full array of advanced driver-assistance safety features has been added, and the interior has been freshened including a new 8.8-inch touchscreen display.

The Giulia’s seductive exterior is quite good looking and continues with the same look for 2020. There are a few new colors, including the Verde Visconti Metallic of my “wheels of the week.”

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The driver-centric cockpit gets a new center console with a leather-wrapped gear shifter, machined-knurled aluminum-look rotary dials, upgraded knob materials and increased storage capacity. Cup holders are larger and there’s a new phone storage area with available wireless charging.

The Crema interior color of my tester certainly made for a pleasant, warm and welcoming environment.

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Standard and available connectivity features now include Wi-Fi Hotspot, Mobile App with Remote Operations, SOS Call (Private) and Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Finder, Stolen Vehicle Locator and Assistance, as well as select Firmware Over the Air updates.

With the 2020 Giulia, Alfa is debuting a full set of available advanced driver-assistance safety (ADAS) features, including Level 2 semi-autonomous capabilities that enable the vehicle to control acceleration, braking and steering in certain driving conditions – providing the driver with the perfect balance between driving pleasure and autonomous control. These include: Highway Assist System, Traffic Jam Assist System, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Driver Attention Alert, and Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus.

The 5-seat, mid-size Giulia is offered in base, TI and Quadrifoglio models. Model specific Sport, Lusso, and Nero Edizione packages offer further personalization.

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Giulia and Giulia TI models are powered by a 280-HP 2.0-L turbocharged engine that will get you from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 149 mph.

A Ferrari-derived, 505-HP 2.9-L twin-turbo V-6 engine in the Giulia Quadrifoglio achieves 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph.

All Giulias are equipped with an 8-speed automatic. Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive (AWD) versions are offered.

Pricing for the Giulia starts at $39,345 and tops out with the Giulia Quadrifoglio at $74,445.

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For my week of La Dolcé Vida in an Alfa, I drove a Giulia TI Lusso AWD finished, as I mentioned, in a glimmering Verde Visconti (Green) Metallic with a Crema interior. With a base price of $43,345, optional equipment brought the total to $54,840 including the $1,295 destination charge.

How was it you ask? I prefer driving a car and am not so much in the SUV-mode. Although, I have been there by personal and family necessity. That said, I am immediately happy behind the wheel of the Giulia. I like the cockpit, the flat bottomed steering wheel, the unique location of the start/stop button, the supportive seats with 8-ways of adjustment, and the sounds from the 14-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system.

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Rear seat room is bit tight, but acceptable. The trunk is roomy enough for two people’s luggage for a run to the airport or a weekend road trip.

The exhaust note of the 2.0-L turbo is pleasant. Push down the go-pedal and you are moving fast very quickly. The engine is smooth and responsive with the 8-speeds of the automatic helping you get both good performance and good fuel efficiency. EPA fuel-economy ratings are 26 mpg combined with 23 city mpg and 31 highway mpg.

A few highway on- and off- ramps reveal a nicely compliant suspension with good overall balance and comfort. The 225/45 all season performance tires give a nice balance of good handling with comfort. The tire’s 45-series sidewall does a decent job in handling the often rough surfaces of some city streets.

I’ve previously driven the high-performance Quadrifoglio, both on the road and on the track. Sure, its engine and performance are wonderful. Not meaning to discourage anyone, but it’s a lot for everyday driving. However, if you want to track drive a car on the weekends, have at it.

To mark its 110th birthday, Alfa Romeo has returned to its roots and brought back one of the legends of its history and of motoring in general---the Giulia GTA. The acronym GTA stands for “Gran Turismo Alleggerita” (alleggerita being the Italian term for “lightened”), and it originated in 1965 with the Giulia Sprint GTA, a specific version derived from the Sprint GT, designed as a sports car and presented at the Amsterdam Motor Show staged that same year.

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The new Giulia GTA will be limited to 500 units. Based on Giulia Quadrifoglio, Giulia GTA is fitted with a more powerful version of the Alfa Romeo 2.9 V-6 Bi-Turbo engine, now with 540 hp. There will also be a GTAm (modified) this is a 100 percent “street legal” version of the GTA, characterized by two racing seats, roll bar and 6-point safety belts.

Alfa Romeo began collecting declarations of interest on Giulia GTA and GTAm starting back in March. Only 500 certified, numbered units in total will be built. At this time, the Giulia GTA is available for order in Europe; there is currently no decision forthcoming on its availability in North America. 

The award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulia delivers race-inspired performance, advanced technologies and an exhilarating driving experience to the premium midsize sedan segment. 

From the late 1920s through the 1930s, Alfa Romeo was the preeminent sports car in the world. Alfas won Le Mans four consecutive years from 1931-34 and the Mille Miglia an astounding ten times in eleven years from 1928-38!

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy