The Alfa Romeo price list is fairly short at present, just one model with two variants offered. The Giulietta is nearing the end of the line, but next year we’ll see a few different models.
Alfa will be aiming high with its Giulia premium sedan here and the brand’s new SUVs will be revealed globally. But until then, Giulietta alone carries the marque in NZ. A couple of months back we drove the 4C powered by the 1750cc four-pot turbo and now it powers us along again, this time in the more conventional Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde. The engine may be the same but where it sits and the mass it lugs has an effect on the overall experience. It feels a lot mightier in the 4C for sure but that said the GQV is a frisky thing. It’s a hot hatch that likes to be pedaled enthusiastically, and when you’re out driving for the sake of it, this delivers in spades.
While there are a few aspects you need to overlook, first we list the good bits. We like its quick steering, the QV darting into bends while the traction control is impressive on the way back out with the torque dished out in just the right proportions.
The engine enlivens once past 2000rpm, pulling on boost but it peaks around 5500rpm, and is well done by 6000rpm. The midrange is strong though, helping overcome a bit of a gap between second and third gears. The ride is on the firm side, the QV suffering a few bumps along the way, but otherwise it’s light, nimble and well balanced, providing you don’t upset things under brakes. The stopping pedal could use a dose more sensitivity in this regard.
What there is of the engine noise is nice but it could be louder while the tyre roar could be better muted. It’s not a sanitised wheel experience; it’s quite mad at times, but that at least gives the QV some charm.
Other aspects of the GQV require a fair amount of admiration for the marque to overlook; the lack of a reversing camera, for instance. Sensors must therefore moderate your reversing, but there’s quite a large blindspot to the rear. The plastics are rough in places too, the seats look good but aren’t that comfy, it’s hard to see the speedo and the large turning circle can make parking a hassle.
The rear seat is short on legroom but the space in the boot compensates somewhat, it’s quite a decent-sized hold. The twin-clutch auto makes this car more viable; it works well in full auto mode, though we did find ourselves effecting the changes manually at times; it’s a driver’s car afterall.
There are a few more polished cars at the money, the Volkswagen GTI being the obvious option, or the Subaru WRX if you’re not so concerned about owning something with a Euro badge. If you’re okay with a manual gearbox, the Peugeot 308 GTI or Focus ST are good alternatives too, though there have been more QVs registered this year, the market clearly preferring two-pedal convenience above all else. The Giulietta does still look good though, and is simply amazing in red, even if this multi-layer metallic hue is a cost option. At $54,990, the QV is an emotionally driven car, one to purchase with the heart rather than the head but it at least has some genuine character.
|Model||2016 Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV||Price||$54,990|
|Engine||1750cc, IL4, T/DI, 177kW/340Nm||Drivetrain||6-speed twin-clutch, front-wheel drive|
|Fuel Use||6.8L/100km||C02 Output||157g/km|