We took recently the Giulietta TCT and Quadrifoglio Verde through its paces near Brussels...
The well styled Giulietta proves to be a trump card in the Alfa Romeo range. In fact, the car’s sales reached 2.8% in Europe and 14.5% inItaly, these being the highest sales figures ever achieved by an Alfa Romeo in the hatchback segment. 35 % of the European sales of 80.000 cars found its way inItaly. The foreign markets on which the Giulietta had its best results were the French (more than 9,200 cars), the English (more than 7,000 cars) and German (more than 6,300 cars); since its launch, worldwide orders for the Giulietta have totalled almost 140,000.
Reason enough to take again a closer look at this magnificent hatchback, which is quite attractive in theTCTand the Quadrifoglio Verde versions. Recently, both models were presented inBrusselsby the dynamic PR team of Fiat Group Automobiles Belgium, and we will drive them soon for a further test.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Top versions preferred…
90 % of the buyers chose the top “Distinctive” and “Exclusive” levels of fitting, and the the 170 hp 1.4 MultiAir has a sales mix of 15%, about 7 times the segment average in this power range. The most popular engine is the 105 hp 1.6 MultiJet that accounts for 35% of the total sales .
The car has been the choice of those with an average age of 40 and a medium-high level of education, with not less than 20% women (in line with the market), while people with families represent a good half of the purchasers, compared with the segment average of a fifth.
Smooth and efficient TCT transmission
The Alfa TCT transmission now completes the car’s extraordinary technological offer. We already got acquainted with this transmission in the MiTo, and we reported you about this already in our columns.
The latest generation AlfaTCT(Twin Clutch Transmission) dry dual clutch automatic transmission is combined on the Giulietta with the 170 HP 1.4 TB MultiAir and 170 HP 2.0 JTDM engines.
In particular, the innovative transmission ensures greater driving comfort and a sportier feeling than automatic transmissions with torque converter, but with improved efficiency and lower fuel consumption.
The transmission works in either all-automatic or sequential mode, as required by the driver. The user may manually manage the up and down position of the accurate, ergonomic shift stick, to which steering wheel shift paddles may be combined.
In addition, the driver can customise the car's personality using the Alfa D.N.A. driving selector to enhance its features of comfort, performance, safety and efficiency. With the 170 HP 1.4 TB MultiAir engine ("Best New Engine 2010"), top speed is 218 km/h with just 7.7 seconds needed to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. The official fuel consumption and emissions are extraordinarily low: 5.2 l/100 km over a combined cycle and 121 g/km of CO2.
Even when fitted with the 170 HP 2.0 JTDM diesel engine, the values are impressive. In fact, compared to the same manual gearbox version, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h changes from 8.0 seconds to 7.9 seconds, fuel consumption (combined cycle) drops from 4.7 l/100 km to 4.5 l/100 km, while CO 2emissions reach the record level for an engine of this power equal to 119 g/km (124 g/km with the manual gearbox).
Technical concept of the TCT transmission…
The new AlfaTCTconceptually consists of two gearboxes in parallel, one for even gears and one for odd gears, each with its own clutch, which allows the selection and engagement of the subsequent gear while the previous one is still engaged.
The gear is changed with a simple, smooth yet very fast switching of the corresponding clutches, guaranteeing continuous torque delivery and therefore traction.
Alfa TCT uses dry clutches allowing, in addition to other advantages, natural integration with Start&Stop, a function which is not always available with traditional automatic transmissions,
The shifting time of theTCTtransmission can be further according to the position of the Alfa D.N.A. lever. The transmission interacts not only with the Alfa D.N.A., but also with the braking system, engine control and vehicle stability control system (VDC).
The engine control system automatically identifies road conditions, gradients and bends and optimises traction by selecting the most appropriate gear, managing engine torque delivery and modulating the brakes.
With lightning-fast parameter processing, the transmission can adapt its behaviour in real time. For instance, on curves, shifts may be subjected to the vehicle speed and position of the Alfa D.N.A. lever.
In Natural mode the system sets shifting on curves to maximum comfort, while in Dynamic mode, and whenever appropriate, shifting is inhibited to supply the best performance. During ASR/VDCsystem operation, as in All Weather mode, the engine of the Giulietta with AlfaTCTadapts its performance to ensure maximum vehicle stability.
When starting off uphill from a standstill, the AlfaTCTinterfaces with the Start&Stop and the braking system via the Hill Holder function to prevent the car from slipping back in undesirable manner.
With regards to ergonomics, the driver simply needs to release the brake pedal to make the car start off smoothly when parking, in queues or at the traffic lights thanks to the “Creeping” function. Further particularities of the new AlfaTCTare flexible application, compact construction, the use of a double dry clutch (of the type which guarantees the highest efficiency in terms of consumption between automatic transmissions).
Built for heavy torque…
This transmission is the first in the world to guarantee up to 350 Nm of transmittable engine torque, which means that it can be coupled to the remarkable 170 HP 2.0 JTDM diesel engine without limiting its performance and securing all the advantages listed above at the same time.
Clutches are designed "for life" and unlike traditional clutches do not need to be replaced. If we compare "Dry" clutches with oil bath ("Wet") ones, we can safely say that the former dissipate energy only during the actual slipping phase of the gear change and on pick-up, whereas wet clutches, which always operate in an oil bath, introduce losses due to viscous friction such as those of conventional automatic transmissions even when they are not in operation.
We recently had a short test drive with the Giulietta TCT and QV versions around Brussels
They also require forced cooling with oil and therefore continuous energy expenditure to drive the dedicated oil pump (absent in the case of dry clutches). Lastly, a "Wet" automatic transmission requires approximately 4.8 litres more gearbox oil than the "Dry" version, again for reasons of clutch cooling (in this way, weight is added and losses due to increase of splashing caused by the gears). When all these effects are combined, a dry transmission, like the AlfaTCT, is found to be approximately 6% more efficient than the corresponding wet one in terms of consumption.
Driving the Giulietta TCT on winding roads around Brussels proved to be a delight...
Last but not least, theTCT transmission proves to be quite popular: since the beginning of sales, demand for the AlfaTCThas been 15% of all vehicles, well above the European average.
Unique safety features come as standard…
Besides Giulietta’s dynamic features, the car offers, as standard equipment on all versions, unique safety features, such as: the AlfaDNAsystem, with electronic Q2 (a system that - when cornering - transfers the torque to the external wheel to prevent the front from understeering, thus gaining traction and improving driveability),DST(that prompts the driver to make the correct manoeuvre in emergencies, through a pulse sent to the steering wheel). Pre-fill (that guarantees the maximum braking promptness in the case of danger).
But this is not enough. There is also the anti-whiplash system, three-point seatbelts with double pretensioners, 6 airbags as standard, and last but not leastESP. Passive safety is also paramount: the Giulietta has proved to be the safest hatchback ever tested by EuroNcap.
It is rather surprising to see that Giulietta is the car that needs the lowest number of service intervals during its first 3 years or 90,000 km in its segment. So no reason whatsoever for you to deny yourself the joys of this Giulietta, so full of character... and read our tests soon!
Hans Knol ten Bensel