The heart of a noble sporting car is its engine, and this is even more so for an Alfa Romeo. We recently sat behind the three spoked leather covered wheel of the Giulietta Sprint, and got truly passionate about its silky smooth, high revving 1368 cc engine, as beautiful as a modern petrol engine can ever be, and then, with that little extra character, truly Alfa...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Indeed, the sporting 1,4 litre engine develops not less than 150 hp, and thanks to its multiair technology, its charm lies in the truly magical way this power is developed. A beautiful throb, which envelops you in a beautiful staccato when the revs mount higher.
Full of eager pulling power too. The variable valve opening sees to it that ample torque is developed. In "natural" mode, 230 Nm is available at 2250 rpm, in the "dynamic" mode, 250 Nm is at your disposal at 2500 rpm.
Never, ever, in any gear, there is a lack of power. The willing engine gets instantly to the job, and this with uncanny smoothness, not the slightest vibration is noticed. The Giulietta Sprint has quite entertaining performance, it will pull from 0 to 100 in merely 8,2 seconds. It continues with verve, of course, to a top speed of 210 km.
But the bare figures tell not everything. It is also the way these accelerations are achieved. The smooth, progressive clutch, the delightfully silky gearchanges, all this lets you drive the Sprint with pleasure, and enjoy every second of your stint behind the wheel. A classic drivers' car, this is what we can call the Sprint.
But there is not only the pleasure putting the Alfa through its paces. When you drive along city boulevards and roads, the engine takes the higher fifth and sixth gears with ease, is virtually inaudible, and as said, remains smooth, also at low revs. In these circumstances, we selected rather the "normal" mode, for added smoothness, considering that the engine is pulling willingly the instant one puts its right foot somewhat deeper.
The "dynamic" mode is chosen with pleasure when driving sportingly over winding roads. This mode also activates the turbocharger in "overboost" mode, in this sense that the engine management control unit allows higher turbo pressures for shorter periods. All this makes the engine quite lively, and adds the extra thoroughbred character to the unit.
Last but not least, in the winter conditions we had during the test drive, we frequently chose the "all weather" mode, and this means that there is a higher treshold of braking control coordinated with ABS and Vehicle Dynamic Control. The oversteer compensation is also adapted to the VDC/ASR settings. Needless to say that this gives additional surefootedness to the Alfa's excellent handling.
We already told in earlier drives about the good roadholding qualities of the Giulietta, suffice to repeat here that the Sprint also steers with agility and precision, perfectly at home with a sporting driving style, but also well suited to comfort oriented motoring in dense traffic conditions.
Here we can also mention the excellent comfort of the seats, the ideal disposition of armrests, and more general, dashboard ergonomics. We are always delighted about the instrumentation, and we also like the two large round knobs of the digital temperature control of heating/airco/ventilation set in the lower central part of the dashboard. The interior, dashboard and side panels of the Sprint are tastfully dressed in carbon texture upholstery.
...and frugal efficiency
Despite all this thoroughbred responsiveness, the engineers have succeeded in giving this Multi Air engine very decent economy. The very principle of variable valve opening sees to this thermal efficiency, together with state-of-the art engine management, and this results in quite good figures: extra-urban driving results in 4,6 litres/100 km, urban driving gets you some 7,6 litres. The combined consumption figure is according to the manufacturer 5,7 litres, our test consumption with very much spirited driving in rather dense traffic resulted in 6,3 litres...
The CO2 emissions of the 1,4 litre Giulietta Sprint amount to 131 g/km.
We just recall here the economy drive we made in the Twin Air Alfa Mito to Paris, resulting in a consumption well below 5 litres/100 km.
Driving this Giulietta Sprint was a pure delight, not only for its pure performance, but even more for the pleasant, "pur sang" character of the car, the responsiveness of the engine, the smooth clutch and gearbox, the way it drives and handles.
When you consider buying a sporting car of character, this stylish Giulietta Sprint certainly merits your attention.
Hans Knol ten Bensel