Many enthusiasts know what driving Alfa is all about, last but not least enjoying the fury and sound of a “pur sang” high performance engine. Therefore Diesel power never really fits the bill. Well gentlemen, until now that is. Because after having driven this Giulietta Diesel, we believe times have changed now at last. This 1956 cc four cylinder Diesel has now become a thoroughbred engine, which would make its inventor immensely proud, and certainly put a broad smile on our faces, and this not only at the fuel pump…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Pure Alfa sound
Upon turning the key, one is already pleasantly surprised. None of the usual Diesel clatter is heard, just a subdued throb, which increases gently when the throttle is put a bit deeper. There are no vibrations which could spoil your driving experience; only a stream of power opens for you, all to be enjoyed from low revs onward.
The latest generation Diesel unit is a state of the art masterpiece. This engine breathes the engineering experience of the Fiat group. The unit sports the latest generation fuel injection system, which smoothens out ideally the combustion cycle of this Diesel, and it does this under all load conditions and throughout the whole available rev range.
In combination will all this mechanical smoothness now also comes the sound, which has now finally reached the acoustic quality we all cherish in a thoroughbred engine.
The unit is of course quite powerful, delivering excellent acceleration throughout all the gears, as is warranted by a maximum torque of not less than 380 Nm available at 1750 rpm in the Dynamic mode. 0 to 100 is reached in a good 8 seconds, and the Alfa hurtles to a top speed of not less than 218 km/h.
Needless to say that the gear ratios are very well matched to the engine’s power curve, and the gearbox itself is a delight to use.
Of course, the Alfa “DNA” selector is well known, and delivers extra driving pleasure and refinement. In the Dynamic mode, the engine reveals all its dynamic qualities to the full, and invites indeed to a more spirited driving style.
In the Dynamic “racing” driving mode the electronic traction control systems are activated more discreetly, the engine and brakes are more reactive and quicker to respond and the steering is more direct and sporty.
But even in the Normal mode, power and torque is plentiful, nd we have to admit that we used this mode during most of our test. In this mode, the calibration is more neutral, with optimised consumption. We found that the car drives more restful, certainly in city traffic.
In the All weather mode, power delivery is very smooth indeed. This setting is designed to anticipate the intervention of all of the electronic safety devices.
Despite its outstanding smoothness and performance, this Alfa also delivers excellent economy, where we have to admit that we drove the car quite spiritedly; our average consumption during the test hovered around the 5,6 litres/100 km.
Superb chassis and suspension
Engine and transmission are not the only delights on this Alfa Giulietta. There is also the responsive and agile chassis, which makes you a master on curvy country and mountain roads, where the Alfa really stands out. Taking the car through its paces on these roads is a pure joy.
There is the advanced McPherson front suspension and the MULTILINK rear suspension, have been designed to provide perfect balance even at the limit.
There is also the Dual Pinion active steering, a direct, sensitive steering which is suited to ever changing driving conditions. There is of course a full integration with vehicle dynamics control systems and with Alfa Romeo DNA.
The variable power-assisted steering delivers great driving comfort, turning circle is a very reasonable 10,9 meters and fuel consumption is reduced by 3% compared to a conventional system.
The Alfa is also a formidable long distance cruiser, or Gran Turismo if you like that more appropriate definition. On motorways or Autobahnen it is a perfect high speed machine, able to maintain very high cruising speeds for hours on end. Straight line stability is truly outstanding, and driving the car through fast Autobahn curves is a very easy exercise.
The seating position proved excellent for your 1,70 m tall servant, and the fine looking leather covered seats gave very good (lateral) support. Add to this the excellent ergonomics of the controls and you agree with us that Alfa driving is hardly tiring, quite the opposite!
Of course we liked again the beautiful Alfa instrumentation, and we also enjoyed the easy and intuitive to use and read navigation/infotainment system.
You can use the touchscreen to access all audio functions directly: AM/FM radio, CD player, media player devices can be connected via USB port or AUX-in socket.
Commands can also be voice-activated.
The Bluetooth® interface lets you read any text messages received (through the text to speech system) and use the steering wheel controls to handle telephone calls.
We also were quite fond of the Bose Sound system. The Hi-Fi system has a power output of more than 500 watts and offers an acoustic system made up of the main speakers in addition to a subwoofer with 6 channel digital amplifier for bass notes. Both jazz and classical music could be enjoyed to the full…and this is certainly a boon for music lovers as we are…
The Guilietta handles, steers, accelerates and cruises like a genuine thoroughbred, and you do not need an Alfa petrol engine any more to fill the job; the diesel JTD m-2 engine delivers all this now just as well, with unspoilt panache, smoothness, fury and sound… add to this the attractive price of the Giulietta in all its engine and equipment versions, and our enthusiasm for the car has also a sound rational basis...
Hans Knol ten Bensel