As a car nut, the arrival of any new Alfa-Romeo is cause for a minor celebration. A celebration tinged with concerned expectation…for Alfa have been treading a fine line between making characterful cars that make no money, and incredibly crappy cars that no-one wants to buy (I’m looking at you, Mito), for seemingly 20 years now.
This new car, the Giulia, ticks some of the right boxes. It’s rear-wheel-drive. And it’s got a bespoke Ferrari breathed-on engine (at least in the top-spec Quadrofoglio version released yesterday). There is a hint of 3-series about the DLO though, and from the rear I see some Lexus genes. Probably those strange stacked exhausts, that look a little to Lexus F to me. Yet there are thankfully also some references to the 156, Alfa’s last decent car in my opinion.
Things have moved on since the 164 Cloverleaf, the grand-daddy of the big powerful Alfa sedan. Most apparent, is the impact that lighting technology improvements have made on the design opportunities for the cars front-face. What was once a relatively simple feature, blended into the bonnet surfacing, has now become a focal point, sweeping from the upper grille through to the front wheel, and in many cases, beyond.
The big gamble with the Giulia is the market positioning. Are people prepared to pay £50K for a new Alfa? Closest in spirit to Jaguar’s new XE, the Giulia has to succeed. If it doesn’t sell in volume Alfa may be another footnote in the history books of great cars that once were.