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In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon review

"The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a stylish, luxurious and great-to-drive alternative to established executive saloons like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class"

Carbuyer Rating

3.9 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£39,935 - £78,325

Pros

  • Beautiful looks
  • Great to drive
  • Improved infotainment

Cons

  • Limited engine range
  • No manual gearbox available
  • Not the most practical saloon

Verdict - Is the Alfa Romeo Giulia a good car?

The Giulia strikes a good balance between performance, driving fun and comfort, like its Jaguar XE rival, and it certainly beats rivals including the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class for pure driver enjoyment. For this reason, the Giulia will appeal to the keenest drivers in the small executive-car market and is generally a great choice, but does have some downsides. While quality has improved markedly with various updates and the latest facelift, it's still not quite as good as that in some rivals, nor is Alfa’s infotainment system as cutting-edge as we might hope. More crucially, it also lacks a low-emissions version for company car choosers that dominate this part of the market.

Alfa Romeo Giulia models, specs and alternatives

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a very important car for the historic Italian brand. Alfa Romeo was absent from the executive saloon class since the beautiful-but-flawed 159 ceased production in 2011. In its absence, the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, and Audi A4 continued to dominate the field, while the Jaguar XE arrived as another stylish choice.

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It’s pleasing, therefore, that the Giulia has proved itself to be a thoroughly competent executive saloon, which is even good enough to compete with the BMW 3 Series in some areas. The Giulia’s driving experience is impressive, its interior is comfortable, well-built and elegant, while the engines offer performance, economy, or a mixture of the two. Updates in late 2018 made the Giulia even more competitive, tweaking its engines and improving equipment levels, while a more thorough refresh at the end of 2019 tackled the interior, improving quality and connectivity. The latest changes came during a facelift for 2023, with subtle design tweaks and a slimming down of the engines and trim levels on offer.

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In seeking to appeal to keen drivers, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is an agile, sporty rear-wheel-drive saloon offered with powerful engines. The 276bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is currently the only engine available, and in top Competizione trim it enjoys most of the BMW M5-rivalling Giulia Quadrifoglio’s sporty touches, including a similar design of ‘cloverleaf’ alloy wheels. The discontinued 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol was a solid choice, while the now-withdrawn 2.2-litre diesel (offered with either 158 or 187bhp) will be a tempting second-hand choice for many, thanks to its impressive fuel economy. For those after serious performance, we’ve reviewed the 503bhp Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio separately.

Trim levels have changed a few times, with recent versions including Super, Sprint, Lusso Ti and Veloce. The standard equipment was improved across the Giulia range in 2020 to include sat nav, bi-xenon headlights and all-round parking sensors.

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The facelifted 2023 model can be distinguished by distinctive ‘3+3’ headlights in a nod to the iconic Alfa Romeo SZ Zagato. It’s only offered in Sprint, Veloce and Comeptizione trims, with standard kit including 18-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch instrument display and a wireless smartphone charging pad. Veloce adds 19-inch wheels, heated front sports seats and a styling makeover inside and out, while Competizione brings leather interior trim, adaptive suspension and a stereo upgrade.

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