The Alfa Romeo Giulia is the car that is meant to reverse Alfa’s fortunes and bring them back to the glory days. With the arrival of the Stelvio SUV in the autumn, Alfa Romeo looks to be finally getting their act together.

To recap, the Alfa Romeo Giulia picks up where the 159 left off as Alfa’s compact executive saloon contender. This is tough territory with the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 being the household names.

Yet the new Alfa Romeo Giulia can argue a good case. The Giulia sits on an all-new rear wheel drive architecture that promises dynamic handling matched with classic Italian good looks. Could this be enough to have them leaving their German saloons in droves for a slice of the panettone?

Up front, there’s no mistaking the deep, plunging Alfa V-shaped grille. The Giulia plays the role of a sporty saloon very well, hugging the ground exceptionally well. The styling is a bit more generic at the back but the Giulia still looks exotic in the company of competitors.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Review Ireland
The Alfa Romeo Giulia looks exotic parked beside competitors

Inside, this is the best interior I’ve seen in an Alfa Romeo for years. Alfa seems to have aimed for a more simplistic design, like the one in the new Audi A4. The quality still feels a little behind the best in class in some places. Infotainment is provided via the UConnect™ 6.5-inch display with rotary pad control on the basic model, with an 8.8-inch screen on higher spec models.

There is seating for five though realistically only two will be comfortable in the back because of the large transmission tunnel, but the boot holds a healthy 480 litres.

There is a range of new, all-aluminium engines for the new Giulia. In Ireland, the majority of buyers are going to go for the 2.2-litre diesel with 150 or 180hp, or maybe take a look at the 2.0-litre turbo petrol with 200hp. Petrol models start at €40,395, while diesels start at €39,995. There are also the Veloce and the Quadrifoglio models, but they are more high performance.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Review Ireland
The interior of the Alfa Romeo Giulia

Standard equipment is good including 17” alloys, dual-zone climate control, 3.5-inch TFT colour display, rear parking sensors, automatic light/rain sensors, cruise control, leather steering wheel and ignition start button. ‘Super’ models start from €41,995 and add an 8.8-inch infotainment system with navigation, split screen function and DAB radio. There’s also an electro-chromic auto-dimming rear view mirror, a 7-inch TFT display, aluminium door sills as well as leather and cloth seat trims available in three colour options.

Alfa Romeo Ireland is offering the Super Sport and Super Lux trims for the same price: €42,166. The Giulia Super Sport has 18-inch alloy wheels, painted brake calipers, dark tinted privacy glass and Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs. Inside the leather seats are available in three colour options, and there’s a sports leather steering wheel, aluminium pedals, brushed aluminium effect centre console and door moulding inserts, and steering column-mounted gear shift paddles.

The Giulia Super Lux has a rear view camera, adaptive cruise control, power folding exterior mirrors, leather upholstery, Bi-Xenon headlights and 18-inch ‘Luxury’ design alloy wheels.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Review Ireland
The Alfa Romeo Giulia has a range of new, all-aluminium engines

My car was the Super Sport with the 2.2-litre diesel with 180hp (€43,966) and it feels more than adequate here with 0-100kmh achieved in just 7.1 seconds. There is some diesel gurgle at idle but it’s very refined at speed. All Giulia’s come with an 8 speed automatic gearbox and it’s a very smooth operator.

The Giulia feels very light and agile on the road and it corners beautifully owing to that new rear wheel drive layout. The steering is also super quick and direct. It’s very quiet in the cabin, as a premium car should be, and the ride quality is excellent too.

The Alfa Romeo Giulia has been one of the most anticipated new cars in years and it is a very seductive car – not just because of the way it looks, but also because it’s really nice to drive as well. The interior lets it down a bit because at this price range it really needs to be of higher quality. But lots of people still love Alfa Romeo cars and on balance the Giulia is still a highly desirable compact executive saloon!

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Review Ireland
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a highly desirable compact executive saloon

Model Tested: Alfa Romeo Giulia Super Sport 2.2JTD 180hp
€43,966 (Range starts at €39,995)
2.0-litre turbo diesel
Torque: 450Nm
 7.1 seconds
Top speed: 230kmh
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
€190 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a compact executive saloon you might also like this review of the Audi A4.