2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia First Look Review: Should Germany Start To Worry?

First Look / 34 Comments

Probably not, and here's why.

When Alfa Romeo first unveiled the all-new Giulia sedan, they showed only the BMW M3-fighting QV version. Now we finally know what the Giulia will look like in all of its trims. The base model is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 276 horsepower (in the US). This is more than its German rivals, the Mercedes C300 and BMW 328i which both have around 240 horsepower. The QV has even more power than the C63 S and M3 (530 hp to 503 and 425, respectively).

Does this mean that the Germans need to worry? Well, we aren't quite sure anymore. Production delays and allegations that the car can not meet safety standards have continually delayed the Giulia. What ever the real reason is for the delays, we have begun to loose a lot of faith in Alfa Romeo's so-called "triumphant return to the US." Alfa had announced its return back in 2014, and all we have in showrooms so far is a limited production two-seater that no one can afford. All of this lack-of-faith has spilled over onto the Giulia. We were very impressed when the QV was announced, but we are less excited about the base models. In the luxury sedan market, it is very easy to make the most expensive model look great.

Take the BMW 3 Series for example. The M3 looks amazing in Yas Marina Blue and definitely shows people that you have an impressive car. However, a base 320i looks far less impressive, and quite boring. Mercedes-Benz seems to have done the best job of avoiding this pitfall. Even the base C300 looks really good. The Alfa Romeo on the other hand doesn't look quite that nice in its base form. This is obviously subjective, but in certain areas the Giulia looks downright cheap. In Geneva, Alfa brought a white Giulia with grey wheels. Grey wheels can look awesome, like on the F-Sport version of the Lexus GS 350, but Alfa's look a bit junky. They almost look like a bad plasti dip job.

Obviously we aren't going to fault the car just because we don't like one set of wheels. The Giulia should be a good choice for enthusiasts who want a bit of excitement. Alfa Romeo has been quick to point out that the Giulia will be available with rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission on all of its trims. However, after looking at the interior of the base Giulia, we aren't sure how exciting the car is really going to be. When the Giulia QV was unveiled, we were amazed at how good the interior looked with plenty of red stitching and a carbon fiber shifter. But the base model seems to have had its shifter plucked straight from a Dodge Dart. Seriously, look it up and tell us they don't look the same!

These may be very small details that we are worrying about, but they can certainly add up. If the Giulia finally gets released, and Consumer Reports starts writing all about its plastic interior and terrible build quality, then the car won't sell well. Sure the Giulia might still cater to enthusiasts who want something a little more exciting than a base 3 Series, but that isn't the point. If Alfa Romeo wants to stay in the US this time around, they have to make sure that its new lineup cater to everyone. We are very excited to get behind the wheel of the Giulia when and if it ever makes it to our shores. Hopefully when it does Alfa has perfected the formula to make it sell. Otherwise Alfa's long-awaited return may not last very long.

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