REVIEW: Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce, by Justin Jacobs
Johannesburg: I recently did something that I have never done in my 12 years of reviewing cars. I attended an Alfa Romeo launch. The wait was well worth it as I got the opportunity to spend some time with not one but two beautiful Italians.
Let’s start with the one I drove first, the updated Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce. The brand has decided to offer only two derivatives of the Giulia. These are the aforementioned model and the sportier QV, the one with the 2.9-litre V6 turbocharged motor.
Here’s the thing, Alfa South Africa has ticked all the boxes on the options sheet for the Veloce (seen here) so that you, the customer, don’t have to. The cars are fully optioned with all the bells and even more whistles.
Let's start with the visual appearance because, my goodness, it is gorgeous!
Look, the design appeal of a car is always subjective but be honest with yourself, the Alfa is beautiful. Every angle is appealing; I particularly like the rear quarter view. The wheels fill the flared arches so nicely. Wait, I also like the side profile, the rear and the front. Okay, I like all the angles.
Driving around, I felt as if I was doing other road users a favour by driving past them and allowing them to witness the car, even if it was for only a moment.
The updated rear bumper includes a new diffuser element with black dual-exit exhaust tips.
The interior is a pleasant place to be. The layout is simple – and that’s a good thing. There is little clutter, which makes interactions with the various elements seamless.
Quality is pretty decent, with soft-touch materials and leather trim throughout the interior. I particularly like the steering wheel and the fact that there are fixed aluminium paddle shifters. They offer a different feel to the plastic ones on many of the competitors. The metal gets cold, it gets warm, it has a tactile feel that adds to the overall experience behind the wheel.
When it comes to infotainment, an 8.8-inch screen has been employed and it is touch operated or can be operated via a rotary dial on the centre console. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on offer, however not wireless. There is a wireless charger, multiple USB ports and dual zone climate control. The driver and passenger seats are electrically adjustable, eight ways. There is also a seven-inch colour display which is nestled between the two analogue gauges of the cluster.
Right, so what about that driving experience?
Well, the Alfa Romeo Guilia Veloce is powered by a 206kW 2.0-litre turbocharged motor with 400 of Sir Isaac Newton’s finest. The ZF 8-speed automatic is also impressive. The shifts, both down and up, are so quick and smooth that the lightest touch on one of the aluminium paddles will change a gear.
Add to that a brilliantly tuned chassis and 50/50 weight distribution and you have the recipe for a car that is relatively fast on the straights and remains composed through the corners. The steering feel is great. In fact, as I left the parking lot, I could tell that the steering was good but it was only until I started exploiting the car’s performance credentials out on the roads in and around the Cradle of Humankind did I realise just how good it all felt.
When you are done driving like a bit of a hooligan, you can use the DNA driving modes (Dynamic, Normal, and Advanced Efficiency) to adjust the vehicle's set-up according to your mood.
After a good day behind the wheel of the Alfa Giulia Veloce, I left the media launch satisfied. The car impressed me, it drove as good as it looks and offered a lot in terms of spec. It is the driving dynamics that left many other motoring scribes and me in agreement. I can’t wait to spend more time with it later on.
If you like what I’m saying here but are over sedans and want the same thing but in SUV guise, don’t worry, Alfa has the Stelvio. I’ll divulge what that is like soon.
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Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0T Veloce
Price: R989 900
Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cyl, turbopetrol
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel drive
Power: 206kW @ 5250rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 2250rpm
0-100km/h: 5.7 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 240km/h (claimed)
Fuel use: 6.0 l/100km (claimed)
Boot space: 480 litres
Warranty: 5-year/100 000km
Maintenance plan: 5-year/100 000km