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Making of an Icon

Most people think of Alfa Romeo as the company that made the car Dustin Hoffman drove in The Graduate, but true car fans know Alfa Romeo is more than that. The Giulia is the sports sedan gearheads have been waiting for. It’s got dramatic styling, a poised chassis, and was built first and foremost to be a driver’s car. A special Quadrifoglio model will also pack a Ferrari-developed engine. Now that sounds like the makings of a new icon.

Powertrains and Performance

The standard powertrain for the 2019 Giulia is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 280 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque. All of that power is harnessed by an eight-speed automatic transmission and sent to the rear wheels. Yes this is the standard powertrain, yes it will still launch from 0 to 60 in an astonishing 5.1 seconds, and yes it can still hit a face-melting top speed of 149 mph. If you're impressed with those numbers, wait until you see what's next.

The top-of-the-line Quadrifoglio variant is aimed squarely at sports sedans like the BMW M3 and comes armed for that fight with some high-caliber weaponry. Under the hood sits a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 developed in collaboration with engineers from Ferrari. It produces an astounding 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful production Alfa Romeo engine ever. That also means this twin-turbo V6 produces as much horsepower as the 7.0-liter V8 in the recently departed Chevy Camaro Z/28. Alfa Romeo claims this gives the Quadrifoglio a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio of 7 pounds per horsepower, and weight is evenly distributed between the front and rear axles, as is power thanks to the innovative Q4 all-wheel drive.

Alfa Romeo says the Giulia Quadrifoglio will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 191 mph. It also claims the Quadrifoglio turned a 7:39 lap of the Nürburgring Nordschliefe, the infamous German racetrack that’s become a yardstick for production-car performance. That’s the fastest time ever for a production four-door sedan, according to Alfa Romeo.

Features and Trims

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a four-door, five-seat sedan available in base, mid-level Ti, and high-performance Quadrifoglio variants. Alfa Romeo offers the Giulia with a fairly generous complement of standard features, including 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires; Bi-xenon projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, taillights and ambient lighting; a 7-inch TFT info screen; and a 6.5-inch radio screen with voice recognition that includes AM/FM/HD Radio™, Bluetooth®, and an eight-speaker audio system.

The Ti steps things up with luxury enhancements such as dark gray oak wood trim, heated front seats and steering wheel, and front park assist sensors. The ultra-deluxe Quadrifoglio adds a high-performance Brembo® brake system, navigation system with an 8.8-inch display screen, eight-way power adjustable leather and simulated suede performance front seats, and driver assistance features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

In addition, owners can customize their Alfa Romeo Giulia with a number of standalone options and available packages. For instance, the Sport Appearance package provides a makeover for the base model that includes unique front and rear fascias; 18-inch wheels; gloss black window trim; and red, yellow, or black painted brake calipers. The Driver Assistance packages let you add some of the Quadrifoglio's advanced safety technologies to the base model, while the Ti has access to Sport, Lusso, and Performance packages to fit your unique driving preferences.

Design

The notion of emotional Italian styling always seems to be a tired cliché, until another stylish Italian car comes along. The Giulia exists in a segment dominated by German luxury brands and their restrained design language, but its looks can put sports cars to shame.

The Giulia looks like a concept car come to life; in fact, it’s hard to believe a car that looks this good could really be a practical four-door. The overhangs are short and the wheel arches tighten over the rims like well-built muscles, giving the Giulia an aggressive stance. The traditional “shield” grille and sleek headlights give the car a face that’s instantly identifiable as Alfa Romeo. The Giulia also manages an impressive 0.32 drag coefficient, thanks in part to an active front splitter.

On the inside, the Giulia is uncompromising. An asymmetrical instrument panel puts the focus on the driver, and a Formula One-inspired three-spoke steering wheel is the perfect instrument for helming this driving machine. To give the cabin an upscale feel, Alfa Romeo splurged for plenty of real carbon fiber and aluminum trim, plus accent stitching on the leather-covered parts, including French stitching on the dashboard.

Combining the best of both worlds, the instrument cluster includes a 7.0-inch driver information display sandwiched between two white-on-black analog gauges. The Giulia Quadrifoglio also gets the automaker's new 3D Navigation system, with an 8.8-inch display screen. This system includes “performance pages” that show vehicle data and telemetry and is controlled through the rotary pad gesture recognition system. Simply moving a finger over the pad allows the driver to access different functions.

The Quadrifoglio’s standard leather and Alcantara sport seats should provide plenty of support during enthusiastic driving, but truly hardcore drivers can also opt for Sparco racing seats. They have even more aggressive bolstering than the standard seats, and their carbon-fiber shells also reduce weight.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, rearview camera with dynamic grid lines, and a full array of airbags. Optional features include autonomous emergency braking, front and rear park-assist sensors, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.

Alternative Options

The Italian lifestyle knows no bounds. If you want all performance and ultralight speed, then look no further than the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. This little predator spins a web of horsepower thanks to a carbon fiber and aluminum monocoque chassis, offering an incredible power to weight ratio. If you want versatility and utility in addition to unstoppable power, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the luxury SUV that has it all. You'll get expansive refinement and comfort inside while getting outrageous capability and speed from under the hood.

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Image Credit: Alfa Romeo