Giulia Veloce: Alfa’s sibling rivalry
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At first glance you have to feel slightly sorry for Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Veloce as it has to compete with its V6 sibling, the Quadrifoglio. But don’t feel too sorry for the Veloce because this is a sports car in its own right.
The Veloce joined Alfa Romeo Giulia’s top-performing Quadrifoglio in New Zealand recently as the brand undergoes a revamp here.
Parent company Fiat Chrysler Group had spent €5 billion (NZ$8.2b) on revitalising the brand with the all new platform, Girogio; the Italian marque has used that to create the Giulia four-door sedan, and to be followed by the Stelvio compact SUV on sale early next year.
The Quadrifoglio went on sale here this year from $134,990 for the Ferrari-inspired V6 biturbo 2.9-litre petrol-engine rear-wheel-drive with an eight-speed automatic. It has power output of 375kW and torque of 600Nm.
The Veloce is from $79,990 and has a two-litre, four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, producing 206kW of power and 400Nm of torque — it also has the eight-speed automatic.
All Giulia models have the same standard equipment, leather upholstery, alloy wheels, biXenon headlamps, keyless go, stop/start technology, satellite navigation, dual zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
There’s also an integrated 8.8-inch central infotainment screen heated and electrically-adjustable leather sports seats, and a multi-function leather sports steering wheel with paddles.
The Giulia has also gained a five-star EuroNcap rating thanks to its blind-spot monitoring, eight airbags, lane-departure and forward collision warnings, and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian recognition.
“The Veloce provides the Giulia with a superb entry price point but also shares in full the unique style, exclusivity and unbridled Italian passion that Alfa Romeo endows all its models with and it is still very much a performance sedan,” said Alfa Romeo NZ’s chief executive officer, David Smitherman.
Alfa Romeo NZ is revamping the brand here, promoting it as a premium brand to take on the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.
“There is a whole rebirth of the brand,” said Smitherman. He says quality control is important to Alfa Romeo.
Finished cars are tested at the Cassino factory, and then again when they land in New Zealand, as well as at the dealership.
The distribution company is also reviewing its network of dealerships in New Zealand, with an announcement to be made next week.
Whatever dealership the Veloce sits in, it should get the same attention as the Quadrifoglio.
With the V6 Quadrifoglio you are liable to annoy the neighbours if you start work early, due to its thumping engine, and it loves to be driven fast. Driver’s licence-losing fast.
But sit inside the Veloce, push the start button and you get all the technology and styling of the Quadrifoglio, and still keep your licence.
I had initially wanted the Quadrifoglio for the week-long test but the demonstration model was on dealer duty around New Zealand. After just an hour behind the Veloce’s wheel I wasn’t disappointed in this model.
The Veloce looks just as stylish and sporty as the Quadrifoglio and had many heads turning as I drove it around Auckland city.
It sits well on the road in city driving and at high speeds it feels secure. The chassis and suspension work well together and the Veloce feels solid in Natural mode.
But for more fun on open country roads, move into Dynamic mode and you get sportier steering and more forceful cornering.
There are a few niggle points, however. Despite being 4643mm-long, the rear seat is snug and it’s more of a genuine four-seater rather than five-seater with a small rear seat and tight head and leg room.
It took three attempts to pair my phone, and as I change cars two to three times a week I think I’m a pro at it.
The Veloce is nearly half the price of the Quadrifoglio but it’s not half the car compared with the V6 and is great as an everyday commuter.
The Giulia deserves to be compared to other premium brands as it is truly an all-new Alfa.
Alfa Romeo Guilia Veloce
Engine: 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol (206kW/400Nm)
Pro: Sports car in looks, performance
Con: Snug rear seat