Alfa Romeo Veloce: bringing sexy back
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It has been a long time between drinks for Alfa Romeo in terms of new vehicle releases.
The carmaker’s previous three-box halo sedan, the still-good looking Alfa Romeo 159, ceased production in 2011.
Needless to say, anticipation for Alfa’s new Giulia sedan has been running high ever since concept sketches and car show metal confirmed something every automotive fan hoped would remain true; Alfa Romeo really does know how to design a pretty car.
The Giulia is certainly that. It looks absolutely gorgeous, whether in Veloce or Quadrifoglio trim. The Italians have once again nailed a design that’ll melt hearts, whether you’re actually in the market for a sedan or not.
But here’s the secret; despite being the entry-level model, the Giulia Veloce — which is a full $55,000 less than the “clover leaf” Giulia Quadrifoglio — remains an impressive machine. It looks the part and rewards with some genuinely good on-road performance too.
There’s nothing about this car that feels like it’s the entry-level option. Indeed, anything in its competitor circle (which consists primarily of German metal) would struggle to deliver the same level of specification for the Giulia Veloce’s $80,000 price tag.
Just like the Quadrifoglio, the Giulia Veloce gets Alfa Romeo’s “DNA” drive mode system, which allows you to scroll through Dynamic, Normal and Advanced Efficiency (ie, Economy) settings, depending on your mood.
Thanks to the analogue rotary dial, the system doesn’t default to “Normal” every time you switch the car back on either.
The Veloce’s power comes courtesy of a four-cylinder turbo petrol, rather than the twin-turbo V6 in its big brother.
But the Veloce could never be accused of being slow; its zero-to-100 sprint time of 5.7 seconds feels much faster in reality than it might appear on paper.
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The Veloce rewards inside, with aluminium inserts in the well-appointed dashboard, sports pedals, leather-clad sports seats and a premium-grade 400-watt sound system.
The standard kit available straight off the showroom floor will make some of those aforementioned competitor sedans shrink with shame: satellite navigation, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, privacy glass, active cruise control, reversing camera and plenty more besides.
Look, make no mistake; the Quadrifoglio is a performance car through-and-through, with a massive 375kW peak power on tap and 600Nm of torque from that turbo-assisted V6 (a V6 unique to the Giulia and that Alfa is quick to tell you was co-developed with Ferrari engineers too).
It’s 0-100km/h sprint time is sub-4.0 seconds, which is supercar-quick.
When the model first launched, most early-adopters ran straight towards the top spec Quadrifoglio. Alfa Romeo says it expects the Veloce — with that $80k price point in mind — to eventually become the bigger seller here. I can see why.
Though there is quite a gulf between the two Giulias, both in price point and character, in opting for the first rung on the ladder, no Alfisti will be selling themselves short in terms of the potential for fun with flair.
Oh, and this is just the start of a big product push for the Italian brand.
Though three-box sedans are hardly flavour of the month with the masses, next year will see the release of the manufacturer’s first SUV — the Stelvio — which is already garnering plenty of interest and looks set to shake up things in the supermarket car park.
The Quadrifoglio version of that, which will also play host to Alfa’s 375kW V6, has just become the fastest load-lugger around the north loop of the Nurburgring track in Germany too (its 7:51.7 lap time beating Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo on the same 20km stretch of tarmac).
Alfa Romeo is back, baby.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol (206kW/400Nm)
Pro: Exterior styling, range-topping performance car feature set in a sub-$80k model
Con: The Germans still make for compelling competition