► The new Alfa Romeo Giulia is here
► Public debut at 2015 Frankfurt show
► Target: 3-series, C-class, XE, A4...
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio has made its public debut on its rivals’ home turf in Germany. The new rear-wheel-drive Alfa saloon is one of the highlights of this year’s Frankfurt motor show.
Five Alfa Giulias are on show in Frankfurt, all displayed in a different colour with varying trims and engines replicating the options available to future customers.
First unveiled in June 2015
The new Alfa Romeo Giulia was first unveiled in June at a special event in Milan. It's the long-awaited successor to the 159 compact exec - a sector the Italians have, rather shockingly, been absent from for four years since the demise of the 159. It goes on sale in autumn 2016.
This is an important car: a test of whether minnow Alfa can still cut it against the German big boys; a test of whether Fiat group CEO Sergio Marchionne's strategy is all pie-in-the-sky or credible; and a test of whether there's still any magic in that evocative badge - in Europe and, importantly, the US of A too. A badge that has been given a makeover to mark this new chapter in Alfa's ambitions (see it in our picture lower down this page).
They're not hanging around: the Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio
To prove the point that this car has sportiness baked into its soul, Alfa showed the new Giuilia in red-hot Quadrifoglio 'Cloverleaf' spec. And that is pretty rapid indeed, powerful enough to make a BMW M3 wince.
We've posted extra pictures from the world debut in Milan - and some grabs from the Alfa Romeo video of the car tearing around the test track. Watch it lower down this page.
This car sports 503bhp from a turbocharged all-aluminium V6 'with Ferrari technologies', meaning 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds. And Alfa claims it'll handle like Alfas of old, with 50:50 weight distribution, 'the most direct steering on the market' and an emphasis on sporting fun rather than Teutonic stodge.
No other, lower-powered engines have been confirmed yet, but CAR understands the following powerplants are lined up for more humdrum Giulias:
- 2.0 4cyl petrol In 178bhp, 247bhp and 326bhp tune
- 2.2 4cyl diesel In 133bhp, 178bhp and 207bhp tune
- 3.0 V6 diesel 335bhp
As CAR magazine first revealed, the Giulia project was sent back to the drawing board to ditch the front-drive chassis originally proposed; instead it is based upon an iteration of the Maserati Ghibli architecture - meaning it's rear-wheel drive with the option of 4wd. Alfa makes big claims about the fun of this car, and vows the twin-clutch-operated torque vectoring system will be used for titillation not merely nannying.
Drivers can choose to set the adaptive suspension up for Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficient (with Alfa's first cylinder deactivation system) and Racing on the Cloverleaf versions. This will even adapt the front aero, with active airflow systems to squash the Giulia into the road at high speeds; there's a hint of this happening in the video below.
Composite construction for Alfa's 3-series
In a surprise twist, Alfa has revealed that the new Giulia will use lightweight materials including composites - usually the preserve of more expensive cars. The new 2015 BMW 7-series has only just introduced carbonfibre-reinforced plastic elements in the luxury bracket, but the Italians are now using carbonfibre and aluminium in the compact exec set. The bonnet, roof, propshaft and seat frames are made of composite, the wings and doors are aluminium and you can even order the faster Giulias with carbon brakes. Result? Lighter weight and claimed class-bests for power-to-weight and torsional rigidity.
It's all part of a new mantra called la meccanica delle emozioni - the mechanics of emotion. Think of it as a call-to-arms for the company that is taking aim at the German giants and trying to stand out. Ring any bells? Sounds like Jaguar's rallying cry for the new, aluminium-intensive XE compact exec.
Marchionne on the new Giulia
'The new Giulia is the first model of an Alfa Romeo which is once again pure and authentic,' group boss Marchionne told CAR editor Phil McNamara and other journalists, reporting live from the car's initial unveil at Arese. 'It is the quintessential example of what people expect from such a prestigious brand.'
He revealed that Alfa used a skunkworks team to quarantine the engineers during the programme. 'This made it possible to concentrate all the skills in one place and reduce development times,' he added. 'But there was a more profound reason: for such a revolutionary project, we needed the team to start with a clean sheet of paper, unobstructed by existing rules and structures.'
The Giulia is key to unlocking the CEO's punchy goals for Alfa Romeo. He wants to boost today's sub-80,000 units worldwide to 400,000 by 2018, an aim many analysts remain sceptical of. But he's undertaking a similar resurgence at Maserati with some success, so we wait to see how the Alfa project goes.
Inside the new Alfa
An 8.8in TFT display controls the Alfa's infotainment system, with integrated voice recognition if you don't want to waste time moving your hand towards the rotary pad, and fluent smartphone connectivity. It's joined by an F1-style, button-heavy steering wheel.
And, finally, here is the new Alfa Romeo badge, updated for its 105th birthday. You can sense how big a relaunch the Giulia represents to the company. Let's hope all the fizz and PR spin has real substance behind it. Competition in the compact sporting saloon sector has never been more fierce...