Alfa Romeo is declaring war on German's luxury brands with its all-new Giulia flagship.
The top selling cars of Audi, BMW and Mercedes are described as "cold, technological, boring products with zero emotion" in Italy today by the man who is leading the - latest - rebirth of the historic Italian brand.
"Premium cars today are cells designed to separate you from the world and the road. Premiumness has become another product. A sea of indifference," says Harald Wester, CEO of Alfa Romeo.
The Giulia flagship has a twin-turbo V6 engine and rear or all-wheel drive
"The new Alfa Romeos put the driver back at the centre. It's never just a machine. It must be an extension of a driver's soul."
The Giulia looks good and has impressive numbers, headlining an $8 billion investment program that will create eight all-new products with the objective of lifting global sales from less than 68,000 in 2014 to more than 400,000 by 2018.
There is little fine detail beyond a preview of the Giulia flagship, which has a twin-turbo V6 engine and rear or all-wheel drive to tackle the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 performance sedans.
But the Giulia is totally upstaged at its unveiling at the Arese headquarters of Alfa Romeo by a true Italian icon, opera singer Andrea Bocelli.
The blind superstar gets a standing ovation as he performs Nessun Dorma from Turandot while the Giulia is driven on stage behind him, but he shows his own feeling about cars in one sentence.
"I used to listen every day for the sound of my father's car coming home," he tells an audience of more than 500 hardened motoring commentators.
Right-hand drive cars will not be ready for Australia until the third quarter of 2016
He is followed by the man who provided the drive and the cash for the Alfa comeback plan, Fiat Chrysler Automobile boss Sergio Marchionne.
"It's no mystery that Alfa is one of the projects that I have been most involved in. It's been crying out for revenge. Giving voice to the real Alfa Romeo was a moral imperative," Marchionne says.
Trial production of the Giulia has already begun but right-hand drive cars will not be ready for Australia until the third quarter of 2016 and there is no confirmation yet of any models below the QV flagship.
The Giulia was created from scratch in only two years, using a 'Skunkworks' program similar to the Lockheed-Martin jet fighter project in the USA in the 1940s. It's a four-door sedan that's promised to drive like a sports car, with benchmark quality for an Italian car, and even a new Alfa Romeo badge that's been updated for the 21st century.
"The brand is on the verge of re-taking its rightful position in the market. It will once again be one of the leading symbols of Italian engineering and style," says Marchionne.