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Alfa Romeo Giulia Super petrol 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
8.3
Alfa Romeo has a legendary racing heritage, but in more recent times it picked up a reputation for quality issues and questionable reliability. But that was before the Giulia Super arrived.

I could tell by the way my mother was staring at me across the kitchen that she thought I'd lost my mind.  She just kept saying. over and over, "But you said never buy an Alfa...".

I had, many times. See, while Alfa Romeo has a legendary racing heritage, in more recent times it had picked up a reputation for quality issues and questionable reliability. But that was before the Giulia Super arrived. 

It was time for Mum's million-year old German prestige sedan to go and for her to get something new. I was throwing the Giulia in the mix of cars to consider, alongside a BMW 320i or Mercedes-Benz C200.

My dad was already sold on it, but he's the romantic, and is known for coming home with boats we never use, fencing swords, and books on alpaca farming. Mum is different; rational.

Maybe the story of the Prince would work? Have you heard it? He wasn't actually a prince, his real name was Roberto Fedeli, and he was Ferrari's chief engineer. But he was so exceptionally talented he earned the nickname, The Prince.

  • That plunging V-grille and narrow headlights - it adds up to an emotional yet sensible looking beast. (Image credit: Richard Berry) That plunging V-grille and narrow headlights - it adds up to an emotional yet sensible looking beast. (Image credit: Richard Berry)
  • At 4643mm long it's 10mm shorter than the 320i and 43mm less than the C200. (Image credit: Richard Berry) At 4643mm long it's 10mm shorter than the 320i and 43mm less than the C200. (Image credit: Richard Berry)
  • There also seems to be more than a bit of BMW and Benz mirroring going on in that side profile. (Image credit: Richard Berry) There also seems to be more than a bit of BMW and Benz mirroring going on in that side profile. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

In 2013, the head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Sergio Marchionne, could see Alfa was in major trouble so he hit pulled the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency lever, and called in The Prince. Fedeli said Alfa could be fixed – but it would need people and money. Eight hundred designers and engineers, plus five billion euros later, the Giulia was born.

The Super grade with the petrol engine tested here isn't the fastest or the most prestigious in the Giulia range. So, what's so great about it? And why on earth would I be suggesting it relative to such excellent offerings from BMW and Benz? Had I lost my mind?

Alfa Romeo Giulia 2017: SUPER PETROL
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$44,950

Is there anything interesting about its design?  8/10

The Giulia Super looks gorgeous. That long bonnet with the plunging V-grille and narrow headlights, the set-back cabin and upright windscreen, the chunky C-pillars and the short rear deck – it adds up to an emotional yet sensible looking beast.

I love how the screen is set flush into the dash panelling. (Image credit: Richard Berry) I love how the screen is set flush into the dash panelling. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

There also seems to be more than a bit of BMW and Benz mirroring going on in that side profile, and the Giulia Super's dimensions nearly match the Germans, too. At 4643mm long it's 10mm shorter than the 320i and 43mm less than the C200; but at 1860mm across it's wider by 50mm than the BMW and Benz and shorter than both in height, by about 5mm.

The Giulia Super's cabin is elegant, plush and modern. The Super grade brings the leather stitched dash and the wood trim, plus the more premium leather upholstery in the seats. I love how the screen is set flush into the dash panelling and not just a tablet that sits on top like so many other cars. I also like small touches such as the start button on the steering wheel – just like a Ferrari.

I'd never opt for the light-coloured interior, regardless of how nice it looks. It started getting dirty with me just looking at it.

How practical is the space inside?  8/10

The Giulia is a four-door five-seater sedan with enough legroom in the back for (191cm tall) me to sit comfortably behind my own driving position, with room to spare. The optional sunroof fitted to our test car does reduce headroom, but at 480 litres the Giulia's boot is enormous and matches the cargo capacities of the 320i and C200.

Storage throughout is good with two cupholders up front and another pair in the fold down armrest in the back. There are small pockets in the doors and a decent sized centre console bin.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?  9/10

The four grade Giulia line-up kicks off at $59,895. The petrol version of the Super sits on the second rung in the range and lists for $64,195. That's just undercut by rivals such as the BMW 320i in 'Luxury Line' trim ($63,880) and Mercedes-Benz's C200 ($61,400).

The Super, while not a weapon like the Quadrifoglio, is an outstanding drive. (Image credit: Richard Berry) The Super, while not a weapon like the Quadrifoglio, is an outstanding drive. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

The Giulia Super boasts a similar standard features list to the BMW and Benz. There's an 8.8-inch display with reversing camera, sat nav, eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, power adjustable heated front seats, active cruise control, bi-xenon headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels.

There's also an excellent suite of standard advanced safety equipment.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  9/10

The Giulia Super we tested had the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. That's the same engine as the base-spec Giulia, with an identical output of 147kW of power and 330Nm of torque. Alfa Romeo says the Super, with its different throttle mapping, is half a second faster in the 0-100km/h sprint, with a time of 6.1 seconds. With more power and torque than the 320i and C200 the Super is more than a second faster to 100km/h.

The Giulia has enough legroom in the back for (191cm tall) me to sit comfortably. (Image credit: Richard Berry) The Giulia has enough legroom in the back for (191cm tall) me to sit comfortably. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

There's a diesel Super with less power and more torque, but we haven't tested this car yet.

The transmission is a beauty – an eight speed automatic that's smooth and responsive.

If you want insane sledgehammer power there's the top-of-the-range Quadrifoglio with its 375kW twin-turbo V6

Now this isn't the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the line-up – the Veloce grade above the Super has a 206kW/400Nm version, but you'll need to pay more to step up to this level.

The Super's powerplant is absolutely going to make most of you happy, not just in off-the-mark acceleration, but in the way it works so well with this automatic transmission. The combination makes it feels as though the grunt is always there under your foot ready to use.

The Giulia Super we tested had the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. (Image credit: Richard Berry) The Giulia Super we tested had the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

If you want insane sledgehammer power there's the top-of-the-range Quadrifoglio with its 375kW twin-turbo V6, but you have to part with about $140,000. Stick to the Super, then?

How much fuel does it consume?  8/10

Alfa Romeo says the combined fuel economy of the Giulia Super is 6.0L/100km. In reality, after a week and 200km of country roads and urban commutes the trip computer was reporting 14.6L/100km, but I wasn't trying to save fuel at all, even if I did have the stop-start system activated at times.

What's it like to drive?  9/10

When I drove the top-of-the-range Giulia Quadrifoglio I knew BMW's M3 and Mercedes-AMG's C63s were in danger – the car felt that good, in its ride, handling, grunt and refinement.

The Super, while not a weapon like the Quadrifoglio, is an outstanding drive, too, and its rivals such as the BMW 320i and Benz C200 should be afraid.

With more power and torque than the 320i and C200, the Super is more than a second faster to 100km/h. (Image credit: Richard Berry) With more power and torque than the 320i and C200, the Super is more than a second faster to 100km/h. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

The Super feels light, pointable, and agile. The suspension tune is excellent – a little too soft perhaps, but the ride is deliciously comfortable, yet the handling is impressive, too.

That four-cylinder petrol engine delivers it's mumbo through the eight-speed auto beautifully. You can let the auto shift for you or grab those enormous metal paddles and do it yourself.

That engine note verges on hot-four territory when you boot it

The Super has three drive modes – 'Dynamic', 'Natural' and 'Advanced Efficiency'. I skip the efficiency setting and go to Natural for the city, and Dynamic if I'm on the open road (or in the city, and in a hurry) where the throttle response is sharpened and gears are held for longer.

That engine note verges on hot-four territory when you boot it with all that drive going straight to the back wheels, and the grip is fantastic.

At 480 litres the Giulia's boot is enormous. (Image credit: Richard Berry) At 480 litres the Giulia's boot is enormous. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

Finally the steering – smooth, accurate, with great turn in.

Any niggles? This is an Alfa, right? Well, no. Only normal niggles, such as the reversing camera screen being too small, although the picture quality is excellent. The B-pillar is also close to the driver and does a good job of getting in the way of over-the-shoulder vision.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 150,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  8/10

The Giulia has not been tested by ANCAP, but its European equivalent EuroNCAP gave it the maximum five-star rating. Along with eight airbags there's an impressive amount of standard advanced safety equipment, including AEB (which works at up to 65km/h), blind spot and rear-cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning.

There are three top tethers and two ISOFIX points in the back row.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  7/10

The Giulia is covered by Alfa Romeo's three-year/150,000km warranty.

Servicing is recommended annually or every 15,000km, and is capped at $345 for the first service, $645 for the second visit, $465 for the next, $1295 for the fourth and back to $345 for the fifth.

Pricing Guides

$55,435
Based on 16 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$44,950
Highest Price
$67,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $41,030 – 48,290 2017 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA 2017 (base) Pricing and Specs
QUADRIFOGLIO (QV) 2.9L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $96,800 – 111,320 2017 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA 2017 QUADRIFOGLIO (QV) Pricing and Specs
SUPER DIESEL 2.1L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $45,650 – 53,130 2017 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA 2017 SUPER DIESEL Pricing and Specs
SUPER PETROL 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $44,950 – 67,990 2017 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA 2017 SUPER PETROL Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8.3
Design8
Practicality8
Price and features9
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption8
Driving9
Safety8
Ownership7

“The Giulia Super is excellent in almost every way – ride and handling, engine and transmission, looks, practicality, safety. The price is a smidge higher than rivals, but the value is still great. Nobody who loves cars wants Alfa Romeo to become an extinct species, and over the years many Alfas have been hailed as 'the one' which will save the Italian brand from going down the plug hole.”

Would you choose a Giulia over a BMW 320i or Benz C200? Has Richard has lost his mind? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$44,950

Lowest price, based on 6 car listings in the last 6 months

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