Underneath the bonnet lies a turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with 280PS (211kW) and 400Nm (295lb ft) of torque. Performance is actually very commendable, with 0-62mph taking just 5.7 seconds a top speed of 149mph. A Honda Civic Type R, by comparison, has 320PS (231kW) and an identical 400Nm of torque and 0-62mph sprint time of 5.7 seconds. Obviously the Giulia Veloce and the Type R are not rivals, but in performance terms at least those numbers give the Alfa saloon some context.
Press the engine start button, though, and the resulting noise is not an inspiring one. At idle and regular, low-rpm driving the Veloce’s four-pot has an almost diesel-like ring to it. Mercifully, pushing the revs higher improves the soundtrack. There are no dramatic turbocharger whooshes, just a gentle four-cylinder shout.
The gearbox paddles are exceptional, and the eight-speed gearbox itself is not too bad at all. Aside from the odd lurch it’s a smooth operator. A very good feature is that, in manual mode, putting your foot to the floor will not send the gearbox into a panic. Far too many gearboxes, even with ‘M’ selected, will drop you down a gear or two for maximum acceleration. Most of the time I’d rather tell the car what to do, not have the car decide for me. Bravo Alfa.
One reason you might go for the Veloce rather than a standard Giulia is for a more controlled ride, and there is no doubt the Veloce handles better than any of its more lowly siblings. The steering is still just as light and quick (the speed is no bad thing but the weight isn’t particularly reassuring), but the suspension just feels a little more taught. You won’t find the grip of the Quadrifoglio, of course, but when it comes to body control the two cars aren’t a million miles away. Another Bravo for Alfa.
Bury your foot to the floor and the Veloce performs as you’d expect. It isn’t mind-bendingly fast, but there’s more than enough performance to have some fun, and, perhaps more importantly in day-to-day life, complete overtakes with ease.
What holds the Veloce back when it comes to fun, though, is the inability to turn the traction control off. I fully appreciate that speed alone will, for some, equal fun, but with all that power and torque heading to the back wheels but no way of playing with it, I can’t help but think it’s a bit of a missed opportunity. For me, where I expected the Veloce to sit slap-bang in the space between the Quadrifoglio and other normal Giulias, that lack of playfulness and a simple ‘traction control off’ button pushes it more towards ‘normal’.