Review: Alfa Romeo Giulia

18th December 2019
Laura Thomson

Recently, I found myself in the heel of Italy’s boot driving what very much looks like the current Alfa Romeo Giulia. But, as the old adage goes, to judge a book by its cover is not to climb inside and explore its intricacies – or something along those lines…


This is the 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia. That’s right: while it looks remarkably similar to the old Giulia, the Giulia you see here has in fact been updated for the new model year, with a focus on interior quality and comfort with the introduction of new materials and a more driver-centric layout.

Four trim levels will be available in the 2020 model: Super, Sprint, Lusso Ti and Veloce. The former three will be available with either a 200PS petrol or 190PS diesel rear-wheel-drive powertrain, while the flagship Veloce can be specced with either a 280PS petrol or 210PS diesel, both all-wheel-drive. Under the bonnet, very little has changed since the previous iteration – in fact, so little that it didn’t even warrant a mention in the pre-drive press conference.

Having tested out the 280PS petrol in the 2020 Stelvio the previous day, I went for the more conservative and 200PS petrol, with a hint of sportiness from the Sprint trim’s darkened ‘V’ grille surround.

Understandably, after the previous day’s more powerful Stelvio, the Giulia hit with a bit less punch, with the 330Nm of torque peaking early at 1,750rpm and peak power of 200PS at 4,500rpm. It isn’t slow – performance is still quite reasonable – but once you’ve had the extra power it’s hard to settle for less.


As before there are three driver modes: Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency, or ‘DNA’. Dynamic mode, which tightens up the electronic dampers, sharpens the throttle and gearbox response, and adds more eight to the steering, remains the mode for an enthusiastic drive. N is a happy compromise around town, while A dials everything down to dull.

Unlike the Stelvio the previous day, the Giulia feels low and connected to the ground, handling with aplomb at high and low speeds. Unfortunately though, there remains no way of turning the ESP off, a crying shame in a rear wheel drive Alfa – you just can’t adjust the car the way you want to, as at the slightest hint of slip the systems kill the power.


Other electronics, however, have been given a going over. Alfa has introduced a host of new safety measures, including the so-called ‘Level 2 autonomy’ and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). While this suite is not designed to make the car anywhere near fully autonomous, it provides an extra sense of security behind the wheel.

Included in the ADAS suite is active cruise control, blind spot assist and lane keep assist, which not only monitor your position on the road, but also correct the steering so as to avoid collisions. Joining these is traffic sign recognition and intelligent speed control, driver attention assist, traffic jam assist and highway assist. The former operates at speeds up to 60km/h (37mph), while the latter works all the way up to 145km/h (90mph). Traffic sign recognition reads the road signs and alerts the driver to the speed limit, and if they agree adjusts the cruise control speed accordingly, while driver attention assist monitors the driver for drowsiness. The systems are perhaps a little keen, though, with the occasional random, indiscernible beep, even without anything on the dash to indicate the cause.

The functions are all activated via a Bosch front radar and onboard camera, and operated via a cluster of buttons on the left-hand side of the newly-designed steering wheel. While convenient, these buttons have to be pressed in certain combinations to activate various functions, and it’s certainly not advised to learn on the go.

Sitting directly behind the wheel are smooth flappy paddles, while behind that in a new 7-inch TFT instrument display. Clear and concise even on the previous model, this is a welcome update to the now digitally orientated cab. In the centre of the dash is the now-standard 8.8-inch TFT multi-touch display, which is both larger and more accessible than its predecessor. The standard graphics list has replaced by interactive widgets, more similar to a smart phone, which merges well with the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay it hosts. Equally, the maps are no longer vertically restricted by menu bars along the bottom of the screen, allowing for a more comprehensive view of a route.

Another new feature promoting safety is the Alfa Romeo ‘Connected Services’ pack. Operated mainly via a mobile app, it features the ‘my assistant’ emergency function, which automatically contacts the emergency services in case of accident or can be activated manually. The ‘my remote’ app, allowing drivers to unlock their car or activate the lights from a distance, and the ‘my wi-fi’ service, allowing the onboard Wi-Fi to be shared with 8 devices. Joining these functions in 2020 will be the ‘my theft assistance’, which alerts the owner of any attempt to steal the car, and ‘my navigation’, which will search for and navigate to a destination, using real-time traffic, weather and speed camera alerts. (There’s also the app-based car-sharing service ‘I-Link by Leasys’ – more info on that in our Stelvio review.)


Alongside the new dash, there’s a restyled centre console with larger, more accessible storage compartments and wireless charging, a revised gearshift, new interior colours and more tactile materials. The Alcantara leather seats were comfortable and well-bolstered – useful for when you want to make the most of D mode.

The UK price and full specification is yet to be announced, but the cost is expected to be not too far removed from the 2019 Giulia. Given the updated interior and brace of new standard electronic aids and safety features, you’re definitely getting more car for your money.


Alfa Romeo Giulia Specifications

  • Price: TBA
  • Engine: 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
  • Power/torque: 200PS @ 4,500rpm/330Nm (244lb ft) @ 1,750rpm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-62mph: 6.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 143mph
  • Kerb weight: 1,429kg
  • Combined economy: TBA
  • Review

  • Alfa Romeo

  • Giulia

  • Stelvio

  • alfa-romeo-stelvio-quadrifoglio-2021-video-review-goodwood-02022021.jpg


    Video: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

  • alfa-romeo-stelvio-2020-review-main-goodwood-29112019.jpg


    Review: Alfa Romeo Stelvio

  • alfa-romeo-giulia-quadrifoglio-stelvio-quadrifoglio-comparison-joe-harding-main-goodwood-25102019.jpg


    GRR Garage: Stelvio Quadrifoglio vs. Giulia Quadrifoglio