There’s been no shortage of digital ink spilled over the impending return of Alfa Romeo to North American shores, with declarations of a grand return being touted all the way back in 2000 when the company entered into a partnership with General Motors. Yes, General Motors.
Now, of course, we know Alfa’s part in Sergio’s grand plan for the House of FCA. Since the introduction of the sinewy Giulia, the hot and unpronounceable Quadrifoglio has gotten all the press. How does a base Giulia stack up at $37,995?
The least expensive of the three Giulias of which one can choose houses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four under its bulbous, Italian hood. All new and made in Italy, the mill zings out 280 horsepower and – by all accounts – sounds grittier and gnarlier than the turbo-fours from Audi or BMW. Sixty mph appears in five and a half seconds. I like my cars with soul, particularly the base models.
Rear-wheel drive is standard in the base Giulia, as is FCA’s eight-speed automatic. Alfa charges a premium for the usual fifty shades of grey but the splendid Rosso Red is a freebie. Choose it. It looks great, as does the matching black/red leather interior combination. Gaudy red brake calipers are a no-cost option. I think they’re fabulous.
Optional packages include fripperies such as a larger-than-stock infotainment screen and driving nannies like adaptive cruise and lane keeping. Save your pennies and leave ‘em on the shelf. The $1,250 Sport Appearance Package is mighty tempting, adding tasty 18-inch aluminium wheels and natty fascias, but the Giulia looks pretty hot right out of the box.
A sub-$40,000 Giulia has the ingredients to be a handler, too. A quick, 11.8:1-ratio in the steering rack translates into a snappy 2.3 turns lock-to-lock, suggesting speedy responses on the back roads. If the four-door Alfa imbues that response with good feedback and road feel, then it won’t be just the Quadrifoglio that gets positive press.
So, a true Ace of Base, then? Not quite. I’d shell out an extra $500 for the fantastic 17-inch, 7-hole Phone Dial rims, which ape the style of those on the eye-watering 4C. Other than that, though, I find a base Giulia quite appealing. It’s a first-year Italian car built in the same plant that used to assemble the Fiat Brava. What could possibly go wrong?
Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.