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Alfa Romeo Giulia

PUBLISHED: 16:18 06 December 2015 | UPDATED: 16:18 06 December 2015

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Archant

Evoking one of the great Alfa Romeo sports saloons, the new Giulia will rock the compact executive car sector.

One of the most evocative names in Alfa Romeo’s memorable history returns in the new year.

‘Giulia’ adorned a series of sporting saloons or, with the addition of ‘Sprint’ or ‘Spider’, several coupes and convertibles.

For now, however, Giulia reappears on a compact executive saloon recalling the famous Type 105 model, which enjoyed a long production run from 1962 to 1978, finding time to be the other star car in that Mini-fest, The Italian Job.

Although scripted as the fall guy in the 1969 film, the Giulia was probably more than capable of dealing with the Minis, being light, fast and manoeuvrable.

They were also much loved by the Italian police and their stern paramilitary counterparts, the Carabinieri, who favoured a dark blue body/white roof livery seemingly chosen for the 105’s lines.

Alfa Romeo could repeat that heyday with the all-new slippery and slick Giulia, and returning to the classic driver’s car, rear-wheel drive layout favoured by that compact executive sector king, the BMW 3 Series. It will also be sold with all-wheel drive (AWD), responding to the 3 Series’ new XDrive format, itself countering the Quattro system used by another sector stalwart, Audi’s A4.

Can Alfa really turn back the clock? The fanbase is there; it’s what has kept Alfa alive during some lean years, but this famous brand must get it more than right this time in terms of reliability and quality – there is the perception that Alfas are troublesome.

But fans can’t say FIAT isn’t backing its famous sporting arm: Giulia is tipped to be the vanguard for eight new Alfas and massive investment over the next three years, with sales expectations of some 400,000 a year – more than five times current levels.

The Giulia will launch with image-building performance models like the Quadrifoglio (four-leaved clover) flagship, featuring an all-aluminium Ferrari-inspired 510bhp 2.9-litre turbo petrol V6 engine, delivering 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds and a maximum of 191mph. But while this grabs headlines, it is mainstream Giulia models that will land the vital volumes against the 3 Series, A4 and Co, so prices will have to start at around £25,000.

The car’s dramatic looks and quality, exotically named colours like Competizione Red, Trofeo White, Vulcano Black, and Montecarlo Blue, plus that legendary kite-shaped grille should then do the rest.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Price: from £32,300

Driving appeal: *****(expected)

Image: *****

Space: ****

Value: *****

Running costs: ****

Reliability: not yet available

How green?: ****

Best rival: BMW 3 Series

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