What is it?

Sounds a great idea. The Giulietta 1.4 MultiAir is already a fine car in 168bhp form. Add a double-clutch auto, manipulate the mapping to make the most frugal use of same, see the CO2 output tumble and you have the optimum tax-efficient, fun-sufficient, sporting hatch. Don’t you?

The fiscal world is CO2-obsessed, so an output down from 134g/km to 121 is worth having especially as the outright pace is practically identical. The Fiat-made Twin Clutch Transmission uses dry clutches, as does VW’s smaller DSG does, but here with six forward gears instead of seven. Dry clutches reduce power losses by six per cent over a wet-clutch system, according to Fiat.

What’s it like?

Blipping up and down the gears with the steering wheel paddles, eliciting Alfa-flavoured blats and crackles, is an appealing prospect, but it doesn’t quite happen.

The paddles are an option, for a start. And the blipping is a damp squib, because even in the ‘Dynamic’ mode of the usual Alfa DNA system the accelerator response is soft and the gearshifts – be they manual or automatic – are no crisper than a torque-converter auto’s. The default ‘Natural’ mode is so stodgy as to be pointless.

So there's little gearshifting pleasure to be had, although auto mode is unobtrusively smooth when you're ambling. The ratios are curious, too, with a giant gap between third and fourth.

Should I buy one?

Alfa TCT expert Constantinos Vafidis accepts this car is a 'calibration special', designed to exploit the way official fuel and CO2 figures are measured. The engine is kept in its economy ‘sweet spot’ throughout the tests, the result being great on-paper figures but, as a driving machine, the ruination of a good Alfa.

If you must have a TCT Alfa, buy the identically powerful, 119g/km, much sharper turbodiesel instead.

-John Simister

Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TB 170 Lusso TCT

Price: £21,855; 0-62mph: 7.7sec; Top speed: 135mph; Economy: 54.3mpg combined; CO2: 121g/km; Kerbweight: 1305kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyls, 1368cc, petrol, turbo; Power: 168bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 184lb ft at 2500rpm; Gearbox: six-speed double clutch

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Comments
18

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

More evidence that Macaroni and his henchmen haven't a chuffing clue regarding Alfa. A TwinAir MiTo and now this "calibration special" refreshing honesty from the TCT expert but is this what Alfa owners really now expect from an Alfa? By which I mean bar bragging rights re my C02 output is lower than yours. The end of civilisation as I know it:-(

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

Not surprising, unfortunately. The MiTo TCT is rubbish as well. The FPT transmission just doesn't have the precise, immediate feel of the VAG system. Changing gear on a Golf GTI or Audi TT with DSG/S-tronic is good fun and you can genuinely enjoy driving the car in manual mode virtually all the time if you want to. The FPT system feels like an ordinary torque converter auto but (i.e. - rubbish manual changes) with the added intrusion of start-stop.

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

Zimmerit wrote:
is this what Alfa owners really now expect from an Alfa? By which I mean bar bragging rights re my C02 output is lower than yours. The end of civilisation as I know it:-(
Agreed!

As a Giulietta owner this is a very disappointing review of what could be an excellent car. In my day in sports cars, the trick was about how to get more fuel mixture into the combustion chamber and then how to get the exhaust gases away. An Alfa has always been and should be still a sports car. Therefore power output should be the prime objective with CO2 coming someway second. If you want an economy special, then buy a FIAT.

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

Those figures are amazing! The gearbox must be pretty crap if it lets the rest of the car down.

jer

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

I understood this to be the best engine, personally I'd settle for the gap between 3rd and 4th option the paddles and pick the petrol over the less refined diesel.

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

The TCT in the diseasil Giulietta I am reliably informed is a peach, easily the match of DSG. MiTo 's suffer the same problem as this MA 170 in that the programming favours c02 outputs over anything else not to mention a particularly naff stop/start but at least you can turn that off. My GTA had risible urban fuel economy but pretty good A/B road habits the C02 output was shocking but as NewDevonian pointed out these points were not high on my list of priorities. Unmatched V6, beguiling sound track and to die for looks inside and out were rather more of a 'want one' factor. Call me shallow, selfish ( from a save the planet pov) but being a stranger to my local fuel outlet and promoting bunny populations are not why I buy Alfas.

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

Disappointing indeed. To read that Alfa, of all companies, has succumbed to the temptation to make and market a "calibration special" as the only option (apart from a nasty diesel) for those of us who prefer an automatic of some sort is shameful, and then to admit it as well - that man should hang his head in shame. The danger, of course, with this current obsession with emissions and fuel consumption is that all cars will end up like this, I guess at that stage the only performance vehicles for us ordinary folk will be an electric car that has quick off-the-line linear performance and costs just a £1 to recharge (there's the germ of a conspiracy theory there somewhere, me thinks).


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

Looking for company car purchase I recently drove both a Golf 2.0 TDI 140 DSG and a Giulietta 2.0 JTD 170 TCT. I would say that the VW is better in manual mode but in auto I slightly preferred the Giulietta, it is smoother in city driving but equally quick to respond to gas pedal inputs. In manual mode the gear changes are cleaner in the Golf, that still suffers a little spongy feel in auto mode when slowing down and re-accelerating in typical city driving situation.

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

matsoc wrote:
Looking for company car purchase I recently drove both a Golf 2.0 TDI 140 DSG and a Giulietta 2.0 JTD 170 TCT. I would say that the VW is better in manual mode but in auto I slightly preferred the Giulietta, it is smoother in city driving but equally quick to respond to gas pedal inputs. In manual mode the gear changes are cleaner in the Golf, that still suffers a little spongy feel in auto mode when slowing down and re-accelerating in typical city driving situation.
I believe that the 140 TDi is equipped with the wet clutch 6-speed DSG that is also found in the GTi. That gearbox is indeed sportier than the TCT, but it still has some irritating quirks that are not found in the FPT box. I cannot stand automatic upchanges on the rev limiler, nor a kickdown when in manual mode; that's why it's called manual after all! Alfa's transmission though is better in that respect, as it doesn't change gears, unless the driver gives the order! Thing is though, that one shouldn't compare the 6-speed wet clutch DSG to the TCT. Instead, the 7-speed dry clutch DSG is the natural competitor of the TCT as those two boxes equip rivaling cars (i.e. a Giulietta 170 vs a Golf 160). The TCT though is much better than the 7-DSG! It's sportier, quicker, and still doesn't change cogs without the expressed wish of the driver! Overall, I find this review buffling. All other test I have read praise the TCT for what it is. A Ferrari F1 box it is not, but then again no other gearbox on the planet is! Still it is better than a DSG-7 and not too far behind the sportier DSG-6.

Re: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TCT

2 years 31 weeks ago

matsoc wrote:
Giulietta 2.0 JTD 170
I have the above with the brilliant manual box. Those requiring auto are probably less demanding (lazy?)drivers.

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Our Verdict

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta has its flaws, but its dynamic capabilities and stylish looks are enough to keep it in contention

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