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.
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