Read our review of the Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 MultiAir
Alfa boss Harald Wester says none of its rivals are able to make cars as striking, driver-focused and emotional as Alfa intends to due to its history and strength of the brand. Indeed, he went as far as to say at the Arese unveiling that premium cars today were “boring” and lacked soul. He was also recently quoted as saying German premium models, in particular, were “cold and clinical”.
There was also an admission that Alfa’s recent models have not “respected” the brand’s past and what it stood for, so it “all needed to be rebuilt from the ground up”. “This is a complete renaissance for Alfa”, he added.
The new Alfas have been developed in secret over the past two years at a new dedicated facility away from the main FCA group and any internal pressures of conceptual barriers. Wester said the hand-picked 600 or so staff at the facility, which is understood to be based near Ferrari and Maserati in Modena, Italy, were simply told to “respect the brand, innovate and be revolutionary” in making the next-generation of Alfas.
He added: “These are car enthusiasts making cars for car enthusiasts. In the long run, loving cars makes a difference.”
The Giulia, like all the forthcoming Alfas, is built around a rear-wheel drive architecture (all-wheel drive will be optional in most markets) that’s understood to be loosely derived from the Maserati Ghibli and has claimed best-in-class torsional rigidity.
Making the new models rear-wheel drive was the first decision the skunkworks team took, according to the head of the division Philippe Krief. The Giulia project can be traced as far back as 2009 in various guises, however.
There are few hard numbers confirmed by Alfa at present (FCA boss Sergio Marchionne said reeling off too many stats would make the car seem “cold”), although the firm has revealed some of the mechanical make-up of the car.
The suspension system is all-new and constructed from aluminium. The front suspension is a double-wishbone set-up that includes a new ‘semi-virtual steering axis’ designed to improve steering accuracy, keeping the car accurate and stable at high speeds and allowing precise steering feel even under hard cornering or high lateral acceleration. Unlike the 4C sports car, the Giulia will get a power steering system, which Krief claimed would have “the most direct ratio on the market”.
The rear suspension, which was the first component of the Giulia to be designed, is a new multi-link system, which Alfa calls ‘Alfalink’, allowing for independent control of the wheels from the body. Krief described it as “beautiful, simple and functional”. Electronic adaptive dampers feature all round.
The best-in-class power-to-weight ratio is said by Alfa to be around 3kg per horsepower, meaning the Giulia should weigh in at around 1500kg in Quadrifoglio Verde form. For comparison, the BMW M3 weighs 1580kg.
The Giulia makes extensive use of lightweight materials, including aluminum, carbonfibre, and aluminium and plastic composite. Aluminium is used to construct the suspension, doors, wings, sub-frames, and brake calipers. Carbonfibre is used for the bonnet, roof, prop shaft and front seat structures, and the composite for the rear cross-member. Further weight reduction comes from the use of carbon ceramic brakes on the Quadrifoglio Verde model.