Alfa's new Giulietta will offer much greater practicality than the car it replaces, the 147, according to project engineer Matteo Benedetto.
Rectifying the 147's drawbacks while retaining its verve and style were major goals of the Giulietta's development process. Only a tiny section of floor and a suspension nut have been carried over from the old car, said Benedetto.
But the aim is to please more than the Alfisti, with extended accommodation and a boot that's now as big as you’ll find in a Golf or Focus. "This has got to be a family car," said Benedetto.
Improving ride quality and refinement were priorities, and the Alfa's crash test performance is expected to be class-leading.
A new rack-mounted electric power steering motor is said to sharpen steering feel, while improved body rigidity has helped to contain this Alfa's weight. Although it's heavier than the 147, it is more than 100kg lighter than the new Astra. A magnesium crossbeam behind the dash improves stiffness and cuts the kilos.
The all-new suspension consists of struts up front and a multi-link set-up at the rear, while the 1.4 Multiair engine is among the most impressive in the line-up; it offers 168bhp, but emits 134g/km of CO2.
Inside, the Giulietta offers an appealingly Latin flavour with its elegant seats and faintly retro instruments. But the slightly fussy dash and plasticky door casings look set to fall short of best-in-class standards.