There was a time when you would have expected an Alfa Romeo to have an idiosyncratic driving position, partly due to the swap to right-hand drive and partly due to Alfa not thinking hard enough about such things.
No such dramas today. The Giulia’s seating position is straight and can be near or far and low or high. It has a perfectly sited steering wheel of brilliant size and girth, and which extends further than that of any rival. It’s even pretty round, by the standards of the class.
It probably helped that our test car came with £2950 carbonfibre-backed Sparco seats (we haven’t yet tried a Quadrifoglio without them), but lesser Giulias still have a sound driving environment, which extends to readable dials and mostly logical switchgear.
If you’re looking for the last word in infotainment and connectivity, however, you’ll not find it here, but the heating and ventilation dials are at least straightforward.
On the whole, Alfa Romeo’s latest in-car entertainment, navigation and communications system just about mirrors the best in class: BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI.
It’s as good as neither, it should be noted, but in giving it a twisting, moving and pressure-sensitive knob between two supplemental buttons, it’s controlled in similar fashion. And, you could argue, most of the functionality is there: it has sat-nav, it has a stereo and it links to your phone.
But the truth of it is that the Alfa system is an infotainment-lite set-up compared to the likes of those in an Audi, Mercedes or BMW. There are fewer features and lower-quality graphics. Somehow, though, not too much of this matters.
Materials are mostly fine. There’s carbonfibre in here that looks and feels like the real deal, with quality leather and stitching, but there are some retrograde plastics masquerading as metals, too, which gives the air of an interior from half a decade ago if you’re comparing it to the latest German solidity.
A clichéd finding, perhaps, but still true.
Rear accommodation is fine. Those Sparcos take up a little leg room and present a hard surface for your kids to bang their knees against, but let’s face it, this is a Giulia Quadrifoglio, so you can live with that.
Likewise, although we’d rather not have to, the fact that the rear seats can’t be folded on this version and that the boot’s opening is small and its cavity constricted.
On the Quadrifoglio, all these things are forgiveable; on lesser Giulias they wouldn’t be.