So what sort of platform, product and cutting-edge technology has so many billion euros of investment bought FCA?

The Giulia is certainly a relatively light, advanced and powerful saloon offering the kind of material construction, suspension technology and powertrain sophistication that not only brings it into the compact executive saloon segment in a particularly strong position, but should also allow it to remain competitive with its German rivals for years to come.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
ESP is sensitive in its most imposing mode but can be progressively knocked back until it’s all off

The car’s underbody construction is predominantly steel, with aluminium and composites used in places to save weight. All Giulias get aluminium suspension arms and subframes, cast aluminium suspension towers, aluminium doors and wings and a carbonfibre driveshaft.

The Quadrifoglio version adds a carbonfibre bonnet and roof to that material mixture, as well as a carbonfibre front splitter with active aerodynamic functions.

Alfa Romeo quotes a kerb weight for the Quadrifoglio of 1580kg, which does indeed give it the class-leading power-to-weight ratio for which Alfa aimed, judging by the company’s claims (and ignoring the even more niche-market Vauxhall VXR8 GTS, whose base car, the Holden Commodore, goes out of production this year).

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But a word of qualification here: if the Giulia really is the lightest super-saloon on the block, it probably won’t be by much.

We weighed the car at 1700kg on MIRA’s scales, making it 125kg less than the 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 but also 90kg more than the 2014 BMW M4 DCT.

Holding up the other end of the Alfa’s 318bhp-per-tonne figure is a twin-turbocharged V6 which makes 503bhp at 6500rpm and 443lb ft from 2500-5000rpm. Alfa’s engineers describe the all-aluminium unit as being ‘inspired by’ Ferrari’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8.

The fact that the motors share identical – and slightly oversquare – cylinder bore and stroke measurements, an identical 90deg bank angle, very similar compression ratios and turbochargers supplied by IHI would all suggest the relationship is closer than they’re letting on.

Other features include adaptive dampers, a torque-vectoring rear differential working through a pair of clutches that can send 100 percent of drive to either rear wheel, double-wishbone front suspension, a weight-saving ‘by-wire’ electromechanical braking system and a new Magnetti Marelli central electronic chassis management computer, the function of which is to make the car’s various secondary electronics work in harmony.

It all sounds like the stuff of a car ready to upset the German super-saloon hierarchy.

All UK cars come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and our test car had 19in alloy wheels and carbon-ceramic brake discs fitted as options.

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