It is available in two formats - 148bhp and 178bhp - and while the lesser model is inevitably cheaper, it is the higher-powered version tested here that suggests itself as a genuine threat to the segment running order. With efficiency at a claimed 67.3mpg and 109g/km; torque at 332lb ft and the national limit dealt with in less than 7.0sec, the Giulia is (for now) technically superior to the equivalent BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE and Audi A4 across the board.
Neither diesel lump can be had in entry-level format (the £29,180 plain Giulia model is offered only with the 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol motor); making the mid-range Super trim the likely sweet spot. The 177bhp variant starts from £31,950 and comes with sat nav, a DAB radio, 17in alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and cruise control as standard.
What's it like?
We've previously reported a mixed bag when inspecting the Giulia's interior, and that sentiment continues to ring true. Outwardly, it is rather splendid. Anyone half expecting an Italian sense of style to inform the Alfa's cabin ought to be delighted: the dashboard architecture has clearly been arranged with one eye fixed on what might look beautiful - a useful contrast to the purely functional prettiness its northern European rivals achieve.
Were its only requirement to be that you sit and admire it like a Botticelli fresco, then the Giulia would be a triumph. Sadly, it's when the process of driving demands that you engage with your surroundings that the niggles surface like rising damp. Some are merely questionable fit and finish; others, more seriously, are functional - like the seemingly low-rent infotainment screen or the unswitchable stability control or the weirdly unhelpful wiper settings.
Subjectively though, these issues tend to provoke mild dismay rather than outright offence. It’s distressingly easy to forgive the squeak of an ill-fitting cupholder cover when the solid metal paddle shifters look so good or ignore the ridiculous aspect ratio of the 8.8in Connect system because the dash swoops so deliciously low above it.
Such leniency is near impossible to uproot in the evaluation of the Giulia’s driving style either – because here too, in broad strokes, it manages to be compellingly good. The crisp, cultured chassis applauded in Europe arrives in the UK mostly intact, even when saddled here with optional 18in wheels and run flat tyres. Shod thusly, its sophisticated ride quality registers a mite too taut on occasion – but it mostly settles into a wonderfully supple groove, one that eschews the cloying, dull-edged comfort of its major rivals.