Oh Lordy, it's fun. You might imagine that with 'only' 197bhp available, this petrol motor might not be the best fit for the Giulia, but its high-revving nature makes it pleasant to drive. Plus, its exhaust note - fizzy is the best way to describe it - gives accelerating a real sense of occasion - enough so that you won't miss the extra low-down pull of the diesel. Getting up to motorway speeds feels fast; sure enough, this Giulia's 0-62mph sprint time of 6.6sec is faster than the aforementioned 320i's 7.2sec.
Helping this is the Giulia's 8-speed automatic gearbox, which provides quick changes up and down the range. Taking control yourself via the Giulia's paddle shifts means you can keep the revs in their peak power range for longer if required, and when making quick progress this helps the Giulia to feel involving. The steering is light at first, but weights up nicely with speed and there is some feedback to be felt too. The Giulia is quick to turn in, and maintains its calm poise through corners.
The ride is on the firmer side of comfortable, but never to the point of becoming annoying, and the passive dampers bring a real feeling of control.
When we drove this Giulia abroad, we called its mix of talents a 'revelation', and that's what it feels like back on home turf too - certainly, the Alfa Romeo is more fun to drive quickly than its BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz counterparts, even if the Jaguar XE has the ultimate dynamic edge. Like the XE, though, the Giulia inspires confidence when driving quickly - yet it can remain calm and composed at the touch of a button.
In fact, the changes brought to the car when selecting through Alfa's DNA driving system are marked. Dynamic brings better throttle response and a louder exhaust note, Natural is perfect for commuting in town, while Advanced Efficiency is ideally suited to the motorway, and significantly dulls the throttle.
There are quibbles, though. The interior is nicely appointed and well equipped, but there are cheap-feeling plastics and buttons to be found, particularly around the lower edges of the console. And the new infotainment system (hidden behind a satin black panel) can de decidedly dim-witted. Rear access, too, is hindered by the car's sloping roofline, but in fairness, once you're seated, there's enough room for adults in the front and back. Plus, when at motorway speeds, a reasonable amount of wind and road noise finds its way into the cabin.