What is it?
Alfa Romeo’s new mid-spec diesel engine for the Giulietta is a crucial addition that the firm needs to get right. But first impressions have us a little concerned.
The 2.0 JTDm-2 gets 140bhp and a healthy 258lb ft of torque. Compare that with the Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi Titanium X’s 161bhp and 251lb ft of torque and it’s off to a fairly decent start. But start the new unit up and you’re in no doubt that it’s the black pump you’ll be visiting. The resulting diesel clatter is intrusive.
What's it like?
As with all Giuliettas, you’re given a choice of three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Dynamic – as well as stop-start. In Dynamic, the throttle response sharpens adequately to put it more on a par with the diesel Focus.
Drive like you did when you were 18 and the subtle whoosh from the oil-burner’s dump valve promises much but delivers little. At 2000rpm the engine hits a flat spot, which frustrates when you’re trying to push on.
Front-end grip, however, is superb and the six-speed manual gearbox has a lovely throw to it, enabling quick and precise shifts – something you need with this particular engine.