“Forget the rest” is a horse racing commentator’s phrase that, in the final furlongs, implores you to ignore the also-rans and concentrate solely on the runners who could win.
I was reminded of it when thinking of cars on sale today that would be better to drive than the Alfa Romeo Giulia ‘Quattroformaggio’ on a journey home from Wales. It was an alarmingly short list.
You know Wales. Or you’ll have seen it in the pictures: scenic; not so far away; lots of water. If you drive in anywhere than at the bottom, you’ll do it, as I did, on A- or B-roads, not motorway. The sat-nav took me on a lightly used, very bendy single carriageway that I hadn’t driven before. And it was wonderful.
But the car was better. Recent Fiats and Alfas have been so underwhelming that it’s temptingâ€¨ to believe it ended up this way by accident, until you remember the Giulia’s chief engineer worked on the Ferrari 458. The Giulia is impeccably balanced, sprung, damped. It has the poise of a Ford Fiesta ST but the absorbance of a Mercedes E-Class. It steers all of smoothly, accurately and quickly, but not numbly or nervously.
Caveats? Oh hell yes. The Giulia’s gestation period was incredibly short. So short, some said it couldn’t be done. Customer satisfaction surveys won’t feature Giulias for a while yet, but we’ve had niggles with cars, sister magazines have had niggles with cars and, loath though I am to admit their existence, rival magazines have had issues with cars. Maybe press cars are early builds. Maybe it’s coincidence. Or maybe it’s not. Does it have toâ€¨ be this way? Please don’t let it haveâ€¨ to be this way. Still, as m’colleague Dan Prosser will deftly put it on an upcoming video, while other cars â€¨of its ilk feel like sports saloons, the Giulia feels like a sports car.