Saturday, May 2, 2015

2015 Alfa Romeo Giulietta

MANY will attest that you make your own luck, but surely a four-leafed clover must help?Not so long ago you needed a hefty amount of good fortune to reach your destination in an Alfa Romeo.Nowadays the marque is under the guidance of Fiat, which aims to mix some longevity and reliability with the traditional Italian passion.The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde (QV for short) is a fine example of the partnership.

The QV lineage can be traced back to Alfa Romeo's 1920s racing days when securing victory in the Targa Florio with Ugo Sivocci at the wheel.

This Giulietta is a racy little thing, sharing its engine with the carbon fibre 4C mini-supercar. It's not quite as potent, but you do get a whole lot more convenience, with five seats and a ride which doesn't rattle your fillings.

 Passion is ignited within the cabin and the relationship is somewhat love-hate.The combination leather and alcantara sports seats offer the typical sporting support, but it's the Alfa embossing and the contrasting green and white QV stitching used on the park brake, gear shifter and white on the flat-bottom steering wheel which sets things apart.

Aluminium pedals and slick kick plates; there is ample Italian charm to make it feel like something special.But there are drawbacks. Some interesting rough material is used on the door-tops, nothing that would remove skin but still an interesting texture to be used in such a location.

Then there is the cruise control stalk which is awkwardly positioned behind the steering wheel. They must have taken inspiration from the French.There is also a pair cup holders in the console which are so close together that it's difficult to fit two coffee cups. Mamma mia!

Not all find it an accommodating cabin. Being vertically challenged assisted this author, but it can be difficult to get the steering wheel in the right spot even with telescopic adjustment and the centre console encroaches on legroom, with the pedals too close for comfort.

 Under normal and well-behaved circumstances the six-speed twin clutch automatic can feel jilted and sluggish. It's not as jerky or poorly behaved like some of the Fiat drivetrains, just don't expect silky- smooth cog-swapping.There are three personalities available at the push of a switch, dynamic for unleashing the QV beast, natural for the majority of driving and all weather for when you need extra grip in slippery conditions.

It's in dynamic that things really get interesting and those gear shifts feel more cohesive.With the auto box it's 0.8 quicker in the 0-100kmh sprint than the manual and achieves a pretty swift six seconds when you use the launch control function.Accompanying the squirt of the throttle is a nice exhaust tune, aided by the fuel intake unit called QV Intake Engine Sound. Fancy name, but the soundtrack is up to the hype.

The front-wheeler likes being pushed too, and hangs on nicely when the road gets bendy.Pull left or right on the wheel and the driver can feel confident with direct steering that gives a sense of control.Four-piston Brembo brakes offer some handy breaking power and jumping on the picks has a nice linear feel through the pedal.