It now appears that, if you’re a motoring manufacturer, it’s all the rage again to have some seriously famous and seriously beautiful bits of superstar totty flogging your cars. Kylies kicking off about how quiet her Lexus 200H is (well better the Devil you know a Kylie), Renault have decided that Thierry Henry isn’t shifting enough Clio’s on his own, so they’ve drafted in Rihanna and 40yr old stripper (all be it she’s in damn fine nick) Dita Von Teese to give Marlon Brandon an eyeful from the ceiling of a red padded wank bank, someone remind me how these ads sell us cars! The manufacturer that revived the whole trend….Alfa Romeo! I do have to say, Christ I wish Uma Thurman would make up her mind, she spends most of the last decade telling us she’s ‘Black Mamba’ and the Bride you would seriously think twice about leaving standing alone at the Alter, then turns up in an Alfa advert, kid’s an all, informing us that she’s now Giulietta!
The choice of Uma is a solid gold one, doesn’t matter if its bloke or bird you’re trying to appeal to, she’s tough, athletic and svelte, hell the woman’s done more for PVC cat suits (both in Batman and Kill Bill, her talcum powder bill must be HUGE) than Eartha Kitt ever managed to in the 60’s. But that’s exactly the point, having tested the Giulietta for a week, I can understand the logic, it’s pretty much the road going equivalent of Miss Thurman. It’s stunning up close and personal, gorgeous lines flow from perfect hips to just the right sized bumps up front, the rear you’d never get sick of looking at and the face is outstanding regardless of which angle you see it from. It’s also got an aggressive and masculine feel without being to ‘does my penis look big in this’.
I tested the Giulietta in all-but-top-of-range Veloce trim level with the 170bhp 1.4L MultiAir TB petrol engine, which I have to say totally deserves the ‘International Engine of the Year Award’ its just won. Its a spectacular engine with buckets of power, a sportscar soundtrack and its one of the most fuel efficient cars in its class, returning over 60mpg on the motorway, 36mpg round town and nearly 50mpg combined, which means you don’t have to sell a kidney every time you decide you need to feel like a NASCAR driver. I was seriously impressed with how few trips I made to my local Sainsbury’s hostage petrol station to refuel whilst I was testing, and I covered over 1,200 miles in the week.
Let’s talk performance, because this is one Alfa that truly deserves to be talked about. 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds, that’s less than a second slower than a Golf GTI, which has 40bhp more, a 2.0L engine not a 1.4L and a like-for-like Golf GTI will cost you an extra 7 GRAND! The Alfa feels like a proper sports car which is playing dressy up in a 5dr family hatchbacks costume. The day you pick up the Giulietta, put the D.N.A. switch into ‘Dynamic’ mode and leave it there forever! It makes a huge difference to the way the car handles, performs and its overall feel whilst driving. In ‘Dynamic’ it’s so much fun and just so good to drive, it loves being driven hard, it responds to aggression like a masochist looking for the next hit and then when you’re taking the kids to school, turn the D.N.A. switch to ‘Normal’ (its only ten minutes, then you can play again) and it turns into an everyday school-run hatchback.
It’s also safe and I mean really safe, 5* Euro NCAP rating, 6 airbags, collapsible steering column and pedals, anti-whiplash system, VDC stability control system consisting of ABS +ASR +EBD +Brake Assistant + Hill Hold and Electronic Q2 differential. When you set the Giulietta’s D.N.A. system to ‘Dynamic’ mode there’s also 2 other safety systems in play as well. The first being Alfa’s unique ‘Pre-Fill’ braking system, which works with the VDC system to supply the shortest braking response possible in conjunction with the road and weather conditions. That works alongside the 2ndsystem, the ‘Dynamic Steering Torque’ (DST) function which provides torque feedback on the steering wheel to assist during critical manoeuvres to prevent loss of control. Drive it like a nutter and there’s every chance that you’re going to get bitten, however drive it with some respect and you’ll certainly not be disappointed.
The kit you get on the Veloce for your money is superb, electric everything from electric leather seats, windows to sunroof, USB / media system, Start stop, to a more beefier bodykit including side skirts and hatch spoiler. You also get the the fantastic ‘BLUE ME’ (I know it sounds like Blow Me, but its not, so grow up lol) Bluetooth system with voice recognition that even reads your text messages to you without you having to do anything accept say READ. Granted the latter system could end badly if you’re a bit of a man whore and your girlfriend happens to be in the car when you get a dirty text from the bird next door!
Overall there is only one fault I can find with the Giulietta and that’s the foot pedals, which is a fairly major issue. They are TINY, really close together, depress at a funny angle and are off-set. This means that until you’re used to the car you regularly miss pedals, hit two pedals at once, put the clutch down and accidentally catch the brake under the side of your boot, then brake and take the accelerator pedal down with the side of your boot. This really dogged me off for the first few hours / first day I had the car, however I cant implore you enough to suck it up and persevere, because its totally worth it. My test car was just under £26,000 OTR and had loads (4k’s worth) of cost optional extra’s fitted, most of which I’d recommend to have. The 170bp 1.4L MultiAir engine really is everything you need and more, although the 170bhp MultiJet Diesel is more frugal and just as good.
If you’re looking for some serious fun coupled with great practicality and style, then look no further.