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FASHION + LIFE STYLE
Not a new idea, but one whose time seems to
have come as carmakers try to meet increasingly
tough economy and CO2 targets. Three-cylinder
engines have fewer moving parts than their
four-cylinder equivalents, reducing inertia and
improving both consumption and potentially
responses as well. 'Triples' used to be reserved
for the very cheapest cars, but now they're
going mainstream, with both BMW and Volvo
among the companies o�ering them.
GREAT OR GIMMICK? Great
ALFA ROMEO GIULIA
The long wait for a decent Alfa Romeo saloon seems to be finally at an end
ticking with our Italian theme, here's something for those
on more modest budgets. �ere's been a long gap since
Alfa Romeo last tried to sell a saloon in the UK, but you
can't fault the company's ambition - the Giulia is aimed
squarely at the BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class.
To that end it sits on a new rear-wheel drive platform, with
engines ranging from a 150bhp four-cylinder diesel to a snarling
510hp turbocharged V6 petrol. Although it's this range-topping
Quadrifoglio model that is likely to win the bulk of headlines, the
more modest versions are the ones that really matter.
�ere's plenty to like. Both petrol and diesel engines deliver
strong performance and refinement is excellent at cruising speeds.
All Britain-bound Giulias will be fitted with an eight-speed
automatic gearbox, delivering seamless progress and outstanding
refinement at cruising speeds. More importantly, the chassis
delivers both ride quality and decent handling, a combination of
virtues that has defeated most other recent Alfa products.
If anything, the Giulia is a bit too accomplished: very high grip
levels and fast-acting steering make it feel a bit uninvolving when
driven hard, an impression reinforced by the lack of a clutch pedal.
Clinical isn't really how any Alfa Romeo should be described, is it?
Criticism is reserved for the cheap-feeling plastics in the cabin, but
first impressions? �e most promising Alfa Romeo for a generation.
BEST BIT: Ride, handling, refinement.
WORST BIT: Interior doesn't get close to German rivals for quality.
Mike Duff is senior contributing editor of Autocar
Price: £31,000 (est)
Engine: 2.2-litre diesel,
0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Top speed: 137mph
NEW TECH EXPLAINED