Performance and agility to match its style: Ray Massey gets behind the wheel of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia
- The Giulia costs from £29,180, for the entry level 2.0-litre petrol turbo
- With a red ‘start’ button, models race from rest to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds
- Ray said the real soundtrack was the 'purr and roar of the exhaust' as it got going
Alfa Romeos are clearly like buses. You wait ages for a new one and then two come along at once.
This week - just ahead of the new ‘17’ plate change on March 1 - I drove the firm’s stunningly stylish new Giulia saloon around the Cotswolds, including the powerful 510bhp range-topping Quadrifoglio - Italian for ‘four-leaf clover’.
The cars are on sale now and racing into UK showrooms as Alfa seeks to up its game by making cars whose performance, agility and reliability match their undoubted style.
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Ray Massey got behind the wheel of Alfa Romeo's stunningly stylish new Giulia saloon and gave it a spin around the Cotswolds
The cars are on sale now and racing into UK showrooms as Alfa seeks to up its game by making cars whose performance, agility and reliability match their undoubted style
Meanwhile, its first family-friendly SUV, called Stelvio after the mountain pass in northern Italy, will arrive towards the end of the year. The Giulia (Julia in English) may carry a female name, but this pulsating, gutsy and muscular 191mph beast will woo Romeos too.
With a red ‘start’ button on the steering wheel, it races from rest to 62mph in 3.9 seconds. It has a crisp eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox with manual paddles.
The various stability aids help keep you on track - unless, of course, you are on the track and switch to ‘race mode’, which allows you to assume almost total control.
The Giulia costs from £29,180, for the entry level 2.0-litre petrol turbo, to £59,000 for the Quadrifoglio, powered by a 2.9 litre V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine.
The version of the Giulia Ray drove was blinged-up to the ceiling with extras including £2,950 carbon-shell sports seats and a £950 Harman Kardon 14-speaker sound theatre
The motor was also decked out with £5,500 carbon ceramic brake discs
However, the version I drove was blinged-up to the ceiling with extras including £2,950 carbon-shell sports seats, £5,500 carbon ceramic brake discs and a £950 Harman Kardon 14-speaker sound theatre, which accelerated the final bill to a cool £73,655.
But the real soundtrack was the purr and roar of the exhaust as it got into its stride.
It, like all future range-toppers, carries the four-leaf clover.
This dates back to superstitious Alfa racing driver, Ugo Sivocci, who had success when his cars were adorned with it, and died on the one time he drove without it.
The car races from rest to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds - it has a crisp eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox with manual paddles
Ready, set, go! There is also a red ‘start’ button on the steering wheel
It, like all future range-toppers, carries the four-leaf clover - this dates back to superstitious Alfa racing driver, Ugo Sivocci, who had success when his cars were adorned with it
I also tried the ‘Super’ version, a more mainstream 2.2 litre 180bhp diesel Giulia, which is set to be the biggest seller.
With a top speed of 143mph, CO2 emissions of just 109g/km, an average 67.3mpg, and acceleration from rest to 62mph in 7.1 seconds, it’s a lively drive.
It costs from £32,850, but rises to £40,820 with options including a £950 driver assistance pack including parking sensor.
Last chance to hail a traditional TX4 London cab as the final 300 diesel-powered hackney carriages go down the production line in Coventry flying a patriotic Union Jack grille
Final diesel-powered black cabs to be built
Last chance to hail a traditional TX4 London cab as the final 300 diesel-powered hackney carriages go down the production line in Coventry flying a patriotic Union Jack grille. They are set to be replaced by a hi-tech ‘green’ electric TX5 version that will be built at a new £300 million factory.
The Limited Edition cabs will cost from £45,395 with finance deals available for around £168 per week. Prince Philip, Sir Laurence Olivier, Stephen Fry and Andrew Lloyd Webber have all had black cabs for personal use.
The firm says: ‘We’re still waiting for Arnold Schwarzenegger to collect his TX4. He put a deposit down about a decade ago.’
If you have £250,000 in spare change, the new Ferrari 812 Superfast may tempt you. Powered by a 6.5 litre, 12-cylinder engine developing 789bhp, it has a top speed well in excess of 200 mph and acceleration to 62mph in less than three seconds. Superfast by name . . .
Introducing the Velar! The veil has been lifted - partially - on the latest addition to the growing Range Rover family of luxury off-roaders
Land Rover lifts the lid on the new Velar
The veil has been lifted - partially - on the latest addition to the growing Range Rover family of luxury off-roaders. With an airy panoramic roof, the new mid-sized Velar becomes the fourth family member and will sit between the bigger Range Rover Sport and the smaller Evoque.
It will be priced from around £40,000 and to whet the public appetite, Jaguar Land Rover released a teaser picture ahead of the launch in London on Wednesday and its appearance at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
The name, Velar, comes from the label given to the original 1969 Range Rover prototype and takes its inspiration from the latin ‘velo’, which means to clothe, conceal or cover up.
Automotive expert Garel Rhys passes
Sad to mark the passing of Britain’s top automotive expert this week, the wise and mercurial Professor Garel Rhys, 76, of Cardiff Business School’s Centre for Automotive Industry Research.
Still fizzing with fun, I spoke to him only last week. He once confided to me how he taught former Labour Transport Secretary John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott at university, though denied being responsible for what followed. He’ll be sorely missed.
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