The clock is ticking on cars like the 2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia. Whether in its most hardcore Quadrifoglio trim or the less thunderous Sprint, Ti, or Competizione, the sporty four-door has been the beacon for semi-affordable, Italian sedans since the brand's return to the U.S. in 2015.
With la Macchina di Milano going fully electric before the end of the decade, the last few iterations of the Giulia have been nothing more than bedazzled, commemorative editions of the same feisty sedan that stole our hearts back when it first debuted eight years ago. And despite the brand's initial struggles with reliability, it's been able to turn the tables in recent years—which as Alfa North America president Larry Dominique told me earlier this year, is the result of CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato literally visiting the factories every single month.
Nonetheless, the beauty of the Giulia is in its driving experience. This summer I had the chance to wheel a charming, Moonlight Gray (matte white) Giulia Competizione from Milan to the brand's proving grounds in Balocco, Italy for the launch of the Tonale PHEV. The roughly three-hour round trip mixed in some country roads with long stints in the autostrada, where the 280-horsepower sedan enjoyed cruising at 120-plus mph without blinking an eye.
The realization of the Giulia's eventual departure recently hit me. After spending an October morning lapping Detroit's M1 Concourse in the spicy Quadrifoglio, I was reminded again of how much fun it is to drive one hard. Pushing a rear-drive, 505-hp car on a foggy, 49-degree day may not sound like the smartest thing to do, but lemme tell ya, it is a very fun thing to do.
Special attention had to be paid to, uh, not crashing. With the track surface colder than ideal and the summer performance tires taking longer to come up to working temperature, the rear of the Giulia was threatening to break loose and overtake itself. The track's layout was a shortened loop of the 1.5-mile course, complete with a hairpin and several heavy braking zones.
Even though the short and tight circuit was hardly a good fit for the Quadrifoglio—mostly because it could hardly stretch its legs—it performed flawlessly delivering a smile-inducing connection to the tarmac. Despite the lackluster traction, the car felt and sounded alive, with a glorious exhaust sound spewing out the back. The steering, chassis, suspension, and brakes worked in harmony with each other, relaying all necessary information to the driver. The hairpin proved tough to tame, as the rears would often lose traction and kick the rear into a small slide, keeping things lively in the cockpit.
The Ferrari-derived, 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 was the star of the show, of course, delivering those 505 ponies at my right foot's command. Most noticeable, however, was the urgency at which it delivers power, lacking any sort of turbo lag whatsoever. In some instances, it felt as if I was driving a naturally aspirated V6. The back straight was long enough to crack the 110-mph mark—at least while leaving extra room to slow down given the cold temperatures—but the various corners and elevation changes proved to be an absolute playground for the Italian sedan.
In a fast-moving world where new cars are always coming out and EVs are constantly setting records on fire, it's easy to forget about older models like the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Even more, it's easy to forget how great they are and how much they'll be missed when they finally depart.
Alfa's next chapter as an EV brand will surely deliver blistering performance, handsome designs, and driving enjoyment. After all, it's managed to deliver exactly that for more than a century. A stroll through the halls of the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo will show you that the people behind the iconic brand have always shared an enormous passion for performance, and I highly doubt that's going to change after the Giulia bows out.
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