|ALFA ROMEO GIULIA SPRINT 2.0 TURBO|
|The story: A mid-life refresh improves the Alfa exec saloon’s infotainment|
|Key rival:||BMW 3-Series|
Alfa Romeo has tweaked its Giulia saloon, with the compact executive model getting a welcome infotainment improvement.
The new 8.8-inch system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and is a much neater and more user-friendly system than its predecessor, as has also been implemented to the Stelvio SUV.
The line-up has been rationalised to three petrol alternatives, the 200hp Sprint driven here, and the 280hp engine in Veloce or Veloce Ti trim levels. The 510hp Quadrifoglio remains the high-performance range-topper.
The lack of a diesel or any form of electrification hampers the Giulia from a company perspective, with the emissions figure starting from a lofty 164g/km, although the higher-powered engine is no less efficient, giving an incentive to make the £4500 jump to the more powerful alternative Veloce that also brings extra standard equipment. A BMW 320i, for comparison, is at 146g/km.
But the things that make the Giulia so appealing are still present and correct. The start button mounted on the steering wheel and huge motorsport-style gearshift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel give a sporting attitude that the Giulia follows through on, being one of the few exec saloons to give the BMW 3-Series a run for its money from a driving enjoyment perspective. The only negative aspect of the drive is a brake pedal that’s a little softer than would be ideal.
The cabin is a little cramped; it’s cosy and seems to wrap around the driver in a positive way, but rear seat-passengers won’t be delighted by the space on offer.
The Giulia is still very much a niche choice against the big German premium players, and is certainly not faultless aside from the lack of a diesel or electrified alternative, but it’s a pretty saloon with a great driving experience and is now slightly better than it was before the latest model year update.