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2019 alfa-romeo Giulia

The Giulia marks a spectacular return to form for Alfa Romeo. After decades of building lackluster front-wheel drive sedan using Fiat parts, it's finally aiming at the heart of the sports sedan segment with a proper, rear-wheel drive model designed for enthusiasts.

Buyers who want an even sportier sedan can step up to the Giulia Quadrifoglio, which puts over 500 horsepower under the driver's right foot.

Overview
Resurrecting a historic nameplate, the Giulia is Alfa's first mainstream sedan for the United States since it packed up and left in the middle of the 1990s. Visually, it adopts the Italian brand's most recent design language and gets a V-shaped grille flanked by horizontal air vents and sharp, elongated headlights. It's instantly recognizable as a member of the Alfa Romeo lineup.

The long hood and the tall, short decklid are a tribute to the Milano sold here in the late 1980s. These proportions give the Giulia a sporty, ready-to-pounce stance with a typical Italian flair. The back end sharp lights that stretch into the trunk lid and dual exhaust tips.

Life aboard
Inside, the Giulia brilliantly channels Alfa Romeo's performance heritage. The three-spoke steering wheel and the analog gauges are reminiscent of the brand's historic models, while the center console puts all of the key controls within the reach of the driver.

A wide screen is neatly integrated into the dashboard. It groups the sedan's connectivity, navigation (if equipped), and entertainment functions into a single unit controlled via a knob on the center console.

The Giulia offers space for five passengers, though the person sitting in the middle of the rear bench will inevitably feel a little bit cramped. Still, it boasts one of the longest wheelbases in its class so the interior is more spacious than its relatively compact footprint suggests. The trade-off is that trunk space checks in at 12 cubic feet, which is on the low side for the segment.

Standard and optional features
The Giulia lineup is broken down into two trim levels named base and Ti, respectively.

The base model comes with Alfa's drive mode selector, a carbon fiber driveshaft, Brembo brakes, dual exhaust tips, 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, a 6.5-inch screen for the infotainment system, rear parking sensors, remote keyless entry, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone A/C, ambient lighting, a keyless ignition, cruise control, and a three-spoke steering wheel.

Buyers have several options to choose from. Ti models are eligible to receive a sport package which includes 19-inch wheels, gloss black trim, sport leather seats, aluminum trim, a sport steering wheel, aluminum paddle shifters, and sport pedals.

Alternatively, Ti buyers after a classier look can spec their car with the Lusso package. It bundles 18-inch Lusso wheels, luxury leather seats, leather upholstery on the dashboard and the upper part of the door panels, dark oak or light walnut wood trim, a special steering wheel, aluminum sport pedals, and an air quality System.

Technical specifications
Both the base and Ti models ship with a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 280 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 306 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 and 4,800 rpm. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive come standard, and all-wheel drive is offered at an extra cost.

The Giulia hits 60 mph from a stop in 5.5 seconds, which is fast enough to keep up with the German competition. Given enough tarmac it goes on to a top speed of 149 mph. Fuel economy checks in at 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

Occupant safety
Every Giulia comes standard with electronic stability control, hill descent control, and traction control in addition to front, side, and curtain airbags. Features like adaptive cruise control plus with full stop, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams are offered at an extra cost, and bundled into an option package.

Key competitors
The Alfa Romeo Giulia's main rival is the BMW 3 Series. Buyers can also look at the Audi A4, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the Infiniti Q50.