Alfa Romeo Giulia unveiled

The mouth watering new Alfa Romeo Giulia has been unveiled at an event in Milan. It’s the long-awaited successor to the 159 compact exec – a sector the Italians have, rather shockingly, been absent from for four years since the demise of the 159.

This is an important car: a test of whether minnow Alfa can still cut it against the German big boys; a test of whether Fiat group CEO Sergio Marchionne’s strategy is all pie-in-the-sky or credible; and a test of whether there’s still any magic in that evocative badge.

The car pictured here is in fact the Giulia Quadrifoglio, as if to prove the point that this car has sportiness baked into its soul, Alfa showed the new Giuilia in red-hot Quadrifoglio ‘Cloverleaf’ spec. And that is pretty rapid indeed, powerful enough to make a BMW M3 wince.

This car sports 375kW from a V6 ‘with Ferrari technologies’, meaning 0-100kph in just 3.9 seconds. And Alfa claims it’ll handle like Alfas of old, with 50:50 weight distribution, ‘the most direct steering on the market’ and an emphasis on sporting fun rather than Teutonic stodge.

As we mentioned previously, the Giulia project was sent back to the drawing board to ditch the front-drive chassis originally proposed; instead it is based upon an iteration of the Maserati Ghibli architecture – meaning it’s rear-wheel drive with the option of 4wd. Alfa makes big claims about the fun of this car, and vows the torque vectoring systems will be used for titillation not merely nannying.

In a surprise twist, Alfa has revealed that the new Giulia will use lightweight materials including composites – usually the preserve of more expensive cars. The new BMW 7 Series has only just introduced carbonfibre-reinforced plastic elements in the luxury bracket, but the Italians are now using carbonfibre and aluminium in the compact exec set.