The Alfa Romeo Giulia Is Off To A Rough Start

Illustration for article titled The Alfa Romeo Giulia Is Off To A Rough Start

The Alfa Romeo Giulia sport sedan is one of the most important cars to come out in 2016, both for enthusiasts clamoring for a real Alfa Romeo comeback and for the struggling Fiat Chrysler brand. But some first-drive reviews in Europe reveal stereotypically Alfa-esque problems that don’t exactly inspire confidence.

The Sunday Times went on the car’s recent European media launch (your Jalopnik staff should be driving the car later this year), and they report some quality issues right out of the gate with the test cars:

However, in other areas, Alfa Romeo seems like a stuck record, its needle unable to play past a reputation for poor quality.

One Giulia was wheeled off like an A&E casualty after the infotainment system failed. Another I drove had an engine warning light screaming for attention from the instrument binnacle, and the cruise control refused to switch on.

A third car tested suffered a frozen infotainment system, which could only be brought back to life by stopping the car and switching the ignition off and back on, and at times some air vents stopped blowing air whilst others continued.

One colleague suffered jammed parking sensors, so they drove around with the car going “beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep”.


Granted, the cars on this launch were likely pre-production models, which often do not have 100 percent perfect and finalized electronics, gearbox calibration or fit and finish.

But even these issues seem a bit extreme for a press test. It’s not really an example of Alfa Romeo putting its best foot forward to journalists. The brand has suffered from a reputation for poor quality for decades now, and stuff like that isn’t helping things. Perhaps these issues should not be surprising given the car’s insanely quick development time.

The Giulia is a critically important car for Alfa Romeo, one that aims to establish the brand’s comeback after decades away from the U.S. and making middling front-wheel drive hatchbacks in Europe. The 4C is a great insane car for weirdos, but the Giulia is the mainstream sports sedan that will hopefully sway buyers from BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

The good news is that in the performance department, the 503 horsepower twin-turbo Giulia Quadrifoglio seems to have things sorted out. Via the Times again:

With a 2.9-litre, V6 bi-turbo engine — said to be closely related to the V8 from the Ferrari California T — pumping out 503bhp, it is breathtakingly fast (0-62mph in 3.9 seconds) but the uprated chassis feels as though it can harness all that power to the driver’s advantage. Judged on brief acquaintances, it should be able to show a BMW M3 a clean pair of heels on a race track.


And when your car can do that, do you really give a shit whether the infotainment system works or not?

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.

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As an avid Alfa owner, do I care if the infortainment system works in my Most likely $70K plus new car? Yes! Yes, I care very much!!!!!

We here in the US avoided a couple of decades where incredibly shoddy Alfas sold to the rest of the world made owners lives a misery and dealers would disappear and reappear denying warranty coverage.

If Alfa Romeo is going to survive as a company under FIAT ownership, it has to make this car work flawlessly. It absolutely has to build a reputation of a new day at Alfa Romeo, or Alfa is going to VW or BMW on the cheap to become yet another badge engineered German owned European brand.