2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia

2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Review

The 2018 Giulia delivers Italian flair while raising the bar for small luxury sedan performance.
6.9 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Jonathan Elfalan
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Audi. BMW. Mercedes. These are the popular brands people reflexively shop when looking for a luxury sedan. But what if you find them to be a bit boring or complacent? That's where the 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia comes in. This luxury sedan newcomer isn't well-known, but once you see it, it's hard to ignore.

On the outside, the Giulia looks like nothing else on the road thanks to its taut styling and classic Alfa Romeo grille. The beauty is more than skin-deep, too. The underlying hardware is competitive, with the base Giulia and Giulia Ti receiving a lively 280-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels through a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

It's the top-of-the-line Giulia Quadrifoglio trim, however, that truly makes its presence known by aggressively gunning for top performance honors of the class. It comes outfitted with a powerful Ferrari-developed turbocharged V6 engine, weight-saving carbon fiber, articulating aerodynamics, and a whole host of other speed-enhancing features to win over the hearts and wallets of performance fans.

That said, the Giulia has its work cut out for it. Alfa's dealer network is small, and the jury is still out regarding the model's reliability. But if you're looking for a small luxury sedan that brings some passion to the segment, the Giulia could very well be your car.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio as one of Edmunds' Best Sport Sedans for this year.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, Alfa has revised some of the Giulia's options packages and created some additional trim level names. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is now available this year.

We recommend

The turbo 2.0-liter engine in the Giulia and Ti models packs some punch, but the model we'd recommend getting is the top-shelf Quadrifoglio since the Giulia prioritizes performance so much. Consider the Driver Assistance Dynamic Plus package if you want the latest in advanced driver safety aids, such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. We've found the standard Brembo brakes and heated sport seats more than adequate, so there's little reason to get the pricey carbon-ceramic brakes and less adjustable (and non-heated) Sparco racing seats.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Giulia comes in six trims: the entry-level Giulia and Giulia Sport; the midtier Ti, Ti Sport and Ti Lusso; and the high-performance Quadrifoglio. The Giulia and Ti models come with a nice amount of standard equipment and are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (280 horsepower, 306 pound-feet) that puts its power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is also available for all 2.0-liter cars. The Quadrifoglio demonstrates the full potential of the car, including a Ferrari-derived turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine (505 hp, 443 lb-ft).

Some of the key standard exterior features on the base Giulia include 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, Brembo brakes, xenon headlights, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Inside, you'll find remote keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, adjustable drive models, a driver information display, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch central display, voice commands, three USB ports and an eight-speaker audio system.

This year Alfa Romeo introduces the Giulia Sport trim, which is essentially the Sport package from the previous year. The Sport trim adds unique front and rear fascias, 18-inch wheels, gloss black window trim and painted brake calipers. The Sport Interior package is still an option that includes aluminum trim, huge column-mounted aluminum paddle shifters, a leather steering wheel and sport pedals.

If you're looking to upgrade the infotainment system for either of the above trims, the Navigation package includes an 8.8-inch central infotainment display, navigation, a rotary controller and satellite radio. A complement to this would be the newly available 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is a stand-alone option on all trims.

A Cold Weather package is specific to the Giulia and Giulia Sport models, and adds heated seats, a heated steering wheel and heated washer nozzles. There are two levels of active driving assist packages. The Driver Assistance Static package includes front parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and auto-dimming exterior mirrors. The Driver Assistance Dynamic Plus package adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and a heat-reducing infrared reflective windshield.

The Giulia Ti comes with everything the Giulia model has, plus 18-inch alloy wheels, the front and rear parking sensors, the 8.8-inch display (navigation is an option), satellite radio and the aforementioned Cold Weather package. Adaptive xenon headlights are a stand-alone option.

The Ti Sport adds 19-inch alloy wheels, sport front seats (a worthwhile upgrade) and everything from the Sport trim and Sport Interior package mentioned above.

The Ti Lusso trim is more luxury-oriented and has different 18-inch wheels, comfort-oriented front seats, upgraded leather interior trim, an upgraded steering wheel and an interior air quality system. If you just wanted a leather interior, it's available as a Leather package.

The Ti Sport Performance package provides an additional step toward Quadrifoglio performance on the Ti Sport trim with adaptive suspension dampers and a mechanical limited-slip rear differential. And if you'd prefer just the performance package items without the Sport trim's aesthetics and interior bits, Alfa Romeo offers Ti Performance package, which also includes the column-mounted paddle shifters. The Harman Kardon premium audio system is an option as well.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio is the star of this show with its 505-hp V6 engine. It comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and features fuel-saving cylinder deactivation. Sadly, the six-speed manual transmission available in Europe isn't available in the U.S.-market models at this time.

The Quadrifoglio's list of standard equipment is lengthy, which is good news for buyers. There's a high-performance Brembo brake system and a torque-vectoring rear differential that can transfer 100 percent of available power to either rear wheel. A two-mode exhaust with bypass valves offers varying levels of engine music depending on your mood, and a carbon-fiber active front splitter adjusts for more aerodynamic downforce at speeds above 75 mph. An adaptive suspension and 19-inch wheels with super-sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires round out the big hardware items.

Looking over the Quadrifoglio, you'll be able to pick out the aggressive model-specific details such as the front fascia, grille, carbon trunk spoiler, bi-xenon adaptive headlights, and rear diffuser with quad exhaust tips. But beneath the painted surfaces hides a lightweight hood and roof made of carbon fiber. Moving inside, you'll find carbon-fiber trim, additional drive modes, and almost all of the features that are optional on the less expensive Giulias.

A few options are available at the Quadrifoglio level. They include the Driver Assistance Dynamic Plus package mentioned earlier, leather and simulated-suede ultra-high-performance Sparco carbon-fiber racing seats (driver and front-passenger seats with two-way and four-way power adjustments, respectively, and no heat), a carbon-fiber-detailed steering wheel and an ultra-high-performance Brembo carbon-ceramic brake system.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our first drive of the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall6.9 / 10

Driving

8.0 / 10

Acceleration8.0 / 10
Braking7.5 / 10
Steering9.0 / 10
Handling6.5 / 10
Drivability8.5 / 10

Comfort

7.5 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration5.0 / 10
Climate control7.0 / 10

Interior

7.5 / 10

Ease of use7.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out6.0 / 10
Driving position9.0 / 10
Roominess6.5 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality4.0 / 10

Utility

6.0 / 10

Small-item storage5.5 / 10
Cargo space6.0 / 10

Technology

5.0 / 10

Audio & navigation6.0 / 10
Smartphone integration4.5 / 10
Driver aids6.5 / 10
Voice control4.5 / 10

Driving8.0

To be the least bit competitive, a sport sedan must perform well across most categories. Thanks to its electronics and uninspiring tires, the Giulia can be a little bit hit-and-miss when it comes to handling but not so much than you don't look for any excuse to go for a spirited drive.

Acceleration8.0

This motor offers quite a bit more excitement than the on-paper specifications would lead you to believe. It's snarly, torquey, low-revving and full of character. It's a good match for the quirky Alfa. During testing, 0-60 mph came in 5.3 seconds with quick shifts and no wheelspin from the AWD.

Braking7.5

Braking force is very easy to modulate with a smooth, linear response through the pedal stroke, but panic-braking tests revealed a pedal devoid of any feedback. Stability is excellent but the long-ish 124-foot stopping distance from 60 mph can be chalked up to the low-grip all-season tires.

Steering9.0

When driven in Dynamic Mode, the way a sporting Alfa should be driven, the weighting is spot-on. And when you combine that just-right amount of effort with the accuracy, steering quickness and the near-perfect steering wheel, you can't help but go hunting for the perfect line through every corner.

Handling6.5

The lackluster all-season tires are only partially to blame, but their use is puzzling on a sport sedan. Offering more noise than grip, they take the fun out of a spirited drive. But the non-defeatable stability control is the real buzzkill, allowing only a tantalizing glimpse of fun.

Drivability8.5

Of the driving modes, Dynamic makes the most sense in the Alfa, though a case can be made for Natural in light traffic in which you still have quick shifts and access to decent power. The Alfa is always engaging, even in town, but it needs to be driven on a good road to be truly appreciated.

Comfort7.5

The front passengers will no doubt be more impressed with the Alfa than those in the rear, but that's not too different from any other sport sedan. While tire and wind noise can fade into white noise, various creaks and groans can be distressing to people on board.

Seat comfort8.0

Firm but comfortable and aggressively supportive, the front seats in the Giulia are some of the best available in an already strong class. Both driver and passenger seats are heated and offer six-way power adjustability. The rear seats lack significant legroom for adults.

Ride comfort8.0

The Giulia is supple when it needs to be but well-controlled when you want it, especially at higher speeds. The sensible 18-inch wheels give you some tire sidewall to absorb imperfections, though the run-flat tires can be a little harsh on rough roads.

Noise & vibration5.0

Road noise isn't unusually high, even with the run-flat tires, but wind noise is a bit elevated at the front roof pillars and the front of the sunroof. Unfortunately, squeaks and creaks were prevalent and worrying, especially when coming from structurally important things such as the side pillars.

Climate control7.0

With three knobs and only a few buttons, the basic manual controls are clear and easy to use. Air flow is good from the horizontal center vents, but the auto setting had a tough time keeping the temperature and fan speed under control. Manual adjustment is the best bet.

Interior7.5

Since this is a driver's car, it should be no surprise that the driver comes out well ahead in the interior of the Alfa Romeo. Rear passengers won't have much room to get in or get comfortable, so it might be a bit of a fight for the shotgun seat position.

Ease of use7.5

Most of the controls in the Giulia are familiar and and intuitive, even when they might be in a slightly different location, as with the start button. The multimedia control knob falls readily to hand and helps make easy use of the primary interface. There's a multitude of tedious menus.

Getting in/getting out6.0

Front passengers won't notice anything unusual about getting into the Giulia even with the slightly aggressive seating. Rear passengers aren't as lucky. The door openings are very small due to intruding rear wheelwells, and they don't provide a lot of room to get in.

Driving position9.0

The driver sits upright and close to the windshield in a very classic '80s European sport sedan style. It can be a bit foreign at first, but it's easy to adapt. And when you're driving enthusiastically, the driving position offers confidence, connectedness with the car, and a feeling of safety.

Roominess6.5

It's safe to say there's not a lot of room in the front of the Giulia that you don't need. If it's possible to be snug but spacious, the Giulia carries it off. The rear seat lacks the legroom we're accustomed to finding in much smaller cars. Adults may become uncomfortable in well under 30 minutes.

Visibility7.5

Because of the upright seating position and close proximity to the windshield, forward visibility is excellent. The reasonably narrow front pillars are welcome on tight and twisty roads. But that seating position did cause the side pillars to consistently obstruct over-the-shoulder lane checks.

Quality4.0

Modern and definitely stylish at first glance, the Giulia makes a good first impression, but some materials have a distinctly preproduction feel and give the car an unfinished look. Numerous creaks and electronic gremlins cast a shadow of doubt on long-term integrity.

Utility6.0

Style claims another victim as the Giulia lacks the generous trunk access and interior storage of most midsize sedans. But if you travel with little clutter and only basic luggage, the Giulia can still be a fairly practical proposition.

Small-item storage5.5

There's a bit of wasted space around the shift lever and multimedia interface knob, and that's a shame since the Giulia isn't flush with interior storage. The door pockets are especially narrow, and it's best if rear passengers can keep everything in their pockets.

Cargo space6.0

While the 13 cubic feet of cargo capacity is similar to capacity in its Audi and BMW competition, the Giulia has a high and slightly narrow trunk opening, making it difficult to put anything large and square into the trunk. The rear seats are split 60/40 and fold, lying relatively flat.

Child safety seat accommodation6.0

LATCH points are easy to find and easy to access, but the lack of rear seat room might make it difficult to squeeze in larger child seats.

Technology5.0

Buyers not looking for a technological tour de force might be happy enough with the Giulia's stout audio system and functional navigation. Beyond that, the Alfa Romeo has a lot of catching up to do, especially on the reliability front — tech gremlins were a constant annoyance.

Audio & navigation6.0

The optional Harman Kardon sound system is solid and easy to use, but the navigation system lacks sophistication, especially when compared to the one in its Audi rival, the A4. The graphics are more of an outline than a realistic rendering, and live traffic information is not available.

Smartphone integration4.5

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not supported, which is a bit disappointing. Connecting via Bluetooth is fairly straightforward but seems to take an eternity to load every time you start the car. Connection issues also plagued the Giulia with system lockups and the disappearance of paired phones.

Driver aids6.5

The optional Driver Assist Dynamic Plus package includes a well-sorted adaptive cruise with stop, lane keeping assist, and a somewhat sensitive forward collision warning system. Blind-spot and cross-path detection are also optional. Sadly, the conservative stability control cannot be disabled.

Voice control4.5

Voice controls make a good case for using the manual controls that fall quickly to hand. Word recognition wasn't particularly good, and sorting through the help menu took much more time than simply making the required change manually.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.