Road Test: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDm-2 Sportiva
SECTOR: Lower medium PRICE: £25,310 FUEL: 60.1mpg CO2: 124g/km
Alfa Romeo has just unveiled the 4C to crowds at the Geneva Motor Show. While it’s a small-volume sports car, it could be exactly what the carmaker needs to drip-feed its performance heritage into a range which, at the moment, comprises of a pair of hatchbacks.
Just as Audi has rubbed a little R8 magic into the rest of its range, so the close family resemblance between the 4C, MiTo and Giulietta should help drive a little extra interest in the company’s bread-and-butter models.
For now, though, the Giulietta is flying alone. It’s been a backbone to Alfa’s corporate presence in its three-year lifespan, and now buyers will get the extra choice of this new range-topping Sportiva version in line with the motorsport-derived badges which have worked well for its closest rivals.
Available with all except the most powerful petrol engine, Sportiva is ideal for user-choosers. It adds £3,000 worth of optional extras, including soft leather upholstery, 18-inch turbine-like alloy wheels and aluminium accents for £1,860, as well as subtle Cloverleaf badging.
This offers a lot of performance for the money, too. The 170bhp diesel, tested here, is a smooth if slightly noisy unit with a competitive 120g/km CO2 output. But it’s got the added appeal of a split personality – prod the toggle switch up to Dynamic and it becomes an entirely different machine. Throttle reactions are immediate, and even the slightly nose-heavy diesel is a brisk, responsive and sporty hatch to drive.
But Alfa has another trick up its sleeve. There’s an equally powerful, equally low-carbon 1.4 turbo petrol available with the same trim, it’s lighter at the front end and £2,300 cheaper, which adds up to an even more tempting package. It’s actually the one most worth having.
Giulietta's curvaceous bodywork is entirely flattered by the Sportiva bolt-ons, while the diesel engine is potent enough to complement the sporty looks. But with a lighter, cheaper and no less efficient petrol option, do you really need the diesel?