Alfa Romeo’s return to the United States has been a long-awaited one by enthusiasts, but the brand is out to inject a little bit of sex-appeal into the sport-luxury segment at large. The Giulia, and to a greater extent, the Stelvio, will carry Alfa’s torch.
After a much-too-short amount of time spent in the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti, we can still confirm the torch is bright, and its bearer strong. The headlines may focus on the Giulia’s wild, out-of-control Quadrifoglio variant, but we shouldn’t forget the more humble Ti—and it’s not easy to forget.
We were awarded drive time in the Giulia Ti at the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s 2017 Fall Rally, which invites a gaggle of regional media professionals to sample the latest vehicles at Autobahn Country Club and the surrounding area. We’ll need a longer stint behind the wheel for greater impressions, but we still walked away mighty impressed with the bread-and-butter sport sedan. Arguably, it’s more like a slice of bread and butter, toasted, with a dash of cinnamon; it nails the basics and provides just enough spice.
Foremost, just like the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the Giulia Ti benefits from the same excellent Giorgio platform. No, there aren’t gobs of power or loud (read: tantalizing) sounds coming from the exhaust at all times, but the driving dynamics are there. The Giulia Ti absolutely channels the Quadrifoglio as best it can.
The chassis? Firm and planted, thanks to a double-wishbone setup at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear. It’s only complimented by sharp and communicative steering response. At every corner and abrupt lane change, the Giulia Ti felt nimble, and always awaiting the driver’s next command.
Tipping the throttle in reveals the Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti’s base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine provides 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque, and with a weight of 3,550 pounds, it’s plenty to move the Italian sport sedan with gusto. We experienced relatively smooth shifts in the “Natural” driving mode, and aggressive shifts and held gears in “Dynamic,” which also provides more bark from the exhaust and greater throttle response. Admittedly, we didn’t spend much time in the “Advanced Efficiency” mode. “Dynamic” offered up the most smiles, anyway.
From the driver’s seat, the Giulia Ti is a nice place to be, but it might be one of the sedan’s shortcomings. Our test car checked in at $51,990—it starts at $39,995—with a couple of sport and a driver assistance package. There absolutely was a lot of content on hand for the money: 19-inch wheels, a mechanical limited-slip differential, dual panoramic sunroof, sport leather seats, leather wrapped steering wheels and a suite of active safety features to name a few. Still, a few places exposed inexpensive-looking plastic components, notably around the gear selector. We wouldn’t complain if the black and aluminum was broken up by another exciting contrast hue, either. However, if it’s greater luxury you seek, the Ti Lusso package is for you; our tester was sport-oriented.
The sport sedan segment is a crowded one, and many brands have attempted to crack the Germans’ stranglehold with varying success. Giulia sales are off to a sluggish start, but Alfa Romeo says it’s not worried. In contrast, we are worried; worried that buyers may look past a new name and face and miss out on quite a compelling package. In a world where the sport-luxury sedan needs just a little more sport, the Giulia Ti delivers.