Auto Gallery Alfa Romeo drive at the Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen Automotive Museum was a fitting backdrop to unveil the new Alfa Romeo Giulia. Known for an amazingly eclectic collection of vehicles but with a keen focus on the design of everything motorized, the classically sculpted Giulia fit right in.
The event took place on the ground floor level of the garage near the museum entrance, plus there was DJ entertainment, non-alcoholic specialty drinks and food presented by the on-site Drago Ristorante in the roof-top Penthouse area. Nice custom touches included pastries with full-color Alfa Romeo emblem and cappuccino’s with the Alfa logo in cocoa.
Hosted by The Auto Gallery Alfa Romeo of Van Nuys and Santa Monica, the event allowed museum members and the public some of the first test drives of the new 4-door performance sedan. The Giulia comes in 3 configurations: Standard base model, Ti and Quadrifoglio. The base Giulia and Ti are both powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder with 280 horsepower. Quadrifoglio has a racing tradition going back to 1923 when the green cloverleaf on white background was introduced, and is currently the mark of the highest trim and performance level in each vehicle line.
The displayed black Giulia Quadrifoglio was not available to drive, but the TI model was exciting in its performance. Limited by the small residential streets around the Petersen, it wasn’t easy to stretch the car to its limits, but you could feel enough of the basics to get a good understanding of the car’s drivability. Very light on its feet but with a pretty good solid feel from the front end, the 306 ft lb of torque was definitely adequate to get it off the line quickly and the 280 horsepower 2.0 Liter 2 I4 Intercooled Turbo Engine was more than enough to keep her going when we had the chance to open it up a little on a main boulevard. Cornering was quick and agile with a little slide at higher speeds. Paddle shifters were spot-on and made the driving experience even sportier.
The new all-aluminum Alfa Link suspension seemed to allow a pretty good command of the road, even at higher speeds. The double wishbone front end system does what it says in keeping the wheels perfectly perpendicular to the road even in the tightest corners. Exclusive Alfa Romeo semi-virtual steering axis contributed to excellent overall control. To complete the picture, the Giulia Ti is equipped with an Alfa Link rear suspension design that definitely seemed to smooth out the most uneven road surface we could find.
The interior of the car was simple but very satisfying. The sporty seats in the Ti really felt like they were holding you stable from all directions but were also very comfortable. The 8.8-inch color widescreen display featured a full set of driver-oriented options including radio, Bluetooth and steering wheel control… all within easy reach.
Alfa Romeo has been back in America since the introduction of the limited-run 8C Competizione in 2007 but had been absent since 1995. The debut of the 4C sports car in 2013 and now the Giulia sedan in 2017 are considered the opening shots to re-establish Alfa Romeo in the U.S. marketplace. The re-structured CFA (Chrysler Fiat Automobiles) is poised to widen the brand range with the debut a new SUV later this year that will compete with the Jaguar F-Pace, BMW X3 and Porsche Macan. The Stelvio will arrive soon with the Base, Ti and Quadrifoglio trim levels.
When travelling through Europe and especially Italy, a good percentage of vehicles you see are Alfa Romeo’s. With worldwide CEO Sergio Marchionnes’ marketing directives, the brand should begin seeing the same success as Fiat’s resurgence in the U.S. marketplace.
Scott Martin is a frequent contributor to and long-time supporter of Driven World Magazine and Supercar Sunday. You can find Scott’s photos and articles at facebook.com/sroscott and on Instagram and Twitter: @carshowaholic