‘Fast’ or ‘Four Leaves’?

That the Alfa Giulia Veloce is no Quadrifoglio sounds like bad news. It isn’t. By Ben Miller

YOU DON’T NEED fluent Italian to know that while ‘fast’ is ‘fast’, ‘four leaves’ is faster. Thus the Veloce sits some way below the full-house Quadrifoglio in the Alfa Romeo Giulia range; not as fast, as overtly aggressive, quite as visually arresting nor anything like as expensive. UK Veloce pricing kicks off at £38,265. You’ll need another £23k to go shopping for a Quadrifoglio.

Where the halo Giulia runs a raging 503bhp twin-turbo V6, the Veloce employs a turbo 2.0-litre four good for 276bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Nail it and Alfa says you’ll hit 62mph from rest in 5.7sec and motor on to a infuriatingly un-round 149mph top end – maybe try folding the mirrors… Much of the German competition uses six-cylinder engines but is also a good chunk more expensive.

But you’ll need another £1950 for the Performance Pack the Veloce really needs; tactile, column-mounted shift paddles for the eight-speed auto transmission (there is no manual option), a limited-slip diff and Alfa’s adaptive dampers.

The four-cylinder engine does a fine job of impressing from the off, with a purposeful idle and easy power. The low-rev urge, even at small throttle openings, is impressive, the strong torque shoving the car up to speed easily at next to no revs. You might still wish you had a six-cylinder engine in the nose from time to time, but the idea won’t haunt your every waking moment.

The chassis too is a compelling blend of everyday civility spiced with the grip, poise and agility to match the storied badge on the nose. The steering’s fast and the body nicely controlled, making for a strong, agile front end that loves to run into corners fast and hard. Famously developed at breakneck speed by an FCA dream team in just a couple of years, the Giulia’s Giorgio platform nails the basics. In both Giulia and Stelvio guise, and regardless of engine, it’s a treat to drive; supple, responsive, communicative and balanced.

Plenty of great stuff with which to offset the gripes, then; cramped rear seat accommodation, some sketchy plastics, a pretty basic infotainment screen and a couple of buttons and rotaries that’d have Audi’s interior designers wetting themselves.

ALFA GIULIA VELOCE

> Price £38,265 > Engine 1995cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 276bhp @ 5250rpm, 295lb ft @ 2250rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive > Performance 5.7sec 0-62mph, 149mph, 28mpg, 230g/km CO2 > Weight 1429kg > On sale August > Rating ★ ★ ★ ★

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