The Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce sports saloon parks between the standard Giulia and the high-performance Giulia Quadrifiglio. A worthy addition to the range as it bears many of the qualities of the superb Quadrifoglio, with a lower price tag.
The Veloce has a 2L turbocharged 4 inline cylinder engine with 280 bhp and 400 Nm of torque. The gearbox is the ZF 8-speed automatic and the car will do 0-62 mph in 5.7 secs with a top speed of 149 mph. Extra-urban fuel consumption is an impressive 57 mpg or a combined 46 mpg and the car weighs in at a mere 1.4 tonnes. Plus 6-way power front seats, 8 speaker Harmon Kardon sound theatre (option), automatic headlights, lane departure warning, Alfa DNA driving mode and a host of other helpful assists that come as standard. The performance pack at £1,950 is advised.
It’s as attractive as the Quadrifiglio, especially in the Misano Metallic Blue option (£695) with the same well-balanced lines, subtle curves and eye catching Alfa triangular grille. A sports saloon whose slanting bonnet and tapering haunches hint at its racing pedigree and power. The indented cat-eye headlamps add more points to its looks score as does the lower intake grille with dual spiked spoiler. An anthropomorphic feline face. The back is sturdy and sleek with attractive dual chrome exhaust tips. A solid but prepossessing rear.
The tan leather on my model was very eighties, but you can choose more modern specifications. Red leather would be a more apposite choice to contrast with all the aluminium touches on the instrument panel and black finish. The heated leather steering wheel is a sensuous pleasure, I had to stop myself unconsciously caressing it far more often than was seemly. The infotainment screen is hidden and shaped to fit below the leather dash, invisible unless it’s on, so as not to disturb the flawless organic lines with a brutal rectangle. The system includes Bluetooth®, Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™as standard. The front seats are efficiently heated when required, a boon in winter, though it has taken me a few years to get used to having my bottom warmed, an odd sensation. The back seats are a little cramped, but comfortable with an armrest that drops revealing two cup holders, or room for a third person when up.
I recommend the 19" alloy wheels with run-flat tyres and the yellow brake callipers. It just adds to the performance, which is sublime. While it is not as fast as the Quadrifiglio, it is just as sure-footed and handles like a race car. Who really needs to go faster than 0-62 in 5.7 secs? That’s enough when the road handling and stability are this good because you can use all the available power. The steering, as I mentioned, nis not only sensuous, it is tuned for driving pleasure. Fast, responsive and unbelievably light. This makes the car come to life for the driver. Sharp and accurate as a scalpel, cut into the corner and turn out on a perfect line. The chassis is pliant and shapes to the road while the rear-wheel-drive keeps the experience exciting. The suspension is supple, whilst retaining complete surface grip control, truly noteworthy. Alfa Romeo brings Ferrari joy to every day driving.
The red engine starter button on the steering wheel and the outsized aluminium flappy paddles add to that. I rarely go manual, but the engine sound was so lovely, I found myself changing gears constantly, even though the automatic in Dynamic mode is sporty and smooth. The turbo charge comes in even at low speeds, so there is power there, up to around 6000 revs. The braking is good, from 62 mph to 0 in 38.5m, without being too aggressive and tested well even in rain-soaked muddy conditions, or normal British weather driving as we know it.
All true petrol-heads revere Alfa Romeo for the same reason. The cars are engineered for driving pleasure and great performance before everything else. The Veloce is a gratifying drive, a saloon with the soul of a sports car. Power, performance and pedigree you would be pushed to find elsewhere at this price. If 280 bhp is enough rather than the 505 bhp in the Quadrifiglio then this is the car to get.
Starting Price: £38,266
£47,535 with options.