2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0T RWD

What Alfa has gotten right, it’s gotten spectacularly right, starting with the Giulia’s looks. Although some might take issue with the unusually shaped—and iconic—front grille, this sedan has a perfectly proportioned body that exudes character on the road. The rear end, especially, is beautifully detailed, with graceful taillights wrapping around the haunches and a tasteful lower valance with dual exhaust tips. Our test car, outfitted with the Sport package and 19-inch wheels

The Giulia’s dynamics also are spot-on, achieving a nearly ideal ride/handling balance that picks up where the BMW 3-series left off one generation ago. It doesn’t take much seat time to feel the liveliness of the Alfa’s controls, starting with the perfectly weighted steering rack, which has great on-center feel, quick turn-in, and, above all, is communicative, with just the right amount of feedback filtered through to the driver. The car moves gracefully on twisty roads, the balanced weight distribution (we measured our rear-wheel-drive test car’s 3636-pound curb weight at 49.8 percent front, 50.2 percent rear) making it easy to get into a rhythm. The only blemish on this fluidity is the wooden, uncommunicative brake-by-wire brake pedal, which can make it difficult to come to a stop smoothly, even if the binders themselves delivered a competitive 163-foot stop from 70 mph.

Our test car’s wheel-and-tire package appeared to be a recipe for a rough rider: low-profile, Pirelli P Zero Run Flat summer tires (good for 0.88 g on the skidpad) wrapped around 19-inch wheels. And yet the ride quality was mostly pleasant, with only the occasional sharp impact reaching the hushed cabin. Turn the console-mounted DNA switch to D (for Dynamic) and you’ll feel increased steering weight and a bit less compliance from the adaptive dampers. Even in this sportier mode, though, there’s a button to switch just the dampers back to a softer setting in case you find yourself traversing an especially rough stretch of pavement.


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