In the 1950s the Alfa Giulietta caught the imagination of the driving public with its sporty appeal, attractive looks and accessible pricing. Now, over 50 years later, the Italian sporting car manufacturer is celebrating its centenary with an all-new namesake which goes on sale here on Saturday 24 July.
The latest incarnation of the Giulietta has been designed to beat the best in the mid-size C segment. That’s no easy task considering the excellence of the competition in a category that now contributes one out of every four new cars sold in Europe.
To take on this challenge Alfa Romeo has penned an all-new car that sits on an all-new Compact platform. This employs a combination of advanced engineering and sophisticated technical solutions to ensure the Giulietta can accommodate the needs of all customers in this category. The result is a model that combines impeccable safety credentials, Italian style, comfort and functionality with the dynamic qualities taken for granted in Alfa Romeos.
In addition, every customer can adapt the new car to their specific driving requirements thanks to Alfa Romeo’s D.N.A. selector. But this is just one of the electronic systems that the Compact platform was designed to integrate and exploit. Others, fitted as standard to every model in the range, include the Electronic Q2 differential and the VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) system.
A range of five new engines – three petrol and two diesel – all of which are turbocharged and Euro 5 emissions-compliant, gives the Giulietta further flexibility and makes it best in class for emissions, acceleration and fuel consumption. Even the smallest capacity, a 1.4-litre, has a lusty 120bhp. The new 1.4-litre TB MultiAir 170bhp offers the lowest emissions and fuel consumption in its class for petrol engines of this power rating.
The 105bhp JTDM-2 engine is a flexible and economical diesel that uses second-generation MultiJet technology to combine extremely low fuel consumption with a responsive drive. The 2.0-litre is another second-generation MultiJet diesel and has the highest performance in its sector courtesy of a hearty 350Nm of torque available at just 1750rpm. All these engines combine Start&Stop technology (excluding the 1750 TBi Cloverleaf version) and a gearshift indicator to enable drivers to achieve the best economy possible.
The most powerful engine in the range is Alfa Romeo’s new 1750 TBi petrol unit, which offers the performance of a three-litre but has the fuel consumption of a 1.6 litre four cylinder, employing revolutionary technology to ensure strong acceleration at low engine speeds with minimal turbo lag.
But the Giulietta isn’t just about being fun to drive. Each model, from the entry-level Turismo specification to the range-topping Cloverleaf, has a very high level of standard equipment. Electric windows all-round along with manual air conditioning and electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors are all standard. Move up to the Lusso model and you get dual zone automatic climate control, fog lights, leather steering wheel with audio controls and the Blue&Me™ hands-free infotainment system.
Both these cars come with the ‘comfort’ chassis specification. For a sportier drive the Veloce model features sports suspension, whilst the Cloverleaf sits on suspension that’s been lowered by 10mm for a more involving drive and a racier appearance. The Veloce also gets darkened headlights, fog lights, plus aluminium kick plates and pedals. The Cloverleaf model gets all this plus dark tinted windows, sporty red brake callipers, Visibility Pack, and 18” spoke design alloy wheels with a dark titanium finish.
Whichever the model, owners will get one of the safest cars on the road.
The new Alfa Giulietta was recently awarded a Euro NCAP five-star crash safety rating and an overall score of 87/100: an impressive result that makes it the safest compact car built to date.
The rating is even more significant considering that since 2009, Euro NCAP has adopted new judgement criteria composed of four areas of accident assessment, namely Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian Protection and a new area: Safety Assist. Injury avoidance and mitigation functions, such as seat belt reminder, ESP and speed limiter, are also rated. Achieving a five-star rating will become increasingly tough year by year (2009, 2010-2011, 2012). In this scenario, the rating achieved by the Alfa Giulietta (97% Adult Occupant, 85% Child Occupant, 63% Pedestrian Protection and 86%Safety Assist) means that the car will also have a five-star rating in 2012 when the assessment system will have reached maximum severity.
This major accolade yet again confirms Alfa Romeo’s special commitment to all aspects relating to the protection of all road users. The Alfa Giulietta was designed and built to obtain maximum passive and active safety performance. Evidence of this, for instance, is provided by the adoption of the most advanced electronic dynamic control systems (for braking and traction): the Vehicle Dynamic Control system which manages key functions like Hill Holder, traction control and emergency braking; the MSR system which prevents wheel locking when the throttle is released; the DST (Dynamic Steering Torque) system; Electronic Q2 which electronically simulates the presence of a self-locking differential, and the brand-new Pre-Fill system, which alerts the braking system that the accelerator pedal has been released, to decrease intervention time and consequently braking distance.
Thousands of hours of virtual simulations have gone into the creation of the new Compact platform, which is making its debut in the Giulietta. The quality of virtual design has been materially confirmed by running 200 tests on components and subsystems, some 150 Hyge slide shock test simulations and more than 80 crash tests (frontal impact, side impact, roll-over and shunting, taking various speeds, different types of obstacles and the need to protect occupants, physically very different from one another, into account). These numbers confirm Alfa Romeo’s profound commitment to making the new Giulietta one of the safest cars in Europe by ensuring that it contains the most advanced safety systems.
Six airbags are standard (two of which are Multistage), plus three-point seatbelts with double pretensioners and load limit limiters, and SAHR (Self Aligning Head Restraints), a new second-generation device built into the backrests of the front seats that moves the head restraints closer to the occupants’ heads in the event of an impact, to lessen the effects of whiplash. There is also a highly significant contribution to occupant and pedestrian protection provided by the body, the bonnet, the doors and the dashboard crossmember, in addition to the seats and steering column.
The efficacy of all these systems is maximised by a three load line front structure that guarantees structural uniformity and consequently uniformity of response in the event of frontal impact, regardless of the type of obstacles or vehicle that the car is in collision with. This is a breakthrough in partner protection, because the vehicle is less ‘aggressive’ when crashing into the front or side of another vehicle, and in self protection, because uniform deformation makes the retaining systems more effective, regardless of the type of accident.
Finally, in the field of preventive safety, the new Giulietta uses headlights with Daytime Running Lights that are automatically switched on when the engine is started – to meet a specific European standard that will come into force in 2012 – and LED tail lights, brighter than conventional bulbs, for extra safety.
The Giulietta has a full complement of airbags plus an array of electronic devices designed to let drivers extract the maximum from their Alfa Romeo while staying safe at all times. There’s ABS anti-lock braking with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD); Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) – Alfa Romeo’s interpretation of Electronic Stability Programme; Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Steering Torque (DST), Hydraulic Brake Assistance (HBA) and the new Pre-Fill function for the brakes.
It ensures that drivers can concentrate of getting maximum pleasure out of their driving while safe in the knowledge that the car is looking after them.
RIDE AND HANDLING
- All-new platform
- Weight saving technology throughout
- D.N.A. system standard for extra adjustability
To satisfy drivers who demand the highest levels of road holding and agility in a comfortable, practical and safe package, the Alfa Giulietta sits on an all-new platform called Compact.
This chassis will underpin all future Fiat Group mid-size vehicles and so has a high degree of modularity for multiple applications. From the outset the aim was for it to be ranked best in class for handling, steering feel, performance to weight ratio, ride comfort, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), active and passive safety and climatic comfort.
This enables the Giulietta to offer two different types of driving experience. The Turismo and Lusso models sit on a ‘comfort’ chassis while the Veloce and Cloverleaf have a more sport-oriented set-up, with the Cloverleaf also featuring 10mm lowered suspension.
This has been possible because the latest Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform has been built with 90 per cent of its structure employing either high or ultra-high strength materials. The few components that have been carried over have been thoroughly revised to improve performance and slash weight. This has led to the Giulietta having a minimal (1.5 per cent) weight increase compared to its smaller, less lavishly equipped predecessor.
A magnesium dashboard support shaves 6kg; giving the pedal board a plastic support along with a plastic clutch pedal saves 3kg; and a new rear seat back that employs thermoplastics in both structure and cushions pares 7kg.
Aluminium has been employed in the MacPherson front suspension pillars, making them 8kg lighter than the 147. At the rear a sophisticated multi-link suspension solution has been used because it ensures the best possible exchange of forces between the road and tyres for excellent handling, while also offering good ride comfort and minimal boot intrusion. Manufacturing the wishbones and rear cross member from aluminium has reduced weight by 10kg compared to conventional multi-link systems used by competitors.
This has an impact on performance. Keeping weight, particularly that of non-suspended (unsprung) masses, to a minimum, gives even greater ride comfort. Improved stiffness and low mass give the structure a high natural frequency to give good vibration performance and insulate the cabin from the road, reducing driving noise.
The electric power steering system is also new. This employs two pinions on the steering column. The control pinion mechanically connects the steering wheel and rack for direct and precise steering that feels natural. The second power pinion transmits the torque generated by the electric motor to the rack. The result reduces fuel consumption by 3 per cent compared to a regular hydraulic set-up, gives variable performance depending on driving conditions and speed, and allows the steering to be influenced by the car’s electronic systems.
The new platform has been specifically designed to integrate and optimise different electronic systems in order to make the Giulietta one of the safest and most enjoyable drives in its sector. The brains behind this is Alfa Romeo’s D.N.A. system which is fitted as standard across the entire range and acts on the engine, brakes, steering, suspension and gearbox to allow drivers to hone the car’s responses to the conditions.
For sporty reactions, it offers Dynamic mode; there’s Normal for the urban environment and All-Weather for maximum safety in low grip conditions. It achieves these adaptations by modifying the operating parameters of the engine, gearbox (in the case of the automatic), steering, brakes and Electronic Q2 differential.
Normal mode is designed for relaxed driving, so every component controlled by the DNA system is in its regular configuration. This offers a lively engine, discreet Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Dynamic Steering Torque that controls oversteer. By simply moving the switch positioned ahead of the gear lever to Dynamic, the VDC and Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) become less intrusive, the engine is made more responsive, the steering enjoys less power assistance for a sportier feel, and the Electronic Q2 system is enabled.
This works in conjunction with the VDC and uses the braking system to simulate the behaviour of a Limited Slip Differential. When the driver accelerates through corners it constantly distributes torque between the driving wheels, modulating the braking of the inner wheel while feeding power to the outer loaded wheel. The result is better traction and a more agile feeling from behind the wheel. The steering also helps make the Giulietta feel sportier by sensing lateral acceleration that’s greater than 0.6g and providing increased resistance to the steering wheel to help the driver’s feel of the road, particularly through fast bends.
D.N.A.’s Dynamic setting also activates a new function called Pre-Fill. This has been designed to give the brake pedal the feel of a racing car. It recognises that the driver is about to brake when the accelerator is released and increases the pressure inside the braking system by between five and seven bars. This reduces pedal travel by 30 per cent and ensures quicker braking response.
On its third setting, All-Weather, DNA makes the ASR more responsive and ensures the Giulietta is easier to control on low grip surfaces.
- Five Euro 5 engines
- Class-leading performance and economy
- Return of the ‘1750’
The latest Alfa Giulietta has a range of five high performance engines, all of which conform to the latest Euro 5 emissions criteria.
The most powerful petrol engine in the range is the 1750 TBi, a twin overhead camshaft, direct injection, variable valve timing engine that brings the classic 1750 capacity back to the Alfa Romeo range but with a modern twist. This innovative turbocharged unit provides more horsepower and torque per litre than any other four-cylinder petrol engine found in this class of car.
The resulting performance is equivalent to a three-litre while economy remains in line with a compact four-cylinder engine.
At the core of this power unit are a number of major innovations. It makes far better use of the turbocharger than conventional turbocharged petrol engines thanks to new scavenging technology. An ECU installed with ultra-modern engine parameter management software monitors and optimises fuel dosage, ignition advance and timing. This ultra-precise valve timing generates a direct flow of air from intake to exhaust manifolds, activating the variable geometry turbocharger instantly. Maximum torque at 1500rpm is 70 per cent greater than a conventional turbo engine, with response times more than halved. And maximum torque can be accessed at only 1900rpm, dramatically improving driveability at low engine RPM.
This engine also employs direct injection with innovative seven-hole injectors to help reduce emissions. And it has dual variable valve timing while the next-generation turbocharger optimises the use of exhaust pressure waves to increase torque at low speeds.
While the 1750 TBi is the jewel in the Giulietta’s crown, there are plenty of other gems. The entry point 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine develops a healthy 120bhp at 5000rpm and its maximum 206Nm of torque is available at 1750rpm, ensuring progress is relaxed, and making it ideal for handling city traffic. More than 120,000 hours of work has gone into developing this four valve per cylinder engine, with particular attention paid to minimising power loss and increasing efficiency so that high levels of performance can be accessed with limited fuel consumption and emissions.
As with every other engine in the range, apart from the 1750 TBi, it features Start&Stop technology as standard. This system temporarily cuts the engine instead of idling and is reckoned to cut consumption by 15 per cent over an urban route.
Start&Stop also cuts vibrations in the passenger compartment, but should the driver wish to override it, there’s a control near the steering wheel to do so. Linked in to this system is the Gear Shift Indicator which discreetly tells the driver when it’s the most efficient point in the RPM range to change gear. They represent two simple yet effective methods for drivers to economise on fuel.
Giulietta owners keen on cutting costs while still wanting plenty of power will find that the 1.4-litre TB MultiAir engine with its fixed geometry turbocharger ticks those boxes. It combines a small cubic capacity with a high power output, 170bhp, yet emits just 134g/km of CO2. This is thanks to the MultiAir system which could be as important to the development of the petrol engine as common rail was to diesel power more than a decade ago. MultiAir takes the control of engine ignition to previously unthinkable levels of efficiency. Compared to a conventional petrol engine of the same capacity, this technology boosts power by 10 per cent and torque by 15 per cent, yet slashes fuel consumption and emissions both by 10 per cent.
However, drivers who choose diesel power need not feel short changed. The 1.6 JTDM-2 represents a major advance over rival units due to the amount of torque it delivers at low engine RPM. The 280Nm at 1500rpm that it develops, increasing to 320Nm at just 1750rpm (in Dynamic mode), means the engine is responsive and lusty. Yet it’s economical too, with carbon dioxide emissions of just 114g/km, and an economy figure of 64.2mpg on a combined cycle. On top of this, a servicing interval of 21,000 miles is particularly lengthy and cuts running costs further, making the Giulietta more appealing to business car customers.
Top of the diesel line-up is the 2.0-litre JTDM-2. This engine uses a new variable geometry turbocharger to give better performance than any of its rivals in terms of acceleration,torque, economy and emissions. A particularly healthy 350Nm at 1750rpm gives the Giulietta superb get-up and go, yet CO2 emissions are just 124g/km. Both MultiJet engines use an oil pump with an on/off type solenoid valve. This varies the capacity of the pump depending on engine operating conditions, which means that the engine absorbs less power from the pump, in turn reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by two per cent.
All engines feature a state-of-the-art manual six-speed gearbox. This is from a new family of three axle transmissions that have an improved change quality and are more compact than transmissions with two axles. The six-speed also means that at motorway speeds the engine revs lower than with a five-speed box, giving less noise and lower consumption.
From early 2011 a dual-clutch transmission will become available in conjunction with the 1.4 litre TB MultiAir 170bhp and 170bhp 2.0 JTDM-2 engines. This is effectively two gearboxes, each with its own clutch. When an odd numbered gear is selected, the next even numbered gear is primed. When the gear is changed, clutches are simply swapped, guaranteeing continuous torque and therefore traction. It makes driving more efficient, more comfortable and most definitely more fun.
- Handsome and practical
- Class leading occupant comfort
- Well equipped throughout the range
Alfa Romeo’s aim has been to guarantee that any journey undertaken in the Giulietta should be a pleasure for driver and passengers. The interior space was devised to make it practical for everyday use, while inspiration from the 8C Competizione ensures it maintains the firm’s core strength of driver appeal.
The result is a car that has best-in-class headroom for tall drivers when the seat is pushed back and lowered, and is equally class topping for rear leg room. It is also ahead of its rivals for noise suppression thanks to a sound-proofing film in the windscreen, thicker side windows, and damping material to counter body vibrations.
Carefully crafted materials use subtle shades to make the interior feel light and therefore spacious. And it doesn’t just look good; it feels good too thanks to enhanced ergonomics ensuring every switch is ideally located for driver access. The main switches, which share their design with the 8C Competizione, are grouped together at the centre of the dashboard for easy access.
Ahead of the driver there’s a sporty three-spoke steering wheel while the seats are supple yet still supportive. To make the Giulietta easy to live with, it’s been crammed with storage solutions. In front of the gear lever, on the centre console and in the doors there are open compartments. There are closed compartments on top of the dashboard, under it opposite the front passenger, and in the front and rear arm rests. Depending on the model, the front storage bin can be cooled with dual-zone climate control.
The Giulietta range is split into four trim levels: entry-level Turismo, Lusso, Veloce and Cloverleaf. Standard equipment across the range is comprehensive but a lot of thought has gone into differentiating the various models. One example is the steering wheel. It’s vital for transmitting the feel of the car to the driver, so every trim level gets a different looking and progressively sportier one.
No Giulietta driver will feel short-changed when it comes to kit. The Turismo version features remote central locking and boot release, electric windows front and rear, height adjustable driver’s seat, 60/40 split folding rear seats, front airbag deactivation on the passenger side, and manual air-conditioning.
From the Lusso upwards there’s automatic dual-zone climate control. This system has been completely revised so that it now keeps the passenger compartment at the optimum temperature while consuming 30 per cent less fuel than a conventional system.
Lusso versions also get sports dials with white illumination, an alarm system, a steering wheel with ‘infotainment’ system controls, chrome effect window sills, cruise control, and the Blue&Me™ hands-free system with voice recognition and media player with USB port.
Veloce specification versions add to existing Lusso equipment with side skirts, sports suspension, leather and microfibre upholstery, and 17” Turbine design alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres.
Finally, top-of-the-range Cloverleaf versions add to Veloce specification with Cloverleaf badging, lowered suspension, red brake callipers, dark tinted windows and 18” Spoke design alloy wheels with a dark titanium finish and 225/40 R18 tyres.
Blue&Me is the Fiat Group’s ground-breaking hands-free system that allows mobile phones and sound system to be accessed and controlled either from the steering wheel or using Bluetooth and advanced voice recognition. It is standard equipment on Lusso versions and above.
There’s a choice of two navigation systems. The Blue &Me™-Tom Tom® portable navigation system which works in conjunction with Blue &Me™ is available as an after-sales accessory. Navigation is also available as an option employing a 6.5-inch colour screen Radio NAV that rises out of the top of the dashboard. European maps are available on an SD card to let owners travel far and wide in their Giulietta, receiving accurate route information without taking their eyes off the road.
The Giulietta is a bigger car than its predecessor and this is reflected in its luggage space. At 350 litres it’s on a par with its main competitors and 16 per cent bigger than the Alfa 147. Usefully, it’s a regular square shape and its width of 1022mm is 21 per cent up on its predecessor.
- Most comprehensive equipment in its sector
- Integrated safety engineering from the platform up
- Vast array of electronics limit potential for accidents and damage
One of the cornerstones of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is class-leading safety. During its development the car underwent 15,000 hours of mathematical modelling, 80 crash tests, 150 tests on a HyGe slide and more than 200 tests on components and sub-systems. This has been reflected in its five-star EuroNCAP performance.
As a result every model features the most comprehensive range of safety equipment in the segment. This includes six airbags (front multi-stage, side and curtain), five three-point seat belts with double pretensioners and load limiters, a collapsible pedal unit and steering column, a second-generation anti-whiplash system, and Isofix attachments.
To absorb energy from low speed impacts and support the bumper in a collision with pedestrians, there’s a third load path element. This allows the front to deform uniformly, making the car less ‘aggressive’ in head-on and side-on collisions. But because engineers have used aluminium for elements surrounding the front beam, 8.5kg has been pared from the weight. The rear bumper beam and third load path energy absorption elements have been made from thermoplastic Xenoy, giving a weight reduction of 4kg compared with a more traditional solution.
Every effort has been made to prevent Giulietta drivers being involved in an accident in the first place. Thus the hydraulic power assisted braking system comprising two crossover independent circuits has been specifically designed for progressive braking with shorter stopping distances.
The size of the brakes varies according to the engine. The 120bhp 1.4-litre petrol and 105bhp 1.6-litre JTDM-2have 281mm self-ventilating front discs and cast iron floating callipers. The 170bhp 1.4-litre MultiAir and 170bhp 2.0-litre JTDM-2 engined models are fitted with 305mm self-ventilating discs and cast iron floating callipers. Each of these engine sizes is equipped with 264mm solid rear brake discs and cast iron callipers. The most powerful version in the range, the 235bhp 1750 TBi features 330mm self-ventilating front discs with aluminium fixed callipers. The rears are fitted with 278mm solid discs, again with cast iron callipers.
The ABS anti-lock braking system that governs these brakes is one of the most advanced currently available. It has four active sensors and features Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) to spread braking force over all four wheels. It also adapts to the prevailing conditions, depending on grip and brake pad efficiency.
In addition to these fundamentals, every vehicle in the range features a sophisticated suite of electronics designed to reduce the chances of an accident taking place and improve occupants’ safety if one does.
This is spearheaded by Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). As Alfa Romeo’s ‘take’ on Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), this system remains in the background monitoring tyre grip in longitudinal and lateral directions, the car’s yaw and the angle of the steering wheel. These are then compared with set parameters so that it can judge whether the situation is about to become unsafe.
An integral part of VDC is Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR). This employs the ABS anti-lock braking sensors to calculate the degree of slip. If it finds excessive power is causing both front wheels to slip, it decreases the throttle opening. If only one wheel is slipping the appropriate brakes are applied.
The Giulietta’s VDC also works in conjunction with Dynamic Steering Torque (DST). This improves both safety and handling by working alongside the VDC to provide feedback torque through the steering wheel that helps the driver respond to critical situations before VDC intervention is needed. Combined with its Mu-Split control function (MSF) it’s particularly effective when, for instance, two wheels are on ice and two on tarmac.
Another of the ways the Giulietta combines safety with performance is courtesy of the braking system. The Hydraulic Brake Assistance system increases brake circuit pressure under emergency braking situations to shorten stopping distances. And the system includes a Hill Holder which automatically simulates a traditional hill start by stopping the car rolling backwards on an incline.
- Inspired by the past, designed for the future
- Dynamic like a coupe, practical like a saloon
- Innovative light show
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a unique blend of sportiness and style that draws inspiration from the firm’s rich heritage and brings it into the 21st Century. Yet despite styling which inherits much of its emotion from the 8C Competizione supercar, the Giulietta is a practical machine with excellent on-board space and comfort.
The front is typical of the new generation of Alfa Romeos, forceful but attractive with an off-set number plate and a brand new interpretation of the classic shield grille suspended between the air vents and headlights.
In profile the Giulietta has the dynamism and fluidity of a coupe, despite having all the practicality of a five door. This is further enhanced by the concealed rear door handles, muscular wheel arches and deep side skirts.
The rear is similarly beefy, giving the Giulietta the appearance of a car that really grips the road. The bumper meanwhile accommodates the number plate and depending on the version, integral exhaust tail pipes.
This is complemented by head and tail lights that employ LED technology. Compared with conventional bulbs, these lights are brighter, more reliable and don’t use as much power, thereby cutting running costs. The Giulietta also features Daytime Running Lights that will become a European standard in 2012. These guarantee maximum visibility but use less energy.
The 1954 Turin Motor Show was a particularly special occasion for Alfa Romeo. Talk of the Show was a stunningly beautiful coupé styled by Bertone and powered by a new twin cam engine that was to become the heartbeat of Alfa’s bright future. The timing was perfect for the car-hungry mass market. With its delightful mechanicals, hyper-responsive driving charm, and price positioning, the new model, compared to its rivals anywhere in the world, was unbeatable.
These early Giuliettas are highly significant in Alfa Romeo’s glorious history, and were very influential to car designers for decades to come. In 1998, during the selection of the award for Car of the Century, the jury of 135 respected automotive journalists voted the 1954 Giulietta Sprint Coupé among the top nominations. “One of the great things about the Giulietta was the way it brought elegant Italian looks to a showroom where buying, rather than looking was possible for many people,” claimed the Car of the Century panel.
Work on this automotive jewel, called Project 750, started at the end of 1951 with a team of passionate and talented engineers headed by Orazio Satta Puliga and Rudolf Hruska, a pupil of the great Ferdinand Porsche. With a light aluminium block and crankcase, the engine was designed to be adaptable for a wide variety of models from commercial van to sports car. Until 1954, only Jaguar had put a twin-cam engine into true quantity production, but by the start of the 1960s Alfa Romeo had overtaken Jaguar’s figures.
The Bertone coupé was the first of the Giulietta family, but its brilliant qualities of superb engine, good handling, and great value were present in all the body styles including Saloon 1955, Spider 1955, Estate 1957, and even a long wheelbase ceremonial version by coachbuilder Colli.
When introduced in 1954, the newly-designed four-cylinder engine produced 80bhp from just 1290cc and gave the little car a top speed of 102mph. At the time, this was outstanding performance and naturally made the Giulietta an excellent competition car.
In 1956 Alfa modified the engine to give an extra 10bhp and introduced the Sprint Veloce model which gave a top speed of 112mph. Seven years after its introduction, the Giulietta was still competitive, as proved by a Ti saloon winning the 1300cc class of the FIA Grand Touring Championship, beating much more modern cars.
The Giulietta also inspired some of Italy’s most illustrious coachbuilders, with Bertone creating the memorable Sprint Speciale, and Zagato the formidable SZ. These limited production, high performance versions are among the most coveted classic Alfa Romeos.
More than any other model, the Giulietta changed Alfa Romeo’s public image, moving away from exclusive, expensive cars to affordable thoroughbreds with world-wide appeal.
ALFA ROMEO CENTENARY
Seductive style and rewarding performance have been synonymous with the peaks of Alfa Romeo’s rich history. From Grand Prix winners to city taxis, Alfas are renowned for being great driving machines that have always inspired a passionate following. Throughout the illustrious manufacturer’s last century, Italy’s most renowned engineers and stylists have created some of the greatest cars which are now prized in top automobile collections around the World.
From the earliest 24 HP designed in 1910 by Giuseppe Merosi for the newly formed Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (ALFA) of Milan, to the latest Giulietta unveiled 100 years later at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the great Italian marquee has consistently stirred the soul of automotive enthusiasts world-wide.
ALFA ROMEO TIMELINE
> 1910 The first company A.L.F.A (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) is started at the Portello factory in Milan
> 1911 Alfa competes for the first time in the Targa Florio.
> 1914 Count Marco Ricotti builds the amazing streamlined 40-60hp saloon with egg-shaped bodywork by Castagna that looks like it could have landed from space.
> 1915 Industrialist Nicola Romeo takes over the company.
> 1918 The cars built after WW1 carry the name Alfa Romeo for the first time.
> 1920 The first sporting Alfa, the 20/30ES is launched, with a top speed of 87mph. Enzo Ferrari finishes second in the Targa Florio driving this remarkably fast car.
> 1923 First four wheel brakes are fitted to the handsome 3-litre RL range. Ferrari wins the Circuit of Savio, a performance that so impressed the parents of fighter pilot Francesco Baracca that they gave Ferrari their son’s prancing horse badge. This was carried on all Alfa team cars which Ferrari managed.
> 1924 Alfa Romeo wins the French Grand Prix with the P2 designed by a talented ex-Fiat engineer, Vittorio Jano, who would be responsible for such greats as the 6C 1750, 8C 2300 and the Tipo B.
> 1926 Jano, one of the greatest automotive engineers, replaces chief designer Giuseppe Merosi.
> 1927 The 6C-1500 touring car designed by Jano goes into production.
> 1928 The supercharged 6C Gran Sport established Alfa Romeo as a premier sports car manufacturer, particularly when fitted with beautiful bodywork by Zagato. Campari and Ramponi win the Mille Miglia, the first of 10 dominant victories in this epic Italian road race before WW2.
> 1931 The 8C-2300, the ultimate pre-war sports car, is ready for sale. Only 188 of these exotics were made in four years and Alfa made no profit from them.
> 1931 British aces Earl Howe and ‘Bentley Boy’ Henry Birkin win the Le Mans 24 Hours in an 8C-2300. Alfa dominated the French endurance classic in 1932,1933 and 1934.
> 1935 The great Tazio Nuvolari beats the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union teams to win the German Grand Prix in a Tipo B.
> 1935 The 8C-2900 with all-independent suspension and supercharged 180bhp engine has spectacular 120mph performance. With bodywork by Touring, this is one of the most beautiful cars of the 1930s. Just 30 were built in spider and coupe form.
> 1950 Production policy changes result in a move to mass production on a new assembly line with the new 1900 designed by Orazio Satta. With unitary construction, this was the first Alfa to have left-hand drive. Over 17,000 were built.
> 1950 Giuseppe Farina becomes the first World Champion driving the unbeatable Alfetta Tipo 158, taking three Grand Prix wins at Silverstone, Bremgarten and Monza.
> 1951 Juan Fangio is World Champion driving the Alfetta in its last season.
> 1951 Alfa returns to sports car racing with the Disco Volante (Flying Saucer), so named after its distinctive streamlined bodywork by Touring. The great Fangio drove a 6-cylinder version to victory in the 1953 Supercortemaggiore GP.
> 1953 Turin coachbuilder Bertone creates the sensational BAT 5 dream car which launched a brilliant young stylist called Franco Scaglione into the limelight . The design recorded a low drag coefficient of 0.23. With scrolled body form and wild tail fins, the BAT Alfas 3,5 and 7 were the sensation of motor shows in the 1950s.
> 1954 The Giulietta is born, a landmark in Alfa history. Designed by Orazio Satta Puliga, this twin-ohc 1290cc engine is the smallest twin-camshaft motor to be made in such quantity. The exquisitely formed Sprint GT was the star of the Turin Show.
> 1963 A new factory at Arese near Milan is opened to produce the Giulia in greater numbers.
> 1966 The new Pinin Farina-styled Duetto 2-seater spider is launched and stars in the cult movie The Graduate, in which it’s driven by Dustin Hoffman. Production continued in various forms until 1994.
> 1967 The Tipo 33 Stradale, a road-going version of the sports prototype appears at the 1967 Monza Racing Car Show with stunning bodywork by Franco Scaglioni. Just 18 of these 160mph supercars were built by Autodelta, and were the most expensive cars in the world at that time.
> 1971 The Alfasud is announced at the Turin Motor Show. with plans for production at a new factory in the south of Italy. With brilliant styling by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design, this front-wheel drive, flat four cylinder 1186cc powered small car was a new direction for the marque.
> 1976 The Giulietta name was revived for new, boxy saloon using Alfetta engines and transmission.
> 1985 To celebrate Alfa Romeo’s 75th anniversary the Giulietta is replaced by the 75.
> 1986 Alfa Romeo is sold by the government-backed IRL to Fiat.
> 1989 Historic links with Zagato are revived with the dramatic SZ. This chunky coupé was powered by a 210bhp version of the glorious Alfa V6.
> 1998 Alfa Romeo wins Car of the Year with the stylish 156 saloon.
> 2001 Alfa Romeo wins Car of the Year with the 147 compact hatchback.
> 2003 The fabulous 8C Competizione concept car is introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Production starts in 2007 with a limited series of 500, which sell out immediately.
> 2010 The evocative Giulietta name is revived for a dazzling new Alfa five door compact that is launched to great acclaim at the Geneva Motor Show.