New Giulietta could drive Alfa Romeo's forward

In the 1950s the Alfa Giulietta caught the imagination of the driving public with its sporty appeal, attractive looks and accessible pricing. Now, more than 50 years later, the Italian sporting car manufacturer is celebrating its centenary with a new namesake which goes on sale here this summer.

The latest incarnation of the Giulietta has been designed to beat the best in the mid-size C segment. That is 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 says it has penned a new car that sits on a 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, Alfa says customers can adapt the new car to their specific driving requirements thanks to Italian carmaker's DNA.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 vehicle dynamic control system.

A range of five new engines - three petrol and two diesel - could be offered here, all of which are turbocharged and Euro 5 emissions-compliant. This gives the Giulietta added 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 multi air 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 multi jet technology to combine extremely low fuel consumption with a responsive drive. The 2.0-litre is another second-generation multi jet 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 and 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 Fiat says the Giulietta is not just about being fun to drive. Each model, from the entry-level specification to the range-topping Cloverleaf, will have a high level of standard equipment.

Some versions will feature the ‘comfort’ chassis specification. For a sportier drive the Veloce model features sports suspension, while the Cloverleaf sits on suspension that has been lowered by 10mm for a more involving drive and a racier appearance.

Alfa points out that owners will get one of the safest cars on the road because the new Giulietta was recently awarded a Euro NCAP five-star crash safety rating and an overall score of 87/100. Alfa Romeo says this is an impressive result that makes it the safest compact car built to date.

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