Thursday, July 15, 2010

'evo' mag reviews the nuova Giuletta Cloverleaf

Not sure these reviewers really know their cars, to be honest. Especially when they pretend to know Alfa Romeo. Whilst some Alfas crack along like the true GTAs of the past, in the main they have built warm, characterful sedans with a technical edge, smaller, stylish and clean-handling coupes and softish but sweet-engined grand tourers that lope along the autostradas. Now I have owned a "mark 2" Giulietta (arrow-shaped body on an Alfetta 'chassis'), a 33ti and an '82 Alfetta GTV. None of these cars were red-blooded ultimate powerhouses, rather they were a step short: nimble, exciting, stylish but comfortable cars with an emphasis on long, fast drives on good to great roads. They could also spit fire and venom when required but that really wasn't the main dish. Underneath all of them was that feeling of Italian passion in the style and handling, the interior and the sound of the engine. But sharp instrument just a notch off racing caliber? It was more of a suggestion, a hint. These older Alfas could be modded successfully to great reward, but the standard roadcars - even the green cloverleafs and GTVs - were not lightened GTAs. They were tourers.

Somehow journos always equate 'Italian passion' with top speed, quickest-in-class-acceleration and noise that drives you batty after 15 minutes. Whereas Italian cars are usually much more user-friendly than that. Doesn't mean they won't make a new GTA but it's sad they expect every Alfa to be a GTA...      

Giulietta Cloverleaf takes on Golf GTI & Leon Cupra | evo
Golf first, Leon second (but easily the best value), Giulietta third. Pity, but there it is. This is new Alfa: better built, more mainstream and easier to live with, but in chasing the Golf GTI so assiduously, Alfa has lost sight of the bigger picture: it’s forgotten to inject the stuff that makes us love Italian cars unconditionally. So what we’ve ended up with is an Italian car that lacks the flair, vigour and passion of a German car. It’s an Alfa, but not as we know it.

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