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New Alfa Romeo Giulia Estrema 2022 review

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Estrema adds some sporty trim from the red-hot Quadrifoglio, but is it worth the money? We find out...

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Verdict

This new Estrema model proves that the Giulia saloon still offers sporty dynamics, but this is little more than a trim pack that returns some kit to the car that was previously discontinued – and we still feel Alfa could have done even more on this front, adding some elements from the hotter Quadrifoglio. Inheriting the Veloce’s engine means straight-line performance isn’t as strong as what the chassis delivers, but it’s effective enough. The subtle styling tweaks add just a little more appeal, while practicality and tech remain unchanged.

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The Alfa Romeo Giulia Estrema – or ‘Extreme’ translated into English – is a logical progression for the Italian brand. It’s slimmed down Giulia range is offered in, among other specifications, both sporty Veloce and red hot Quadrifoglio versions, and this new car uses the former for its technical basis and adds some sporty trim inspired by the latter. It’ll replace the UK-specific Veloce Ti trim level, so expect prices for the Estrema to be around the £47,000 mark.

The Estrema uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 276bhp and 400Nm of torque, driving an eight-speed automatic gearbox. But the car’s chassis inherits the adaptive dampers that were previously discontinued on the Veloce, as well as a limited-slip differential.

Fire up the Estrema and the four-cylinder engine doesn’t give the same impression as the car’s sporty carbon fibre trim additions project. It’s not the most musical note. On the move it also feels a little flat and needs working hard to extract the performance. At higher revs there’s a nicer rasp, but it’s not a great engine.

The tweaks have certainly taughtened up the car’s body control compared with the Veloce. The adaptive suspension can now tie the body down better to make the most of the sharp, fast and crisp steering; the Giulia is still one of the best-driving sports saloons there is and serves up a level of agility that few cars in this class can match, which has always been its USP.

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Our European-spec all-wheel drive Q4 model’s added traction meant that we couldn’t feel the full effect of the differential, but even pushing the car hard under cornering, what impact there is from the rear axle is negated as the stability control cuts in far too early as the diff starts to tighten the car’s line. This despite a great level of grip on offer.

The brand’s DNA drive mode selector is still present, but the Estrema lacks the Quadrifoglio’s extra Race setting – we think this would unlock yet another small extra step when it comes to engagement and fun.

The Q4’s extra taction isn’t really needed as the Estrema’s engine doesn’t often overwhelm the tyres, but it does mean that this car will sprint from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds, which is a respectable time for a 2.0-litre saloon. But whereas in the Quadrifoglio the transmission’s shifts are sharp and snappy, they felt just a little too lethargic for the added precision the new chassis brings, not helping the engine’s character either, with slurred changes.

Inside, the Estrema is similar to other Giulias in the line-up, which means it’s good but not great relative to rivals that offer more technology.

Alfa’s infotainment improvements to the model a few years ago mean the 8.8-inch interface is easy enough to use while there’s a good level of connectivity, but it’s not as slick as some. Estrema models also benefit from the Veloce’s solid level of kit.

Quality is good enough and the half-Alcantara, half-leather sports seats add a slightly racier feel along with red stitching and more carbon fibre trim on the centre console, dash and doors. The grille surround and door mirror caps are also finished in the woven material; Quadrofoglio-inspired telephone-dial style 19-inch alloy wheels are fitted as standard.

The Giulia is still based on the soon-to-be-retired Giorgio platform, and as the basic body is unchanged it means the level of space inside the saloon remains; there’s enough, but it’s not as roomy as a BMW 3 Series, while the 480-litre means there’s enough practicality.

Model:Alfa Romeo Giulia Estrema Q4
Price:£47,000 (2WD est.)
Engine:2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
Transmission:276bhp/400Nm
0-62mph:5.2 seconds
Top speed:149mph
Economy:34.9mpg
CO2:184g/km
On sale:April
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