Having made a stir, reaped awards, and after selling 40,000 units since its mid year launch in Italy, the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta has broken out of Europe and has arrived this week in the showrooms in Australia and New Zealand.

Having made a stir, reaped awards, and after selling 40,000 units since its mid year launch in Italy, the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta has broken out of Europe and has arrived this week in the showrooms in Australia and New Zealand.

Alfa Romeo has reborn one of the most evocative car names in automotive history with the arrival of the Giulietta in Australia and New Zealand and endowed it with a wealth of performance, styling and technology to ensure that it worthy of both its evocative name and the task of taking over the small car mantle that started with the classic Alfasud and includes the award winning Alfa Romeo 147.

“There is no doubt that the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta has very large shoes to fill,” says Andrei Zaitzev, General Manager of Alfa Romeo in Australia. “It carries one of the all-time great car names which graced some of the best cars of the last century and it must pick up the reins of a line of a cars that started with the AlfaSud, a true classic in its own right, through to the Alfa Romeo 147. It also steps into one of the most challenging sectors of the market, the prestige small car sector.”

“But there can be little doubt that the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta is fully equipped to succeed. The Giulietta has styling, both inside and out, that can only have come from the genius of Italian design; it is powered by two acclaimed and award-winning engines, the MultiAir and 1750 TBi units that set new standards for performance, economy and emissions and it sits on a new platform and chassis to ensure it has the handling, roadholding and natural balance of a thoroughbred,” explains Mr Zaitzev. “Add a comprehensive standard equipment list and a benchmark price and it clear that the 21st Century Alfa Romeo Giulietta is ready to open a fresh chapter in the catalogue of classic Alfa Romeo sports cars.”

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta arrives in the Australia market with a starting price excluding statutory charges and dealer delivery costs of A$36,990 rising to A$41,990 for the range topper. In New Zealand the range kicks off at NZ$46,990, rising to NZ$54,990.

The heart of the success of the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta is an all-new platform that encompasses the chassis, the floorpan and the basic structure of the car as a whole. The new Compact platform 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.

To ensure that the Giulietta fully lives up to the Alfa Romeo performance and sporting image, the new model arrives in Australia with a choice of two engines. The 1.4 litre Alfa Romeo MultiAir engine in its 125 kW form arrived last year to power the top version of the Alfa Romeo MiTo, the QV. In the Giulietta its blend of performance and economy makes it the ideal power unit for the entry level Giulietta. It provides a 0-100 kmh time of just 7.8 seconds, yet its official fuel consumption is as low as 4.6 litres per 100 km on the open road cycle and with a combined fuel figure of 5.8 litres per 100 km, it is as all but an economy car, something also illustrated by its CO2 figure of 134 gm per km.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV gains the latest version of the 1750 TBi engine first seen late last year in the Alfa Romeo 159, with its output lifted from 147 kW to 173 kW, while the torque peak is outstanding for both its potency – 340 Nm in the DNA’s dynamic mode – and for the engine speed at which it is achieved, just 1900 rpm. This means that the Giulietta QV not only offers excellent straight line performance – the 0-100 kmh time is 6.8 seconds and it maxes at 242 kmh – it also provides a quality of in-gear performance that is more redolent of performance provided by a 3.0 litre V6 engine. Yet, like its smaller sibling, this engine merely sips at the fuel tank. Its combined fuel figure is just 7.6 litres per 100 km.

But the Giulietta isn’t just about being fun to drive. Both Giuliettas share a long and healthily list of standard equipment. Electric windows all-round along with dual zone air conditioning and electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors are all standard as are automatic dipping interior mirror, fog lights, alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel with audio controls, automatic wipers and lights, as well as the Blue&Me™ hands-free infotainment system.

The Cloverleaf model gets sports suspension lowered by 10 mm, Sports Seats in mircofibre and leather with red stitching, Bose HiFi, dark tinted windows, sporty red brake callipers 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 EuroNCAP 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 in its class. The rating is even more significant considering that since 2009, EuroNCAP has adopted new judgment 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.

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.

© 2011 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed