Reply to the comments by a motoring jounalist

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Reply to the comments by a motoring jounalist

Postby ImkerHoogenhout » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:44 am

The attached is my reply to an article; a link to the article is included:

Mamma Mia! 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia review by Alexander Parker ... w-20170522

I am driving my 4th Alfa Romeo, and the last one is the new Giulia (the first in Vereeniging) which was reviewed by Alexander Parker.

I am obviously biased towards Alfa Romeo, so the following comments, as Alexander said “This is all about me”.

I first want to say that, reading comments about this car by a broad spectrum of motoring scribes from different countries highlights the dilemma that persons studying these articles have in trying to get a true image of the car.
To name one small item, and that is the navigation of the central screen: one commentator described the method of navigation as “unintuitive”, while another said it was “wonderfully intuitive”.
But I think this also shows the dilemma of the road tester: He or she seldom has enough time to really learn a car, especially something such as an Alfa Romeo which is always different to others, and to really get the knack of everything.

I wish to give comments on some of items mentioned by Alexander:

Alexander found the throttle “oversensitive”. But one of the characteristics of Alfa Romeo for 60 years and longer is the so-called “crisp” throttle response. This is in total contrast to that of the normal Mercedes Benz C- and E-class products: the throttles on these cars are calibrated to have very little effect over almost half the throttle pedal travel. This gives it an almost “mushy” character, but it makes it very easy to drive these cars smoothly, and is in line with the aura of “grandness” that Mercedes Benz wishes to exude. The Giulia has the so-called “DNA”-selector, and selecting the “A”-mode does make the throttle less sharp, and the car pulls away in 2nd gear, so, to my mind, using this “A”-setting is a way to give the car a more Mercedes Benz-like character, if that is what one prefers. The “N” position is rather normal, but know that if you select “D” then everything DOES become “Dynamic” – including the engine “barking” when you change down, as the revs are quickly matched to the new gear.

And the brakes, which Alexander also battled with: I do not have this problem and find that it is, in fact, easy to brake smoothly. But, again, the car has a brake-by-wire system (binary as Alexander pointed out – hydraulic to the wheels, but electrically activated), and this system amplifies your input when you suddenly brake harder, resulting in class-leading rapid deceleration, and a fright to your passengers. I suspect this is also where the time-to-learn-the-car for the tester, which is normally short (seldom longer than a week), comes in.

This Alfa Romeo has the quickest, most direct steering, of all D-class sedans, and to the enthusiast this is a present from heaven. Alexander had a problem with this, and I must say there was one other tester (from abroad) who also didn’t like this sensitive direct sporty steering. But, once again, this is Alfa Romeo – quick steering.

In fact 3 of the things that Alexander complained about – quick steering, sensitive brakes and rapid throttle response, are 3 of the things that distinguish an Alfa from the competition. The 4th is roadholding, but Alexander didn’t elaborate on this.

The fact that an Alfa Romeo Giulia QV managed to set a new lap record at Nürburgring indicates that these 4 items are well in balance. This brings back memories of the fights in South Africa between the Alfa Romeo GTV’s of yore, and the BMW’S: the BMW had a bigger engine, had more kW, a higher maximum speed and accelerated faster to 60 mph / 100 km/h, yet the Alfa beat the BMW around Kyalami, which also indicated then the better overall balance of the Alfa.

And to other features:
Another writer said that the coolest thing about the new Alfa Romeo Giulia is the carbon fibre driveshaft! It is a first in a mass-production car, and this lower rotating mass must surely assist the car to achieve, for a 147 kW engine, good acceleration figures.

Some other items:

1. On my car fitted with the 18” 5-hole wheels the front and rear wheels are not the same! Front 225/45R18 on 8J rims. Rear 255/40R18 on 9J rims.
2. Separate cooling systems for normal engine cooling, and the turbocharger shaft and water-cooled intercooler.
3. High-mounted turbocharger leading to a short and direct path from air cleaner to turbocharger compressor to intercooler to inlet manifold.
4. Aluminium struts between the centre of the car, and the upper wishbone and shock absorber tower.
5. Bonnet fixes with a 2 latches, one at each side, presumably to prevent to the carbon fibre bonnet of the QV from flapping at 300+ km/h.
6. Aluminium steering wheel shift-paddles, fixed to the steering column, for changing the gears
7. Throttle pedal, in time-honoured sporting tradition, is fixed to the floor (and not suspended from above).
8. Ventilated disc brakes at the rear wheels.

So what must Joe Soap or Jane Doe believe when they read these conflicting articles on this Alfa (contrast the comments by Sean Parker and Alexander Parker), or any other car for that matter? I would say study as much as you can, try to get an “average” feeling, then go and look / test drive the car, and finally make up your own mind.


Imker Hoogenhout – Vereeniging

PS Comparing the Alfa Romeo Giulia 2,9 ℓ QV and the Porsche Panamera Turbo:

Alfa Romeo Giulia QV; 2,9 ℓ; V6; Power 375 kW@ 6500 rpm; torque 600 Nm; 0-100 km/h in 3,8 seconds

Porsche Panamera Turbo: 4,0 ℓ, V8; Power 404 kW @ 6000 rpm; torque 770 Nm; 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds

Yet the Alfa beat the Porsche by 8 seconds around the Nürburgring, once again indicating the better overall balance of the Alfa Romeo.
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