Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6 JTDM-2: Lady In Red.

Accepted wisdom in the motoring world is that you must own or have driven an Alfa Romeo to class yourself as someone who enjoys the automotive side of life and that if you haven’t, you’re somehow less of a driver. Now MotorMartin doesn’t actually agree with this argument as there are other, fine driving machines out there. Jaguar anyone? 

And yet, there really can’t be any disagreement about the looks of an Alfa, that Italian flair, the deep reds, that iconic triangular front grill, that beautiful badge. The recent history of Alfa Romeo is littered with superb looking saloons and hatchbacks, think back to 1997 and the launch of the 156. Here was a car that looked amazing, the offset number plate, the subtly hidden rear door handles, everything about it was fresh looking and innovative, yet still referenced Alfa’s rich car history. Then we had the 166, an executive car that somehow pulled off the same tricks as the 156, after that, the 159 with those incredible headlights. I could go on. 

Alfa Romeo didn’t really build upon this success for many different reasons but with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6 JTDM-2 as shown above, I think that it’s safe to say that Fiat/Chrysler are going to be very pleased with what those clever people in Alfa’s research and development department have finally come up with. For MotorMartin there are two questions that need answering: 

1. Does the Giulietta 1.6 JTDM-2 look as good as an Alfa Romeo should? 

2. Does it handle like an Alfa Romeo should?

Let’s start with our first question then, the looks. The simple answer is yes, of course it does. As always, the joy of this car is in the details, chromed front fog lights, simple, yet distinctly Alfa alloys, that large triangular grill that so dominates the front of this car. All present and correct. Those sweeping creases along the bonnet that make their way back from the front grill towards the A-pillars creating that distinctive profile and whilst we’re still at the front, I urge you to take in the thought and design that has gone into the front lights alone with what look like rocket ships nestling next to the sweep of LEDs within the housing. 

Chrome door mirrors and door handles add a touch of classic styling to the Guilietta and the muscular line travelling the length of the car suggests to me, sporting potential. Rather surprisingly, the pretty Alfa has a length of 4351mm which compares favourably with the new Ford Focus at 4358mm and yet the styling of the Alfa hides the length very cleverly yet still allows for plenty of room front and back for both driver and passengers. Overall, this is modern art with a Jenson’s twist, the 1950s meets the future and MotorMartin approves wholeheartedly. 

Fortunately this particular Alfa Romeo can cash the cheques that it’s looks promise as Alfa have confirmed that: the new Alfa Giulietta offers a wide range of engines made to satisfy every driving style: petrol engines from 120 to 240 hp, diesel engines from 120 to 175 hp. The New 1.6 JTDM-2 120 hp engine with ALFA TCT gearbox represents the perfect balance between performance & fuel efficiency for both personal and business use. MotorMartin’s Giulietta 1.6 JTDM-2 was equipped with the extremely flexible 120 hp engine and what a beauty it was, offering power aplenty whilst remaining efficient and emitting only 99 g/km CO2. Having cake and eating it? It would certainly apear so.

With three driving modes to chose from, Dynamic, for performance, Natural for optimum fuel economy and All-Weather for tackling bad weather and low grip conditions this Alfa can be tailored for the prevailing conditions, making sure that this sporty number is able to provide the best driving experience. Putting the Giulietta into dynamic mode and trickling out onto the Hill Course at Millbrook Proving Ground, it was time to find out the answer to our second question, the handling.

The steering on this Giulietta appears quite heavy at first, like an early attempt at power steering but this solid feel comes into its own once the speeds begin to rise. Feedback through the wheel is superb, allowing you to feel everything that’s going on with the front wheels and brakes. The resistance pushing back against your steering input means that you really feel involved with the Alfa as it tailors the experience so that you’re the one controlling this mass of metal and speed as opposed to the electronics. MotorMartin loved it. 

Pushing the car through a series of bends whilst the smooth automatic box just got on with the gears was immense fun, the excellent steering allowing you to place the Alfa Romeo anywhere you want on the road. The undulating road course at Millbrook is designed to show off the best attributes of any car with its elevation changes and challenging series of bends but the Alfa dealt with it all with ease. It would take a driver far better than MotorMartin to get anywhere close to the limit. So does the Alfa Romeo Guilietta 1.6 JTDM-2 handle? Most definitely, what a great car, what an Alfa Romeo.

Put simply, this Alfa Romeo Guilietta 1.6 JTDM-2 is certainly worthy of the coveted Alfa Romeo badge. The feel through your fingers and backside as the automatic TCT gearbox shifts up and down through the gears is both an aural and dynamic pleasure, assaulting your senses and adding yet another string to this impressive car’s bow. The engine is responsive and offers plenty of torque to aid your driving and allows the Alfa to perform as an everyday method of transport as well as offering plenty of excitement when the mood dictates.

Would MotorMartin have this car in his dream garage? Absolutely. Well done Alfa Romeo. A welcome return to form.

Where will you go?

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