D Alfa Romeo currently has three Model series: the compact car Giulietta, the mid-size sedan Giulia and the SUV brother Stelvio. The latter two will benefit from a facelift in 2020, but without changes to the sheet metal. Both Giulia and Stelvio look like before: emotional and chic.
And the changes on the drive side and the chassis are also processed quickly. Power and torque? Everything as it was. Small exception to the drive configuration of the Giulia: In conjunction with the 280 hp petrol engine, the eight-speed automatic transmission will only transfer power to the rear axle from 2020 onwards. Before, the two-liter turbo was only available in conjunction with all-wheel drive.
Practical test in Italy
We tested this all-wheel drive version in Italy at the invitation of Alfa - together with the revised infotainment and assistance systems . Nothing changes in terms of driving behavior. The 2.0 liter turbo gasoline engine drives the Giulia to country road speed in 5.2 seconds. The driver pushes the sedan into the bends via the somewhat smooth steering. There it climbs onto the ideal line and balances itself over the all-wheel drive onto the next straight.
Everything works wonderfully, as long as you don't exhaust the Giulia. Then the ESP intervenes and turns the engine off. The chassis with the adaptive dampers easily swallows bumps so that it does not shake the driver on the sporty leather seats.
So much for the driving impression. There wasn't much to complain about about the Giulia's handling. Rather, infotainment, navigation system and missing assistance systems were criticized. And that's exactly where the Alfa engineers are now working on an update. Perhaps it will help to boost Giulia's sales in Germany. Alfa has not sold 6,000 copies in this country since the market launch in 2016.
Giulia drives autonomously Level 2
The Italians have taken to heart a piece of wisdom for the 2020 model year: “It's what's inside that counts.” The steering wheel is new, a 17.8 Centimeter-sized TFT screen between the rev counter and speedometer is now standard. Alfa Romeo reconfigures its graphic in order to present information more clearly and to display the data necessary for autonomous driving. The Giulia will master level 2 autonomous driving from 2020. At level 5, the car does everything by itself, so it no longer needs a driver.
The 8.8-inch touchscreen (previously 6.5-inch screen as standard) is built into the Giulia model year 2020 free of charge. Alfa has made the greatest progress in infotainment. Where previously there was a static list with small symbols, interactive widgets can be seen from 2020. These are tabs with large symbols and matching images - like on the smartphone: radio, navigation, telephone, driver assistants, climate control, services (e.g. oil pressure, torque), vehicle information (e.g. service, maintenance, driving modes), services (emergency call, SOS, WiFi Hotspot) and settings. They can be dragged to where the driver wants them to be with a finger. However, they cannot be removed.
The touchscreen is sensitive to touch, is neither extremely fast nor slow. Alfa hits the right balance. Sometimes the system allows itself a short cooling-off period. That is easy to get over. With your right hand you simply swipe and push through the menus without being distracted. However, it is better to operate the rotary /push button while driving. It works very well.
Steering wheel bundles assistants
The display of the navigation maps is wider, and thereforeclearer. The navigation system impresses with reliable guidance. Traffic data in real time? Coming, but not until the second half of 2020, together with weather information and finding a parking space. Via update and at an additional cost. A wifi hotspot for up to eight devices, on the other hand, is integrated directly - also for an extra charge.
The new steering wheel bundles the assistance systems on the left spoke. They are like most other manufacturers' systems. They work with a hit rate of around 90 percent. Alfa’s new traffic sign recognition reliably shows the speed on the central TFT display between the rev counter and the speedometer. However, it only recognizes the traffic signs and not the additions in writing underneath. Two examples: Tempo 30, which only applies to trucks through the village, should also comply with the Giulia according to the system. Tempo 50 in the case of fog on the autobahn too.
New storage compartments in the center console
The traffic jam and autobahn assistant maintains the distance to the vehicle in front (Active Cruise Control), brakes when the person in front slows down and accelerates again. The Alfa also keeps the track - as long as the curves are not too sharp for him. When changing lanes without flashing, the limousine warns the driver with a loud tone and a vibrating steering wheel. The Alfa also steers back on track. However, the driver can override it by exerting more force on the steering wheel. Now and then there is a problem. After hilltops, for example, the warnings of undesired lane changes can sometimes fail.
Adaptive cruise control, emergency brake assist and lane departure warning are standard. What else has happened to the helpers? Alfa will be offering a drowsiness warning from 2020 and expanding its blind spot assistant.
The center console is tidy. From it protrudes the selector lever for the eight-speed automatic, which the designers wrap in leather and place the Italian national flag in the socket. The center console now also accommodates two drinking cups. This storage space in front of the selector lever had not existed before. The smartphone can be charged wirelessly.