The 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia offers an excellent mix of power and distinctive styling.

During its long history, Alfa Romeo has had its share of up and downs.

It had a starring role in “The Graduate,” one of the iconic movies of the late 1960s, but by the time Ronald Reagan was elected president a little more than a decade later Alfa had faded away, eclipsed by the Japanese and European brands with seemingly superior technology if not design.

But Alfa Romeo is back and a test drive of the Alfa Romeo Giulia left an indelible impression of a stylish, powerful vehicle that fun to drive and had a very different spirit than its German rivals such the BMW 3 Series or the Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C Class.

For one thing, the overall design of the Giulia conveys a sense of style that is step ahead of its rivals. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but the exterior styling is warm and elegant at the same time with subtle curves and crisp tailoring that gives the car presence it is standing still or in motion. It invariably catches your eye and while it’s easy to fall into the trap that all cars pretty much look the same nowadays because of the demands of safety engineering and wind tunnel tests, the Giulia stands out.

(Alfa’s next SUV will be bigger, hybrid-powered. Click Herefor the story.)

The Giulia comes with a 280 horsepower base engine, giving drivers plenty of power.

With the interior, the new Alfa Giulia has an inviting feeling that is also deeply luxurious with a nicely selected blend of materials and textures, and also carefully modulates the delivery of the latest technology by putting it carefully within reach of the driver or in some cases the passenger.  The instrument panel, seats, headliners and inner door panels at carefully crafted and neatly tailored to enhance and reinforce the sense of luxury throughout the cabin.

Key driving attributes such as visibility from the driver’s seat, which quite excellent, and the form and feel of the steering wheel are also very nice and help bolster the pleasure of sitting behind the wheel in the Giulia.

The Alfa-Romeo Giulia is also equipped with powerful 2.0-liter turbo charged engine that produces 280 horsepower and 306 foot-pounds of torque that is matched up to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The version I drove was also equipped with all-wheel drive system that gave it better traction on slippery services but didn’t seem to diminish the car’s quickness coming from a standing start or when the driver passes another vehicle on the freeway or the open road.

The small displacement also gives the Giulia excellent fuel-economy for a highly tuned, compact luxury vehicle: 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway for a combined EPA rating of 26 million.

The interior of the Giulia features plenty of soft leather to provide plenty of comfort for the driver and passengers.

The power delivered by the 2.0-liter engine comes as something as a surprise and certainly enhances the fun of driving the new Giulia. But the real surprises come with the Giulia terrific driving dynamics, which are altogether terrific. The brakes come on instantly, the steering is firm and responsive and the suspension is first rate, keeping the car firmly planted on the road through on every kind of road surface in all kinds of conditions.

(Click Here for details about our first drive in the Stelvio.)

The Giulia moves through curves effortlessly and overall found the car handled superbly on the streets, highways and byways to driver. The smooth ride and handling re-enforced my overall impression that the car delivered an enormous amount of driving pleasure in an eye-catching luxury package. It is also well equipped with a long list of standard features, including a DNA drive mode selector, bi-xenon headlamps with signature LED daytime running lights, passive entry with remote start, back-up camera with rear park sensors a 7-inch TFT and much more

The Giulia Ti comes with 18-inch aluminum wheels, genuine wood interior trim, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment with SiriusXM, front park sensors. It has also been rated as a “Top Safety Pick” by the International Highway Safety Institute and it comes with a full-complement of front- and side-impact air bags as well.

The model I drove also came equipped with the options driver assistance features such as blind-spot and cross-traffic alert as well as an adaptive cruise control and forward collision controls. I was frankly surprised that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. was selling this as an optional package and not as a standard feature on a car as sophisticated on as the Giulia Ti.

The final prices for the Giulia that I drove came out to $51,490, which included the $995 destination charge.

(To see more about the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Click Here.)

Passenger cars of all kinds of been eclipsed by the popularity of sport utility vehicles but I think the Alfa-Romeo Giulia is destined to hold its own in changing market place thanks to its impressive design and performance. The Giulia serves as a reminder of the tactile pleasure that comes with driving a finely tuned and finally crafted automobile.

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