A taste of the Sweet Life
Wednesday 11th September 2013, 4:30PM BST.
ROSIE ALLSOPP tastes La Dolce Vita behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo GIULIETTA SPORTIVA special edition
IT IS hardly surprising that the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sportiva is a cracking drive – it’s in its DNA.
By that, of course, I mean its three driving modes – dynamic, normal and all-weather.
Each of these is engineered to provide the driver with a perfectly set up car no matter what the conditions.
The DNA system means that the car can be adapted, while in motion, to the different road conditions by altering the throttle response and stiffness of steering through its dynamic steering torque.
In normal mode, the Sportiva is perfect for ordinary driving conditions with maximum fuel efficiency. Flip the switch for dynamic mode and – without having to apply the accelerator – the Sportiva leaps forward with an extra surge of power, thanks to its overboost.
Cornering and braking abilities are also sharpened in dynamic mode so everything works in harmony for a really exciting drive.
It’s like a shot of espresso that gives the Giulietta additional power for ascending hills or short overtaking manoeuvres. It’s certainly a lot of fun. It’s a little bit like that moment in Back to the Future when Marty McFly hits the button in the plutonium-powered De Lorean to go back to 1955.
But the Sportiva is about far more than just speed and a lovely growling engine. If the temperature is below nine degrees, the all-weather function can be activated and the engine response becomes more gradual and controlled to keep skidding in adverse weather conditions to a minimum.
One of the most agreeable aspects of the Giulietta is how quick to respond it is. You think it and the car executes your thoughts almost instantly. It’s like a mind-meld.
And it’s not just enjoyable to drive, the Giulietta Sportiva is very, very pretty to look at. From the tip of its grille to its ultra-low profile tyres, the car is a study in Italian design and sophistication.
The detailing is fantastic, from the brushed aluminium oversize gear knob to the red stitching details around the gear lever, handbrake and steering wheel. I particularly love that the dials say ‘benzina’ instead of ‘petrol’ and ‘acqua’ instead of ‘water temperature’.
The red leather seats must have been harvested only from cows with the softest hide and then lovingly hand-stitched with the Alfa Romeo badge. It’s odd, but driving along and glancing down at the Alfa badge on the steering wheel makes you feel proud to be driving such a thing of beauty.
Cruising around in the Giulietta is one of those experiences where it is more than just driving, it’s about how the car makes you feel. From the finely crafted detailing to the way the corners of your mouth curve up as you power through a corner, it’s a lovely way to get to where you’re going. It makes you want to stick Dean Martin on the stereo and cruise down the Amalfi Coast to live la dolce vita. And while you’re behind the wheel, at least, you are doing just that.