I drove a $52,000 Alfa Romeo Giulia sport sedan to see if it could combine Italian style with BMW-beating performance — here's the verdict

Alfa Romeo Giulia 1

  • The Alfa Romeo Giulia that I tested is a four-cylinder version of the more powerful V6 Quadrifoglio trim I sampled last year.
  • The Giulia is Alfa Romeo’s bid to compete in the US luxury sport-sedan market, taking on the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes.
  • The Giulia offers a distinctive, stylish, and appealing take on the luxury four-door — and it’s really quick!

The name “Giulia” means “youth” in Italian, but the legendary vehicles from Alfa Romeo that carry it are anything but: The moniker dates to the early 1960s and was born by some of the loveliest, peppiest little rides this side of Turin.

It, therefore, made perfect sense that when Alfa commenced its return to the US market a few years back, it returned to the Giulia’s heritage for a sedan to take on the best from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi. 

In 2017, the high-performance version of the Giulia, the Quadrifoglio, was a Business Insider Car of the Year finalist. But it was also nearly $80,000 (worth every lira, if you ask me). 

Read more: I drove a $50,000 Ford Mustang GT and a $52,000 Chevy Camaro SS to see which is the better muscle car — here’s the verdict

It isn’t the only Giulia in town, of course. I recently sampled a 2018 Giulia Ti Lusso, stickering at $52,090 (base is about $41,000). It did not come with the Giulia Quad’s 2.9-liter, 505-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine, effectively a Ferrari V8 with two cylinders lopped off. Instead, it was powered by a 2.0-liter, 280-horsepower inline four, with but a single turbocharger. 

In my experience, it can be tricky to move down to reviewing a less ambitious trim level of a car intended to fire the enthusiast’s senses after hitting the road in the brawnier spec. In the case of the Giulia, however, I went into the process with a thematic expectation: The Quadrifoglio was power, but I assumed the four-banger would be finesse.

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! I was correct! So much so that driving the four-cylinder Giulia after the Quadrifoglio amounted to piloting a completely different car. Good different, ultimately. But different, all the same.

Read on learn more:

The 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Lusso is just a darn-pretty set of wheels. The prettiest of all sport sedans, if you ask me. As with the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stablemate Maserati, the Alfa simply oozes style.

The entire car flows smoothly rearward, as a great car should, without a lot of needless exterior filigree spoiling the lines.

The proportions are ever-so-slightly skewed toward the hood, evocative of a time when larger engines made for longer front ends.

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