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Can Alfa Romeo's Upcoming Giulia Sedan Take On BMW's 3-Series?

 

2009 Alfa Romeo 159

2009 Alfa Romeo 159

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Alfa Romeo will likely relaunch as a brand in the United States with its limited-production 4C sports car, followed by the far more mainstream Giulia sedan. To say that Alfa has a lot riding on the success of the Giulia in both the U.S. and Europe is a huge understatement, and it’s seen as the key to the brand’s rebirth.

Despite its front-wheel-drive layout, Autocar is calling the Giulia a rival to the BMW 3-Series, primarily in its market position and luxury content. It’s unlikely that U.S. buyers will get the base 1.4-liter, 120-horsepower MultiAir engine, but instead will probably have both turbocharged four-cylinder and Pentastar V-6 engine options to choose from.

Expect handling to rival the best front-drive sedans on the market, thanks to an updated compact platform shared with Alfa’s smaller Giuletta. Roughly 90-percent of the chassis is composed of high-strength materials, and features like a cast aluminum shear plate stiffen the chassis to improve handling and steering response.

Buyers objecting to front-wheel-drive will also get the option of all-wheel-drive (AWD), making the Giulia a legitimate rival to cars like the Audi A4. Parent Fiat sees AWD as essential to selling the car in the United States and re-establishing the Alfa Romeo brand.

The Giulia’s platform is also used to build the Dodge Dart, although the Giulia will ride on a longer wheelbase and will sport a more sophisticated independent rear suspension. That’s still enough to give rise to rumors that the Giulia could be built alongside the Dart at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois plant, but no decision has been made by Fiat.

Styling is on track to be completed this fall, which means that a near-production version could be shown by mid-2013. Given the delays already experienced in Alfa’s return to the U.S. market, Sergio Marchionne is clearly more focused on getting the Giulia right than on simply getting it into the market. We suspect the end product will be worth the wait.


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Comments (5)
  1. Without a doubt in my head I would say a categorical "no". BMW 3 series has earned its market share after many years of accomplished hard work in all areas: performance, ergonomics, style, and even environmental concerns. BMW 3 series is not one car, but an icon, is about ten models that have been successfully designed to meet the needs of demanding consumers in all areas. Alpha Giulia and Cadillac ATS are going to have to deal with that. It usually takes many years of hard work, patience and intelligent market strategies to earn consumers' trust, which is the name of the game here. I have no doubt that the "Three US Big" car manufacturers are producing better quality vehicles, yet they may not expect outsell Japanese imports overnight
     
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  2. It took the Japanese over half a century of hard work with results to get their place in the Western market
     
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  3. @Adalberto, which the Koreans have learned from very well. Hyundai has accomplished in two decades what took Honda the better part of four.
     
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  4. @Kurt, thank you for your reply! I agree. Good design, smart pricing, and comprehensive benefits (100,000 mile warranty put the Koreans on the map. They also took advantage of communication resources like the internet and the cellular phone, which were not available in the 50's thru the early 90's. Today I am more attracted to the Korean products as far as design is concerned.
     
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  5. @Adalberto, my stock "what should I buy" answer used to generally be "Honda," thanks to the brand's value and reliability. These days it's generally "Hyundai," which speaks volumes about how far the Korean manufacturer has come.
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