Category: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Sprinkles some GTA heritage into the Giulia

Alfa Romeo has looked into their deep pockets of racing prowess to create what is dubbed to be the return of the Gran Turismo Alleggerita moniker. Translated from Alfa speak ‘GTA’ means lightweight and carries some severe weight in its near 110 years of the carmaker’s existence. The Guilia Quadrifoglio exudes this lustful super salon-like aura. Almost five years after its initial introduction, the F1 Race Engineering Team has donated some of its greatest minds with the promise to make this a rival to the likes of the most hardcore. This anniversary gift complete with the option to drop the rear seats for harness’ and a roll cage comes set with carbon fibre right-hooks with BMW’s M4 GTS and Jaguar’s Project-8 in its Crosshairs. 

The GTA and GTAm’s focus on lightweight antics is to the tune of 100Kgs, the extensive use of aerodynamic splitters and wings in composite materials is rather apparent. The Sauber F1 team’s hand in the development has resulted in the use of an Active front splitter set in carbon-fibre, with tweaks to the aerodynamics via their ‘aero kit’ that places canards and gussets in the revised bodywork to channel air to increase downforce. An Akrapovič Titanium exhaust system, integrated into the carbon fibre rear diffuser now standard, with the centre-locking 20-inch wheels. The tweaks have resulted in a further 50mm addition to the vehicle track, new shocks, springs and stiffer bushings for the suspension. The GTAm gains a Carbon Rear wing for additional downforce and larger adjustable active carbon front splitter, creating a far more purposeful look to the exquisite and sculpted lines of the standard model.

Importantly for the Alfa is the increase in power from the Ferrari sourced 2.9 Litre V6 Bi-Turbo. 375kW by no means meant this was a car that felt underpowered-in fact, RACE mode where all the safety nannies are put to sleep; requires a vigilant driver with the rear often seeking mischief when taking on a more tooth and nail approach to driving. The GTA revisions have resulted in 397kW through increased turbo pressure, more durable pistons and rods and significant cooling upgrades.

The interior benefits from the uses of Alcantara trimmings on the door panels, dashboard, side pillars, glove box and seats. The GTAm gains a more hardcore approach to weight savings which the option to ditch the rear bench and rear door cards and racecar-like additions. A rearseat mounted harness bar complete with 6-point Sabelt harness’, Lexan side and rear window frames, carbon fibre and aluminium pannel substitutions. All of which have resulted in 100Kgs in weight savings total and 3.6 Seconds to the 100km/h sprint, from what remains ultimately a full-sized rear-wheel-drive saloon car. The Standard GTA model gaining the dynamic enhancements but remains less compromised with rear seats and a smaller front splitter for daily driving.

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA in South Africa

With only 500 models set for production, the GTA and GTAm will be a hell of a thing and offers an uncompromised approach to the standard model. Even with the limited run, a few examples have been destined for our shores, South Africa’s passionate relationship with the Alfa name will gain another piece of history. But more importantly put broad, terrified smiles on the faces on a lucky few, complete with a ‘personalised experience package’ available with races suit and helmet on delivery.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio – fast, fun but expensive.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Driven Review

If you are familiar with the team here at TheMotorist, you will know it consists of myself, Francisco and Richard. While the latter two happen to be brothers, Francisco and myself are born within a month of each other. Unfortunately for Richard, he has passed the “fun part” of his life already. What I mean by that is, he’s older than us and he has entered a stage of life that consists of nappies and mortgages. More often than not on some of our recent video projects, a good man who goes by the name of Andrew joins us. Andrew is the editor of Top Gear Magazine SA and happens to be the same age as Richard. Together, they share notes on child rearing and finding the best family doctor.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

So I feel it’s no coincidence then that the younger two of the group fell head over heels for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, while the older bunch really didn’t fancy it that much. Maybe bigger issues in life have made them lose their sense of fun? Who knows. I’m not insinuating that the older you get, the more boring you become, I would never do that…never ever…

However, it seems that maybe the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the SUV for the younger person even though you need older person money to afford it. It’s a catch 22 really. The Stelvio throws things at you, that you don’t expect – hot hatch driving dynamics being one of them. It’s quite surprising to be fooled into thinking you’re driving a Golf GTI, when you’re actually in a midsize SUV. Another thrilling factor about the Stelvio, is the fact that it’s rather quick. Put your foot down and you notice the digital speedometer climb rather quickly, much faster than expected – especially since it’s powered by a 2.0l turbocharged engine. Turn a corner and notice the front end turn in quite sharply. Again, more than expected. In the end, you find yourself becoming quite giddy in this vehicle, like when your parents would step out the house for some milk and you could be naughtier than usual. That’s what happens when you’re in a 206kW/400N.m Italian SUV with some heritage behind the brand.

You see, while many ( Richard and Andrew ) see SUV’s as only needing to be large vehicles with lots of space for your children, your friend’s children and the expensive bike you use once in a blue moon – the Stelvio offers more. Yes, it ticks the boxes when it comes to safety, it has a quality interior and offers modern technology. Above that, it’s also quite fast which makes it quite exciting – something other vehicles in the Alfa Romeo Stelvios league don’t offer. They may even be better than the Stelvio in other ways, but the Alfa brings with it a fun personality.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The performance SUV segment is one that often causes debate. Some lament that they “don’t need to be SO sharp, or be THAT fast”, but the question is why not? Why can’t certain SUV’s offer both the practicality and space, whilst also being a little invigorating too? In the age of extensive choice, there’s a place for an SUV such as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. It’s not a full-blown eye-watering performance SUV (the QV variant will fill the gap). What it is however, is a good middle ground option.  

The thing is, the Stelvio will set you back R834 000, which is not exactly cheap. If you do some scratching around, you’re bound to find more value for money products. That being said, buying into the Alfa brand is never a purchase based on practicality, but rather one based on emotion. So, if you’re an Alfa lover, this SUV is for you because it does evoke emotion and kudos to them for staying true to their brand ethos. For me, the Stelvio is a great SUV. It looks the part, feels the part and drives the part too. As a future young dad, I’d appreciate a good thrill once in a while, when the princes and princesses are tucked away in bed of course. Now it’s just a matter of convincing Richard and Andrew.

 

Here’s why you should buy the Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia 

I know what you are all thinking, how does the Italian stallion compare to the ever so popular BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or the third German moustache – the Audi A4?. All giants of the same segment.

This article isn’t going to be a long-winded and unnecessary comparison, the seats are like this, the wing mirrors are like that…if that’s what you came for you can copy and paste the above paragraph into the mighty Google search. This article is simply going to give you the reason why one should consider the Giulia- summed it up in one word: Difference.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Let me expand this over a few hundred words.

You see, a BMW 3 series is a great proven product, likewise a C-class, they sell in droves partly because of this, but also because these brands are huge in this fine country of South Africa. Consumers buy BMW/Mercedes/Audi products for the same reason they buy Apple- because of how it interprets them and how they are viewed by their friends. I have happened to fall for this clever marketing ploy, you don’t sell the product, you sell the experience, the lifestyle…

Alfa Romeo Giulia

The first Alfa Romeo Guila I drove happened to be the QV, its fast and nimble front end caught my attention, so did the faulty electronics, and then a day later it ended up in a tyre wall ( through no fault of my own) It’s safe to say I didn’t get to spend much time in that specific vehicle, but after spending a good amount of time in the “standard” model, the Giulia just happens to also be a very good motor vehicle – shock horror.

However, I can’t just leave you with that to break the mould. We can all see its beautiful, but above that, it drives very nicely from both a comfort and performance perspective, it’s darn comfortable, the interior is fairly splendid and features technology which belongs in 2018. The Giulia’s 2.0 Petrol with 147 kW 8-speed automatic transmission offers just a good if not a better driving experience than its direct competitors. So here is what you need to ask yourself, why not be different?

Alfa Romeo Giulia

You see, life isn’t always what your friends think. While on route to test drive the “you know whats”, break the stereotype and pull into your nearest Alfa dealer. You never know unless you try and let’s be honest, if I had a Rand for every 320 M-Sport I passed on the morning commute, I wouldn’t be making a morning commute…