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2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Everyone likes the idea of a 500-hp sports sedan, but not everyone needs or can afford a 500-hp sports sedan. in the U.S.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Everyone likes the idea of a 500-hp sports sedan, but not everyone needs or can afford a 500-hp sports sedan. Alfa Romeo's Giulia—the vehicle that is to spearhead the brand's hopeful resurgence in the U.S.—had previously been detailed only in high-performance Quadrifoglio guise, complete with a 505-hp engine and a $70,000 price tag. Now, Alfa Romeo is sharing specifics on the mainstream Giulia variants for the U.S. market.

At the base of the mountain upon which fire-breathing, brand-salving attention-grabbers like the Quadrifoglio, Dodge's 707-hp Hellcat creations, and BMW's M cars perch, there sit those cars' mainstream siblings. Down at these levels, headline-grabbing horsepower figures give way to an emphasis on sales volumes, although trading on big brother's looks is encouraged. Call it flash with less dash—and it's a strategy Alfa Romeo puts to good use on its non-Quadrifoglio Giulia models.

Opting for a mainstream Giulia not only excises some of the top model's dash but also some length from its name. In place of Giulia Quadrifoglio, you may choose between a Giulia and the fancier Giulia Ti (for Turismo Internazionale). The same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powers both, pushing 276 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Optional all-wheel drive is dubbed "Q4," as it is on Maseratis (Alfa and Maserati both are under the Fiat-Chrysler umbrella).

Park the Giulia or Giulia Ti next to the Quadrifoglio, and the differences between them are not all that apparent. A few aero bits are missing from the nose, a pair of exhaust outlets takes the place of four powerful cannons jutting from the rear bumper, and that's pretty much it. The squinting headlights, the signature triangular Alfa Romeo grille, and large air intakes are essentially the same on any of the three Giulias. From every other angle, all Giulias evoke the BMW 3-series, with a chiseled shoulder line, subtly bulging rear fenders, and a very Germanic roofline. Alfa Romeo will hope to score points with enthusiasts by directing your attention to features such as the Giulia's carbon-fiber driveshaft, near-50/50 weight distribution, and standard flat-bottom steering wheel. But we're betting that the Giulia's curb appeal will do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to bringing buyers to Alfa's emergent fold.

Alfa Romeo doesn't skimp when it comes to these lesser models' interior appointments. Leather seating surfaces are standard, and the hides are stitched with sporty horizontal ribs. A seven-inch gauge-cluster display is also part of the deal, along with a 6.5-inch central touchscreen (which can be upgraded to an 8.8-inch unit) that Alfa dubs "Alfa-tainment." There also are Sport, Luxury, and Performance option packages, and the Giulia Ti can be spec'd with adaptive dampers with sport and comfort modes. Drivers can select from among Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency drive modes.

Although final pricing isn't out yet, figure on the new Giulia starting in the upper-$30,000 space, far below the cranked-up Quadrifoglio. That is, whenever the Giulia finally arrives in the U.S., as the model is delayed as of this writing—a common issue of late with any Alfa Romeo bound for our shores. Fiat-Chrysler nonethelesshas big plans for Alfa here, and the Giulia will not only need to be competent but also will need to stand out from the well-established luxury-sports-sedan crowd.

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