Alfa Romeo Giulietta Review: 2010 Model | Giulietta | Car Buyers Guide

2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Review

It’s early December and here I am sitting in Alfa Romeo’s latest hot hatch, the Giulietta Cloverleaf. Thankfully, this is before the Arctic conditions set in – because it’s tough enough being trusted with one of the most exclusive models in the range, but I dread the thought of handling 235 turbocharged horses in the snow!


Ever since that dreamy advert hit our TV screens with the seductive Uma Thurman accompanying the Giulietta, I have been dying to see the car in the metal. Shortly afterward, a call came through from Alfa Ireland to say the Giulietta had arrived in the press fleet – but this was not just the standard version we were talking about, it was the top-of-the-range Cloverleaf, a name that sends a shiver through Alfa fans worldwide when you mention it. The name is reserved for the highest-spec and trim-level Alfas, denoting a premium package with motorsport heritage.


And this car is simply stunning to look at. The lights front and rear are pure art – the way the rear lights frame the back of the car is particularly spectacular. The interior is also stylish, and the deeply recessed instruments and flowing dashboard give the feeling that someone has lavished time on the design to make the Giulietta one of the nicest cars in its class to sit in. The first day I had it in the office, I took two colleagues to lunch and they were immediately blown away by the sumptuous leather and brushed-metal-effect dash. Once you’re sitting in the driving seat, everything is positioned perfectly, and beautiful switchgear is used throughout.


As this is the top-of-the-range Cloverleaf, it has a plethora of extras that include climate control, Bluetooth phone connection, sports suspension, 18-inch turbine-style alloys in a dark finish, red brake callipers, Cloverleaf badging and that beautiful metallic red paintwork made famous by the 8C. On the road it has a commanding presence, and you can see people admiring the daytime running lights and overall style. My first impressions of the drive were good but not mind-blowing. I have driven both the Focus ST and Golf GTI that this car will compete against, and I found them both marginally quicker. That was, of course, until I spotted the DNA switch positioned in the Cloverleaf’s centre console. The DNA system allows the driver to choose between three different driving settings: Dynamic, Normal and All-Weather.


This system controls the behaviour of the engine, brakes, steering, suspension and gearbox. In Dynamic mode it all sharpens up noticeably – it feels like someone just unhitched a trailer and it pulls like a freight train. The 1.75-litre four-cylinder turbo block hits 100km/h in 6.8 seconds, and the Giulietta handles pretty well, too. The only concern I had was getting the power down; in Dynamic mode it fights the traction control if conditions are in any way moist, which leads to violent dash vibration. In other words, don’t use Dynamic if it’s not dry – flick back to Normal mode and it’s fine. The steering is also featherlight in Dynamic mode, though some drivers prefer a weightier feel to a wheel, which you will get in Normal mode. However, the improved feel comes at the cost of reduced power in this mode.


To be fair, overall it’s a fast, capable and good-looking hot hatch. Indeed, there's a lot to like about the Giulietta Cloverleaf, and it's spacious, too. Only time will tell how the value holds on the new-generation Alfas, but, then again, most petrolheads don’t buy Alfas to make money. They buy them because they are passionate about cars and enjoy a little Italian flair. And, as you’ll see now that the Giulietta is in Alfa dealerships nationwide, even in base trim it’s more appealing than its Japanese or German rivals!



Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf


RATING: 7/10



1.75-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged, DOHC, 16-valve

Output @ rpm

235hp with 340Nm of torque


Factory 6-speed manual


0–100km/h in 6.8 secs

Top speed




CO2 emissions


CO2 tax band

E (€630 p.a.)



Boot capacity

350 litres

Base price



Awesome looks, spirited drive, it’s an Alfa


Getting the power down is tough!




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