Arese, Milan, Italy – Alfa Romeo has returned to North America after a 20-year hiatus, and the iconic Italian Automaker just marked its 105th Anniversary in grand European style by hosting members of the international press to a gala inauguration on June 24th, 2015 of the remarkable Alfa Romeo Museum named “La Macchina del tempo – Museo storico Alfa Romeo”, which is the heart of a genuine “brand center” housing a bookshop, café, documentation center, test drive track, event venue site and a showroom with a customer delivery area, making it the perfect bond between the past, present and future of this classic Italian marque.
The Museum is home to the most significant pieces in Alfa Romeo’s historic collection, which was put together from the early 1960s onwards. It was inaugurated in 1976 and was open to visitors by reservation only. Following the decommissioning of the Arese production plant and the ensuing loss of the Centre’s directional role, the museum closed in 2009.
As part of Alfa Romeo’s global relaunch plan, the Museum in Arese – symbolic location for the company’s history – has been identified as the fulcrum of the brand’s rebirth. At the end of 2013, the architect Benedetto Camerana was called upon to propose a new design that would integrate the relaunch objectives with the need to preserve the building. The works started in summer 2014, and in less than 12 months, a major restoration project affecting the entire complex was completed and achieved by FCA Partecipazioni.
The museum also served as the stage for the World Preview of the new 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan during the inaugural event, coming to our shores sometime next year. Highlights of the program preceding the unveiling of the Giulia included a presentation by Sergio Marcionne, CEO of FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and a performance by Andrea Bocelli, noted Italian classical tenor, recording artist and singer-songwriter. Bocelli who is blind, told of how he loved the sound of Alfas as a boy growing up, as his father owned one, and he always knew when his father was about to arrive.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia represents the perfect blend of the new Alfa Romeo paradigm and maximum expression of the ‘meccanica delle emozioni’, encapsulating 105 years of style excellence and Italian technology. Its distinctive design expresses three quintessential features of Italian design: sense of proportions, simplicity and high quality surface finish. Sporting the new Alfa Romeo badge, now refreshed while preserving its legendary shape and unmistakable style, stands out in the middle of the famous front trefoil nose.
The entire ‘creation’ centers around the driver and the promise of exhilarating driving experiences with sensitive steering, responsive acceleration and prompt shifting and braking.
Available in rear or four-wheel drive, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is more than just a tribute to the most authentic roots of the Alfa Romeo legend: it is also a technical solution which guarantees high performance and exhilarating driving pleasure.
The innovative six-cylinder, gasoline, turbocharged 510 horsepower engine is state-of-the-art, inspired by Ferrari technologies, the brand’s new powertrain reference, and will be introduced on the Quadrifoglio version. Performance is exciting: from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 3.9 seconds. The new engine is remarkably fuel efficient and implements an electronically controlled cylinder deactivation system. There will likely be other engine options to come, but for now, the flagship Alfa sedan will draw its motive force from the turbo V6. Pricing has yet to be announced.
Weight distribution is a perfect 50/50 across the two axles, with sophisticated suspensions (the front is an Alfa Romeo exclusive) and the most direct steering available on the market.
Unique, exclusive technical solutions, such as Torque Vectoring for outstanding stability control, Integrated Brake System for considerably reduced braking distance and Active Aero Splitter for active high-speed downforce management.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia combines extraordinary engine performance and the ample use of ultralight materials, like carbon fibre, aluminium, aluminium composite and plastic, to obtain the best weight-to-power ratio (lower than 3kg/hp).
The Giulia will reign as the top-of-the-range or flagship model sporting the legendary Quadrifoglio badge.
A.L.F.A. (stands for ‘Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili’, and translates as ‘Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company’ in English) was established on June 24, 1910. June 24, 2015, a new page of the brand which never ceases to surprise was written by introducing the new Giulia model, a genuine manifesto which concentrates past, present and future and is one of the most brilliant examples of automobile excellence.
The Giulia was designed and developed by an elite team of engineers, designers and stylists known within FCA as the ‘Skunks’, a sobriquet used in industries in the USA to identify the best squads to whom the most delicate and technologically innovative missions are entrusted. Sharing a common love for Alfa Romeo and its unique concept of cars as ‘mechanical creations’ which transcend the realm of necessity to verge on that of the most authentic emotions and not just ‘useful means of transport’, the ‘Skunks’ had but one goal: to create the Alfa Romeo of the future, while respecting the heritage resulting from the work and pride of thousands of people – engineers, factory workers and managers – who have taken turns in the factories, offices and on the race tracks.
Alfa Romeo Giulia perfectly embodies the brand’s new paradigm remaining loyal to its century-long tradition: not by chance, but only who has a great past can face the challenges of the future. The respect for the brand’s proud history is demonstrated also by the original badge – designed by Robilant Associati – that the new model will show to the world for the first time: the emblem has been renewed and modernised on the outside while, the distinctive shape and style elements which have made it an admired symbol the World over remain untouched.The Giulia displays the elements which made Alfa Romeo one of the world’s most desirable automotive brands: distinctive Italian design, state-of-the-art, innovative engines, perfect 50/50 weight distribution, unique technical solutions and the best weight-to-power ratio. These are the indispensable ingredients for creating an Alfa Romeo.
Simply sitting in the new Alfa Romeo is designed to serve as entering a new dimension which centers around the driver, firing emotions and the promise of exhilarating driving experiences
In Alfa Romeo, this is all summed up by the words ‘la meccanica delle emozioni’.
An Alfa Romeo is envisioned to spring from the perfect balance of heritage, speed and beauty, making it the highest expression of Italian style in the automotive world. The new Giulia is exceptional in that it encapsulates three particular elements of Italian design: sense of proportions, simplicity and care for surface quality. This is the ‘skin’ that Alfa Romeo stylists have modelled with painstaking care on the mechanical parts.
In particular, the proportions are based on the technical architecture of the Maserati Ghibli: for Alfa Romeo the key elements were the 50/50 weight balance and rear wheel drive. In order to balance the weights perfectly, the engine and the mechanical parts are arranged between the two axles. As a result, the Giulia features very short overhangs, a long bonnet and front wings (fenders), a retracted passenger compartment ‘settled’ on the drive wheels and muscular rear wings that visually mark the point where power is unleashed. All this translates into a very generous wheelbase – the longest in its category – but contained in a most compact body. The proportions draw the dynamic shape of an ellipsis in plain view. The rounded angles and the enveloping pillars convey momentum to the car creating a ‘teardrop-shaped’ profile s reminiscent of the Giulietta Sprint, one of the most beautiful Italian cars ever made.
A second aspect of the Italian style is ‘simplicity’ which enshrouds what is in fact the most complex creative processes in industry: designing a car. It is up to style to conceal the long, complex work behind a simple, natural line which enhances elegant shapes and sophisticated Italian taste. This approach permeates the history of Alfa Romeo expressed by means of clean, taut lines. For this reason, the new Alfa Romeo boasts a strong identity drawn in a few simple strokes: a line sculpted along the sides, marking the doors and enveloping the handles and, , the legendary trefoil nose.
Finally, Italian style is characterised by a high quality surface finish creating rich, harmonious reflections across the entire form. The end result is the new Giulia, a sculptured shape reminiscent of a big cat ready to pounce. The same inspiration is reflected inside the car. Everything is clean, essential and centers around the driver, such as the controls grouped on the small steering wheel designed to adapt to all driving styles. The driver’s position was styled with a diagonal tunnel, a slightly undulated dashboard and ideally oriented instruments.
The suspensions are as essential for optimal ride as weight distribution. In particular, a multilink solution ensuring top performance, driving pleasure and comfort was chosen for the rear axle. Up front, however, a new double wishbone suspension with semi-virtual steering axis was developed to optimize the filtering effect and guarantee rapid, accurate steering. This Alfa Romeo exclusive keeps the constant caster trail on corners and can tackle high lateral accelerations as a result of the always perfect footprint. Driving Alfa Romeo Giulia with the most direct steering ratio available promises to be natural and instinctive.
The new Alfa Romeo Giulia will also feature a renewed Alfa DNA, which modifies the car’s dynamic behavior according to the driver’s selection: Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficient (energy efficiency mode implemented for the first time on an Alfa Romeo) and naturally Racing (on high performance versions).
The passenger compartment of the new car serves up high levels of quality, safety, equipment and comfort with a specific, profoundly Alfa Romeo style element: the centrality of the driver.
Not by chance, all the main controls are incorporated in the steering wheel as on a Formula 1 car, while the human-machine interface consists of two simple, user-friendly knobs for adjusting the Alfa DNA selector and the infotainment system.
To obtain an excellent weight-to-power ratio (remarkably lower than 3kg/hp), Alfa Romeo Giulia combines extraordinary engine performance and the ample use of ultralight materials throughout. For example, carbon fibre was chosen for the drive shaft, the bonnet and the roof and aluminium was seelected for the engine, brakes, suspension (including front domes and front and rear frames), in addition to many other body components, such as the doors and the fenders. Furthermore, the rear crossmember is made of aluminium composite and plastic.
In order to decrease the total weight, the braking system was tweaked using aluminium elements and carbon ceramic discs and the seats have a carbon fibre structural frame. Despite its weight optimization, the car boasts the best torsional rigidity in its class to guarantee quality over time, acoustic comfort and handling even in conditions of extreme stress.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.