|The Giulietta gets a green upgrade
with the new TCT gearbox
The Giulietta gets a green upgrade with the new TCT gearbox
It’s amazing the coincidences that you can notice in history.
In the 1950s Alfa Romeo brought out a gorgeous little coupe called the Giulietta to bring an Italian interpretation to the VW Karmann Ghia.
Basically they gave it more power from the little 1.3l engine than VW could get from any of its engines, even the 1.6l from the Karmann Ghia TC of the late 60s.
They developed an entire list of variants on this lovely little model including a Spider, a Sprint Speciale, a Berlina sedan and even a Zagato rebodied Sprint. The Sprint Speciale and the Zagato Sprint both managing to squeeze an impressive 116bhp from the little engine.
Fast forward to today and the dual-clutch DSG gearboxes from the VW group in cars like the Scirocco are bringing fuel and emissions savings to their range and Alfa and the Fiat group have responded with their own dual-clutch system in the Giulietta TCT.
They have given this new six speeder to the 1.4l Multiair petrol and 2l MultiJet Diesel engines and it does seem to be as smooth and effective as promised, bringing a nice smooth gearbox that gives fast and very slick gear changes.
It is a testament to Alfa’s approach to the gearbox that in the Daily Telegraph, The Independent and What Car, they all note the quality of this new gearbox.
It also brings two additional financial benefits, a 10% fuel saving, pushing it to over 54mpg for the petrol and nearly 63mpg for the diesel, and perhaps even better, a drop of 2 company car brackets because the petrol now puts out only 121g/km and the diesel only 119g/km.
The Alfa “D.N.A. selector” that gives you the choice of Dynamic, Normal and All-weather modes now talks directly with the gearbox so that the chassis and drivetrain are working in unison.
Whichever model you choose, you get 170bhp under your right foot with the diesel outdoing its petrol sibling with 340Nm of torque (250ft/lb) compared to 250Nm (180ft/lb).
Both of the models will take you all the way to 135mph but (perhaps surprisingly because of the difference in torque) the petrol engine will get you there a little quicker, 7.7seconds to 62mph rather than 7.9.
The interior quality definitely seems to have improved and it looks like a fantastic place to sit and drive.
The rev counter and the speedo are the most prominent dials but everything else looks clear and is a little bit more unique than the ubiquitousness of the VW/Audi/Skoda/Seat parts bin.
The outside of the car is the same and somehow just what you expect from Alfa Romeo, with a splash of style and the few tweaks that make it as good looking as the rest of the recent range of Alfas.
Overall, the TCT gearbox has added a strong new feature to an already lovely car. Alfa Romeo has combined achievable improvements in the economy, emissions and performance to what was already the most stylish car in the sector, with an increase in interior quality to German levels.
This means that while an Alfa is always a compelling choice for the heart, your head won’t disagree for a moment.
Guest post: Antony Jackson has had a fascination with cars from an early age and has followed race and road car developments on 3 continents. Photographing and writing about cars here and abroad, including visits to the Porsche works in Germany, 1000+ mile classic road trips and conversations with retired racing drivers in Las Vegas, his love of cars comes through in his work.
Feature presentation video of the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta as presented at the Geneva Motor Show, March 2010. Introducing the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Discover the latest technology, design and comfort blended with 100 years of sporting heritage.