The Giulia may of wowed the world back in June, but don't mistake her for a one trick pony. Still disguised Giulias are once again undergoing testing on the Nurburgring and Philippe Krief, Giulias project chief, is spilling secrets. Seven to be exact.
1) The Giulia was Developed in 2-and-a-Half Years
Initially imagined as FWD dominant before CEO Sergio Marchionne radicalized the project. Kreif said "The industry standard says four, the longest say five years, everywhere in the world. We had to do it in two and a half years. Marchionne said – and he’s right – the only way to achieve that is to be different." It's likely the Ghibli was used as a donor vehicle in order to accelerate development.
2) Designed by a Team of Ten
Sergio Marchionne authorized a small skunkworks team to lead development of the Giulia. He hand-picked Philippe Krief from Maranello and handed him a nearly blank page. "It was 29 April 2013. I was working at Ferrari and received a phone call saying “You have to come and do the new Alfa, we have to do something totally different. So please take a bunch of guys, go somewhere and think about that. You have two years and two months!”"
3) Why Aluminium and Carbon Fibre are Important
Kreif elaborates that their number one priority was the power to weight ratio. "We knew that we wanted to have a car around 1500kg for the Cloverleaf. Then we needed to do the optimisation, to decide where we wanted to save weight, where we could afford to have normal steel. We also decided on the cost criteria: you have to save weight where it’s efficient, but to save weight you always have to pay. On the door it’s efficient, if I pay X I can save a lot of weight; in other areas it’s not that efficient because you only save a little weight and you pay a lot."
4) With Ferrari Sprinkles
Before Kreif started on the Giulia project he was part of the 458 Speciale project at Ferrari. His aim was to bake the same precision into the Giulia's chassis. "Ferrari had a big advantage of having rear-wheel drive, so it’s exactly the same kind of stuff we wanted to put on the Giulia, this kind of feeling… It has to be precise, very quick, very agile, very stable. It drives fantastically really."
5) Real Torque Vectoring
The rear diff uses twin clutches to shuffle torque side to side, unlike cheaper brake based systems that rely on over speed/retardation. "You have a differential, two clutches, there’s always torque coming, even if you’re not on the throttle. Thanks to the torque vectoring, this torque can be split front and rear, left and right. It can create whatever you want: to start stable, have oversteer, then stable, understeer, you can do what you want because this clutch is very fast, the control is very fast…" Kreif also added that the Giulia can send 100% of available torque to one single wheel if needed.
6) Giulia's Heart is ALL Alfa
Krief is adamant that the 500 horsepower Twin Turbo V6 is a ground up design exclusive to Alfa Romeo. "Twin turbos, 90 degree bank, what was important for us was the feeling, it’s not necessarily the amount of torque. When you drive the car, when you accelerate, you can have all the torque suddenly then nothing, or you can have torque which is increasing, increasing, increasing: we use the amount of torque and we tune it to always have this situation, this feeling. Torque is dependent on gear choice: on first and second gear, you can have a huge amount of torque, here we are very progressive, on third and fourth, we are still progressive, but on fifth and sixth gear you have less torque because here you are looking for power. So we give more torque on the lower revs. Yet even in sixth gear, you accelerate and then vooom!" Alfa may claim the engine is ground up brand new, but it's likely it has its roots in the Ferrari built 3.0 TT V6 doing is duty in the Maserati Ghibli.
7) Intelligent Aerodynamics
Cloverleaf Giulia's will come with an active splitter which responds to the nuances of your situation. "You have to create downforce, it increases the performance of your tyres. So we’ve developed this device to increase downforce in corners. We start from the basis where the car has natural downforce, but then we increase it in a bend: so in curves, the splitter is working to give you more downforce; go back to a straight line and we want low Cx, low drag." Giulia uses actuators linked to the ECU which relays whether you're in a curve or straight line, oversteer or understeer situation and adjusts downforce accordingly.
Look to experience the Giulia for yourself come spring 2016, Alfa plans to release more information come the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.