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I happened to be in the DC metro area and went to Criswell Alfa/Maserati in Germantown Maryland.
They have a pretty large inventory including a pair of rare Misano Blue base 18" sports both still in their factor wraps.
I drove two cars: An AWD Lusso TI and the TI Sport.

Pros:

The steering is darn good. I got one of the last E90 BMWs with the classic hydraulic steering. I've been specifically avoiding the F30 because of the horrible electronic power steering. But Alfa has gotten this right. The weight is not quite as heavy as I would prefer but it is very direct and linear with good feel. I wouldn't have immediately guessed is was electric. The steering wheel is spectacular. Even the base wheel without the paddles is very nice.

The sport seats in the TI are very nice. Much higher quality leather than is found in the 3-series. BMW Dakota leather still has the marks on it from were the jockey was beating it. I'm a big guy and they hug me nicely. They might be a little tight for long hauls which is the case with my BMW sport seats. But for daily driving I think they are pretty sweet. Not a fan of red or tan interiors but in the overcast light of the day I though both looked great. The full-sun pictures of the red leather seem a bit overpowering for my taste but seeing it in person I would consider it.

The exterior styling of course. I had seen the QV in person but not the standard Giulia.

The engine is smooth. The torque comes on early as you would expect from a turbo charged engine. power tapers off before the redline but otherwise it has a nice powerband.

Nice driving position. Doesn't sit quite as low-slung as my BMW but as a result it's also easier to get my fat ass into and out of. ;-). Salesman even pointed out the weird seat moving back when the car is turned off.

Cons:
Not a fan of the 18 turbine wheels. I actually think the standard 17" look better. Sport wheels for me though.

I'm of the opinion that for cars in this price class a sunroof should be standard.

Rear leg room is a bit sketchy. Looking over the specs I expected there to be more legroom in the rear than there is in my BMW but I doubt there is.

Shift knob feels cheap. Was kind of wobbly. Most all of the other interior materials seemed par for the class or better.

Can't tilt the seat bottom. this would really help with thigh support in the base seats.

Turn signal sound is a bit loud. Not ford-flex make you want to stab your ears out annoying but it's not exactly a pleasant sound.


Now I just need to have a few convos with the spousal unit to get her on board.
 

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Cool review.

This closely matches what I experienced during the test drive (I currently own an F30 and had an E46 before). The best part about the car is the steering feel.

I think I need to take another test drive and decide if it's worth taking the plunge. I'm a manual transmission guy, never having owned an auto. That's my main problem with the Giulia. The next time I go in for a test drive I will try out the paddle shifters.
 

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Good luck not purchasing the Giulia now that you have driven it :). I was 100% sure I was purchasing a WRX Limited... ya, I know, but I have always liked them. Then our local Alfa dealer had a "come drive the Giulia and get a hot dog/cookie"... which I could not pass up, free food! I no longer had plans for the WRX.
 

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Great review! You are spot on with your comparison to BMW steering feel. To me, the steering is very responsive; similar turn-in to an R53 MINI. This is a highlight of ownership. Having owned and driven many BMWs (E39, E85, E91), I too was accustomed to a specific feel. that was all remedied on my test drive with the Giulia.
Having always had a manual "in the stable", I couldn't fathom a daily-driver without some intuitive interaction with the shifting. Be sure you drive a Giulia with the paddles to see what you prefer.
Good luck in your search and have fun!
 

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Regarding Manual vs Auto.....I don't think the issue is "the left foot"....I think it's about "feeling connected"...Drive the paddles (which are absolutely beautiful to sight and touch and are placed correctly on the column and not the wheel) and you will feel engaged....And have the benefit of letting your left foot rest during bumper to bumper traffic.....D
 

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If anyone visits Criswell again any time soon, maybe put the bug in their ear to become our first Dealer sponsor?

Criswell has many many brands. They'd do well to contact Vertical Scope's advertising team to place banner ads, etc. in these style forums.
 

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If anyone visits Criswell again any time soon, maybe put the bug in their ear to become our first Dealer sponsor?

Criswell has many many brands. They'd do well to contact Vertical Scope's advertising team to place banner ads, etc. in these style forums.
@Cupshot works at criswell

I go there all the time as they are my dealership of choice for service.
 

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You're welcome to take a look at my red interior anytime if you're on the fence. I'm in the Tysons area.

I agree with your assessment. I had a E46 and E90 and they don't compare in fun factor or finish. I say do it!
 

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Why is that the correct way?

From this article discussing M2's DCT
http://www.motortrend.com/cars/bmw/m2/2017/2017-bmw-m2-long-term-arrival-good-gets/
If you never go around turns that are sharp enough to turn the wheel past 90 degrees or so the paddles on the wheel are better. If you want to have a good driving experience around hairpin turns the paddles on the column are better.

Paddles on wheel==no need to move hand off wheel to shift if you also did not need to move hand off wheel to turn. Incredibly confusing if you did need to move hand off wheel to turn AND requires you to take your hand off the wheel to hit the paddle. The paddles can be relatively small and unobtrusive.

Paddles on column==need to move hand off wheel to shift if you turn the wheel enough that your fingers can't reach the paddle. This threshold is generally somewhat smaller than for paddles on the wheel. No confusion about where to find the paddle in any condition. The paddles need to be large and may make it harder to reach the control stalks that are behind them, depending on your driving position and the length of your fingers.

Which is better? Depends on the length of your fingers and what roads you drive. I think that paddles on the column will work better for me.

One other point: I expect that paddles on the column are more reliable because there is no need to send signals from the wheel to the chassis.
 

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You're welcome to take a look at my red interior anytime if you're on the fence. I'm in the Tysons area.

I agree with your assessment. I had a E46 and E90 and they don't compare in fun factor or finish. I say do it!
Fun I will grant you, but the Alfa's build quality isn't on par with a 3 Series. The Giulia's build quality is good but I wouldn't say outstanding. I would say 7/10, whereas the 3 Series is a 9/10.

Fun Fact: The plant that makes the current 3 Series has the lowest defect rate of any plant in the world, even lower than Toyota's best plant which is in Canada.
 

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Fun I will grant you, but the Alfa's build quality isn't on par with a 3 Series. The Giulia's build quality is good but I wouldn't say outstanding. I would say 7/10, whereas the 3 Series is a 9/10.

Fun Fact: The plant that makes the current 3 Series has the lowest defect rate of any plant in the world, even lower than Toyota's best plant which is in Canada.
Sal....are you drinking the "Kool-Aid" again ? :laugh:
 

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Fun I will grant you, but the Alfa's build quality isn't on par with a 3 Series. The Giulia's build quality is good but I wouldn't say outstanding. I would say 7/10, whereas the 3 Series is a 9/10.

Fun Fact: The plant that makes the current 3 Series has the lowest defect rate of any plant in the world, even lower than Toyota's best plant which is in Canada.
Which plant? The 3 in the US comes from one of at least 3 different plants -- SA, Munich, and Regensburg (may be more but I am aware of at least these three). My first F30 built in Regensburg had a ton of issues resulting eventually in a buyback.
 

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If you never go around turns that are sharp enough to turn the wheel past 90 degrees or so the paddles on the wheel are better. If you want to have a good driving experience around hairpin turns the paddles on the column are better.

Paddles on wheel==no need to move hand off wheel to shift if you also did not need to move hand off wheel to turn. Incredibly confusing if you did need to move hand off wheel to turn AND requires you to take your hand off the wheel to hit the paddle. The paddles can be relatively small and unobtrusive.

Paddles on column==need to move hand off wheel to shift if you turn the wheel enough that your fingers can't reach the paddle. This threshold is generally somewhat smaller than for paddles on the wheel. No confusion about where to find the paddle in any condition. The paddles need to be large and may make it harder to reach the control stalks that are behind them, depending on your driving position and the length of your fingers.

Which is better? Depends on the length of your fingers and what roads you drive. I think that paddles on the column will work better for me.

One other point: I expect that paddles on the column are more reliable because there is no need to send signals from the wheel to the chassis.
Where do Formula 1 cars have them? I think Ferrari has them on the steering column. And indeed the ones on the steering column are HUGE. Almost all the street cars have them on the steering.

In normal driving where I have a need to shift, I can't think of a situation where more than a 90 degree turn would be needed. Would it not be recommended to brake/downshift before entering such a curve anyway, rather than downshifting/upshifting while in such a curve?
 

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Which plant? The 3 in the US comes from one of at least 3 different plants -- SA, Munich, and Regensburg. My first F30 built in Regensburg had a ton of issues.
Almost all the 3's on the East Coast come from the SA plant, which has been given a bunch of awards and as of last year had the lowest defect rate of any auto plant in the world. It was quite surprising to read that.

The Giulia will get there but I bailed out at the last moment and I think the time to get a Giulia will be the 019 model year.
 

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Almost all the 3's on the East Coast come from the SA plant, which has been given a bunch of awards and as of last year had the lowest defect rate of any auto plant in the world. It was quite surprising to read that.

The Giulia will get there but I bailed out at the last moment and I think the time to get a Giulia will be the 019 model year.
By then the G20 will be out, so depending on what that is like it may not be as easy a choice.
 

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He who hesitates . . .

I think the time to get a Giulia will be the 019 model year.
By 2019, I will have had two years of enjoyment from my Giulia, and will be preparing to lease my next one. You will just be two years older. :wink2:
Why wait?
 
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