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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Current car is a Green 2004 BMW 300i with the ZHP package and 6 speed manual transmission. It’s a great car and one I look forward to driving on every trip but it was time for a refresh. I started the search completely expecting it was simply a question of which BMW I would get though their European delivery program, which is awesome.

The engine in the new 340 is fabulous but BMW have managed to suck all the joy out of driving their current cars. Apparently its what the majority of their customers want and they are certainly selling a bunch of cars at the moment. Zero manual transmission and zero RWD available to test drive should have been enough of a clue. I wanted to like the new BMW’s but overall they aren’t nearly as much of a driver’s car as my current one which is bought and paid for. So if I’m going to drive a BMW it’s the 330i ZHP one I already own. I did write BMW a letter expressing my disappointment and was very surprised to get a personal response in less than 2 hours. Time will tell whether enough people write them to say bring back the fun to drive setting in non M series. They clearly know how and are choosing not to which is what gets me.

The Jag XE was OK but so little rear seat space I might as well buy a 2 seat something which isn’t on the cards, I need to be able have people in the back occasionally. The trunk in comparison is huge but that’s not an OK tradeoff for me. Discovered that paddle shifters on the steering wheel really doesn’t work for me, I loose track of what is what pulling out of T intersections and probably any other tight corners. Loved the fact that the dealer just turned over the key and said bring it back when you are done with the test drive. My test car was AWD and despite their claims that 95% of the time it’s RWD only it didn’t feel my RWD 330i. In the end although it handles well for whatever reason it just didn’t engage me as a drivers car enough to be worth paying for a new car.

The shock was the Cadillac ATS, which is available RWD and manual transmission. Even on a short test drive it was a lot of fun to drive, which is what I had been reading in reviews but it exceeded expectations on that front. However the fact that all the common controls in the cabin are touch sensitive was extremely frustrating. Worse many are mounted on a panel with a hidden compartment behind it so I kept on opening the compartment by accident. The dealer seemed to be quite worried I was going to break something as I tried to change settings. I’m sure its one of those things you get better at operating but I can’t ever see being able to reliably change settings while driving without taking my eyes off the road for too long. Rear seat space was just about as unusable as the Jag with even less headroom although it feels less closed in because the roofline doesn’t slope down as quickly as the Jag. Apparently Cadillac spent a lot of time pulling E46’s apart before designing the ATS and the clearly learned a lot of good lessons. I still like the ATS and Cadillac might have ended up with my business if they had let me have a longer test drive, oh and if I hadn’t visited the Alfa dealer.

Like many people I thought the auto only was a deal breaker and was in two minds about even going for a test drive. However a good sign at the Alfa dealer was that they had come up with a test drive route where you can actually push the car into a few corners and encourage you to do so. The dealer was interested in the other cars I had driven and my impressions of them, he had clearly taken the time to go and test-drive them himself. The dealer was kind enough to provide me with an extended test drive and I sold myself the Giulia. So hats off to Thompson in Doylestown. While they were understandably keen to have me buy the one I had been test driving they didn’t object in any way to placing a special order for exactly the spec I was looking for. I never thought I would willingly buy an automatic but I discovered that the column mounted shifters and ZX box work for me. I still don’t like the lack of feedback in the drive by wire brakes, perhaps some harder compound pads if they are available will take some of the low speed grab out of them? I thought it wasn’t going to be that big deal to wait for the Giulia to be made and delivered, I still have a fun car to drive but as I read more and more about the Giulia on this forum and watch new reviews on YouTube I find it’s getting harder to be patient.

Alan
 

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Welcome! Glad you made the right choice after all of those test drives ;)

Near King of Prussia here. Which dealer did you buy from?
 

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Welcome! Keep us posted.
 

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Excellent. They seem to run a great group of dealerships. One of the Thompson heirs is a serious contender in SCCA world challenge racing in a Porsche. Reminds me to look up the 12 hrs of Sebring to see if he's racing there...
 

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Welcome Abroad

@Alan...welcome to the insane asylum:grin2: you should be pleased with your purchase..and you are indeed Alfa's target market...
the ZHP E46 was the subject of a great article in the Roundel comparing it to the E36 M3/4..very evenly matched cars....
I'd keep the ZHP forever if it were mine...very solid cars...typical E46 nits but overall a wonderful car...
that said, I'm curious what made you go to the Alfa? no manual here either:crying: so you getting the ZF8 speed like the one in the 340..
what tipped you?
Regards
M
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interesting question I'm tempted to keep the ZHP forever and there are definitely things I think I will miss at least at times. Like the manual shift, the Giulia will be my first auto. I went into the process convinced that auto was a deal breaker and I have told the Alfa dealer I would buy a manual if they offered it. But I disliked the ZF8 with column mounted shifters less that the compromises the other cars I tried needed me to make.

What tipped me over the edge was that driving the Giulia is a blast, the overall experience made it feel like it was worth paying for a new car. I know there are unknowns but there are unknowns with a high mileage ZHP too :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for the welcome's.
Order was placed Mid February, when I checked on Friday the dealer told me the car is being painted.
I'm not getting notifications direct from AR, does that happen at some point in the process?
Is there a way to check online for the status of the order?
 

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Great write-up. I too have an E46 ZHP with a 6-speed manual, an '03 white over tan sedan. Love that car, it's the most perfect all-around car of the 30 cars I've owned over the years. I was never completely sold on the regular 330i or M3 but the ZHP package just hits a sweet spot with the suspension, steering and engine tuning.

In a perfect world I'd keep it forever but I've already too many cars to drive and too many cars sucking up insurance money while there are new cars like the Giulia and '15-'17 Mustang that I find even more appealing. The new Mustang is leaps and bounds better (no comparison really) than previous versions in terms of handling, technology, and fit and finish; I got a lightly-used '15 GT and it's like driving an amusement park ride to work each day, yet it compares well re build quality to the 996 and 987 Porsches I had a few short years ago. These two cars are just so much more attractive at this point than a fourteen year-old 235 HP car really (with time progress, yet I don't prefer the newer BMWs, feeling numb and detached to me compared to the E46).

With the Giulia I'd miss the manual but I would have the manual trans Mustang to go with it so maybe that would be fine. At any rate, I think you got the only contemporary sedan that could serve as a genuine replacement for the E46 ZHP. Maybe if Mazda gave the 6 more power and offered a manual with the higher trim levels they might have a candidate, but they don't, leaving the Giulia as the only contemporary four-door option for my tastes. My dream would be an NA version of the QV engine mated with a manual and called the Veloce for the American market. That would be too good to be true, so I expect that like you, I'll be getting a Ti with Sport Package eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It will definitely be hard to part with the 330i ZHP but I think it should be continue to be driven daily so it will need a new owner.

For the Giulia make sure you look at the performance pack as well as the sport package, it adds the active suspension and also a mechanical limited slip diff which I like.
 

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Thank you for the welcome's.
Order was placed Mid February, when I checked on Friday the dealer told me the car is being painted.
I'm not getting notifications direct from AR, does that happen at some point in the process?
Is there a way to check online for the status of the order?
As far as I can tell there is no method accessible to us to check on anything. As far as I can tell you can do this for all other FCA brands, just not Alfa Romeo.
 

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Thank you for the welcome's.
Order was placed Mid February, when I checked on Friday the dealer told me the car is being painted.
I'm not getting notifications direct from AR, does that happen at some point in the process?
Is there a way to check online for the status of the order?
Not that I know of. I have a Ti on special order as well. The only time I get an update is when I ask my dealer. The last time I went in and asked, the three people with that level of (permission, security) weren't there and I couldn't get an update. Two weeks ago my Ti was being painted.
 

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Maybe if Mazda gave the 6 more power and offered a manual with the higher trim levels they might have a candidate, but they don't, leaving the Giulia as the only contemporary four-door option for my tastes. My dream would be an NA version of the QV engine mated with a manual and called the Veloce for the American market. That would be too good to be true, so I expect that like you, I'll be getting a Ti with Sport Package eventually.
My feelings too. I have been a Mazda guy since I was in junior high. But alas, no Mazdaspeed 6. Pfft, meh. And I'm moving on in life and career. Widowed, no kids, and need more room to entertain and socialize. But a "more door" four door is not a requirement. A coupe with good room would be awesome.

:wink2:

Welcome Alan.
 

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Current car is a Green 2004 BMW 300i with the ZHP package and 6 speed manual transmission. It’s a great car and one I look forward to driving on every trip but it was time for a refresh. I started the search completely expecting it was simply a question of which BMW I would get though their European delivery program, which is awesome.

The engine in the new 340 is fabulous but BMW have managed to suck all the joy out of driving their current cars. Apparently its what the majority of their customers want and they are certainly selling a bunch of cars at the moment. Zero manual transmission and zero RWD available to test drive should have been enough of a clue. I wanted to like the new BMW’s but overall they aren’t nearly as much of a driver’s car as my current one which is bought and paid for. So if I’m going to drive a BMW it’s the 330i ZHP one I already own. I did write BMW a letter expressing my disappointment and was very surprised to get a personal response in less than 2 hours. Time will tell whether enough people write them to say bring back the fun to drive setting in non M series. They clearly know how and are choosing not to which is what gets me.

The Jag XE was OK but so little rear seat space I might as well buy a 2 seat something which isn’t on the cards, I need to be able have people in the back occasionally. The trunk in comparison is huge but that’s not an OK tradeoff for me. Discovered that paddle shifters on the steering wheel really doesn’t work for me, I loose track of what is what pulling out of T intersections and probably any other tight corners. Loved the fact that the dealer just turned over the key and said bring it back when you are done with the test drive. My test car was AWD and despite their claims that 95% of the time it’s RWD only it didn’t feel my RWD 330i. In the end although it handles well for whatever reason it just didn’t engage me as a drivers car enough to be worth paying for a new car.

The shock was the Cadillac ATS, which is available RWD and manual transmission. Even on a short test drive it was a lot of fun to drive, which is what I had been reading in reviews but it exceeded expectations on that front. However the fact that all the common controls in the cabin are touch sensitive was extremely frustrating. Worse many are mounted on a panel with a hidden compartment behind it so I kept on opening the compartment by accident. The dealer seemed to be quite worried I was going to break something as I tried to change settings. I’m sure its one of those things you get better at operating but I can’t ever see being able to reliably change settings while driving without taking my eyes off the road for too long. Rear seat space was just about as unusable as the Jag with even less headroom although it feels less closed in because the roofline doesn’t slope down as quickly as the Jag. Apparently Cadillac spent a lot of time pulling E46’s apart before designing the ATS and the clearly learned a lot of good lessons. I still like the ATS and Cadillac might have ended up with my business if they had let me have a longer test drive, oh and if I hadn’t visited the Alfa dealer.

Like many people I thought the auto only was a deal breaker and was in two minds about even going for a test drive. However a good sign at the Alfa dealer was that they had come up with a test drive route where you can actually push the car into a few corners and encourage you to do so. The dealer was interested in the other cars I had driven and my impressions of them, he had clearly taken the time to go and test-drive them himself. The dealer was kind enough to provide me with an extended test drive and I sold myself the Giulia. So hats off to Thompson in Doylestown. While they were understandably keen to have me buy the one I had been test driving they didn’t object in any way to placing a special order for exactly the spec I was looking for. I never thought I would willingly buy an automatic but I discovered that the column mounted shifters and ZX box work for me. I still don’t like the lack of feedback in the drive by wire brakes, perhaps some harder compound pads if they are available will take some of the low speed grab out of them? I thought it wasn’t going to be that big deal to wait for the Giulia to be made and delivered, I still have a fun car to drive but as I read more and more about the Giulia on this forum and watch new reviews on YouTube I find it’s getting harder to be patient.

Alan
I had the same dealer experience at Jeff DAmbrozio in Frazer. No problem with a special order when what I wanted wasn't available or in the pipeline. Early February order, I was told today I'm about ten days out from delivery.
 

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I had the same dealer experience at Jeff DAmbrozio in Frazer. No problem with a special order when what I wanted wasn't available or in the pipeline. Early February order, I was told today I'm about ten days out from delivery.
Having a get together there Wednesday and Thursday nights if you're in the area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Now have a Giulia Ti of my own

Update, my special order Giulia arrived 90 days from order to delivery. The dealer thought it was going to be another 10 days, then the car "just turned up". Couple of weeks for dealer to get and install the staggered wheels I had ordered.
23 miles on the clock when I took delivery. Went straight to Rockguard film for protection film and all over ceramic coat. Very happy with both so far and will post more details.

As far as the detailed specifications, I think most of you can work them out with only three closeups see the attached thumbnails.

Real photos to follow but for now I'm just enjoying the car.

Thanks
Alan
 

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Nice! A grey Q2. :grin2: We have a blue Q2 on special order. Should be here in another week or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hope your Q2 arrives as expected, the blue is a great color. I'm glad I special ordered the RWD with LSD in addition to the handling I really like the even gap between the wheels and the wheel arches.
 
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