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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had the afternoon to test drive two cars today: (1) Giulia Ti and (2) MINI JCW Clubman.

First stop was the MINI store in Sterling, VA and (lucky for me) they had 1 in stock. I was very impressed with the MINI's build quality. The doors and rear barn doors close with a nice solid "thunk" sound. The JCW interior is nice - the layout is a bit cluttered but I like the toggle Start/Stop button. Visibility in this car is not very good and the split rear hatch takes some getting use to. At start-up the exhaust sounds great! I was very impressed with the way the JCW Clubman drove - much quicker than I thought and the steering response was excellent.

Next I was off to the Alfa Romeo dealership that's practically next door. I waited 20 minutes until someone even greeted me and the initial getting with the sales advisor was very terse. I asked if the navigation screen was the larger unit and he argued with me that they're all the same size (true for the Ti's but I could not tell if we were in a Base or Ti model). He also told me that there is no staggered wheel set-up available on the Ti model (only on the QV). The test drive itself was ok but too short to really discern anything. When I suggested the exact route I just took the MINI on (about a 10-12 minute loop) he argued and told me to turn much sooner - I think the entire route was about 4 miles (I can't even test drive a bicycle within that distance). The drive itself was good. The car is much quieter than I'd hoped. Perhaps this was due to the fact I was just out of the JCW screamer? The exhaust note seemed to pick up a bit when I selected the Dynamic mode. The transmission seemed very good. The acceleration was good but no better than the JCW (seat of my pants estimate).

After the test drive we sat in his office and I showed him the 225/255 wheel option and he just sat there speechless so I grabbed his business card and left.

The entire experience left me quite confused. I do love the way the Ti looks but I really wish I could have had a more knowledgeable sales person walk me through all the features (and want to talk about the car). On the other hand I really loved the JCW - what a great little car.
 

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I had the afternoon to test drive two cars today: (1) Giulia Ti and (2) MINI JCW Clubman.

First stop was the MINI store in Sterling, VA and (lucky for me) they had 1 in stock. I was very impressed with the MINI's build quality. The doors and rear barn doors close with a nice solid "thunk" sound. The JCW interior is nice - the layout is a bit cluttered but I like the toggle Start/Stop button. Visibility in this car is not very good and the split rear hatch takes some getting use to. At start-up the exhaust sounds great! I was very impressed with the way the JCW Clubman drove - much quicker than I thought and the steering response was excellent.

Next I was off to the Alfa Romeo dealership that's practically next door. I waited 20 minutes until someone even greeted me and the initial getting with the sales advisor was very terse. I asked if the navigation screen was the larger unit and he argued with me that they're all the same size (true for the Ti's but I could not tell if we were in a Base or Ti model). He also told me that there is no staggered wheel set-up available on the Ti model (only on the QV). The test drive itself was ok but too short to really discern anything. When I suggested the exact route I just took the MINI on (about a 10-12 minute loop) he argued and told me to turn much sooner - I think the entire route was about 4 miles (I can't even test drive a bicycle within that distance). The drive itself was good. The car is much quieter than I'd hoped. Perhaps this was due to the fact I was just out of the JCW screamer? The exhaust note seemed to pick up a bit when I selected the Dynamic mode. The transmission seemed very good. The acceleration was good but no better than the JCW (seat of my pants estimate).

After the test drive we sat in his office and I showed him the 225/255 wheel option and he just sat there speechless so I grabbed his business card and left.

The entire experience left me quite confused. I do love the way the Ti looks but I really wish I could have had a more knowledgeable sales person walk me through all the features (and want to talk about the car). On the other hand I really loved the JCW - what a great little car.
Very fascinating. Growing up, the Clubman when it came out was my favorite car ever (as a 9 year old so don't worry, things have changed) and the JCW is absolutely amazing. It's just a shame BMW has ruined the look since the original model and is flat out hideous, along with most of the MINI lineup now.

I also find that I know more than the salesmen too, but it is a shame that so many seem to be getting just downright unpleasant salespeople with Alfa Romeo. I am quite a young guy at the moment and never thought I'd be able to test drive the Alfa and that is okay with me, but they basically threw the keys at me and I got to really give the Ti the beans on a test drive, and it was a great experience, basically solidifying my love for the car and proving that it needs to be my next car. That is how a test drive on a car you love should make you feel.

Summary: Clubman is fast but hideous these days but more predictable in terms of reliability, Alfa is definitely better value to me and just so pretty ... :smile2:
 

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I had the afternoon to test drive two cars today: (1) Giulia Ti and (2) MINI JCW Clubman.

First stop was the MINI store in Sterling, VA and (lucky for me) they had 1 in stock. I was very impressed with the MINI's build quality. The doors and rear barn doors close with a nice solid "thunk" sound. The JCW interior is nice - the layout is a bit cluttered but I like the toggle Start/Stop button. Visibility in this car is not very good and the split rear hatch takes some getting use to. At start-up the exhaust sounds great! I was very impressed with the way the JCW Clubman drove - much quicker than I thought and the steering response was excellent.

Next I was off to the Alfa Romeo dealership that's practically next door. I waited 20 minutes until someone even greeted me and the initial getting with the sales advisor was very terse. I asked if the navigation screen was the larger unit and he argued with me that they're all the same size (true for the Ti's but I could not tell if we were in a Base or Ti model). He also told me that there is no staggered wheel set-up available on the Ti model (only on the QV). The test drive itself was ok but too short to really discern anything. When I suggested the exact route I just took the MINI on (about a 10-12 minute loop) he argued and told me to turn much sooner - I think the entire route was about 4 miles (I can't even test drive a bicycle within that distance). The drive itself was good. The car is much quieter than I'd hoped. Perhaps this was due to the fact I was just out of the JCW screamer? The exhaust note seemed to pick up a bit when I selected the Dynamic mode. The transmission seemed very good. The acceleration was good but no better than the JCW (seat of my pants estimate).

After the test drive we sat in his office and I showed him the 225/255 wheel option and he just sat there speechless so I grabbed his business card and left.

The entire experience left me quite confused. I do love the way the Ti looks but I really wish I could have had a more knowledgeable sales person walk me through all the features (and want to talk about the car). On the other hand I really loved the JCW - what a great little car.
Sorry to hear about your experience at Alfa...it is EXACTLY this that they need to address and correct otherwise the merits of the car will be lost as will sales....
Good luck on your hunt!
BTW I drove an old JCW (Matt Farahs old car) and he could not leave well enough alone and did all sorts of things to it...
it was a BLAST to drive...a Go-Cart for the street....
 

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The staggered width 19" wheels are no longer available as part of the Ti Sport pack... it has been removed from the online configurator. So the salesman you had may very well be correct about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's still on the configurator, on the options page (19 x 9.0). Who knows, maybe he was right but I still wouldn't buy a car from him. I had a 5 minute test drive.
 

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Strange, I noticed it was gone the other day when I pulled up my Ti build and did a dealer search. It still isn't showing in the configurator for me tonight too.

Edit: staggered width 19" wheels on Ti Sport pack has been removed from AWD cars, but is still available on the RWD car in the configurator. Wonder why that is?
 

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Edit: staggered width 19" wheels on Ti Sport pack has been removed from AWD cars, but is still available on the RWD car in the configurator. Wonder why that is?
Interesting. I had not noticed that either, and I have gone through that configurator about a thousand times.

The staggered wheels are for "3-Season Performance Tires" Are those the tires you have to constantly replace?
 

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The MINI angle is an interesting one. I have owned 3 in the past (an R53 Cooper S, an R53 GP and a Countryman S) and the first one was when MINI had just entered the market.

My experience with MINI back then and my (so far only) experience with Alfa mirrored yours. The MINI staff was enthusiastic (had obviously drank the Koolaid) and knowledgeable about the car and its history.

I went to the closest Alfa dealer to me here in DFW a few weeks back and from the look and feel of the dealership to the 5 minute test drive (in total silence consisting literally of turn right out of the dealership, right at the first light, right at the next light and right at the next stop sign and back into the dealer lot) of a base model (not the QV that I'm interested in) it was disappointing to say the least. The fact that the closest dealer to me required a 50 minute drive away to a far northern suburb was a little defeating but the lack of either knowledge or enthusiasm from the staff was troubling.

I get that this is an $80k that has been getting incredibly glowing reviews and is essentially sold out at the moment but there was no follow-up of any kind and their "demo" asset is a QV that's the owners that they "may" let you drive if you run your credit through by them. When you're competing in a market like DFW against solidly run BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Porsche dealerships selling known commodity M cars, AMGs and the like, it's disappointing that this is the face of the Alfa brand.
 

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The MINI angle is an interesting one. I have owned 3 in the past (an R53 Cooper S, an R53 GP and a Countryman S) and the first one was when MINI had just entered the market.

My experience with MINI back then and my (so far only) experience with Alfa mirrored yours. The MINI staff was enthusiastic (had obviously drank the Koolaid) and knowledgeable about the car and its history.

I went to the closest Alfa dealer to me here in DFW a few weeks back and from the look and feel of the dealership to the 5 minute test drive (in total silence consisting literally of turn right out of the dealership, right at the first light, right at the next light and right at the next stop sign and back into the dealer lot) of a base model (not the QV that I'm interested in) it was disappointing to say the least. The fact that the closest dealer to me required a 50 minute drive away to a far northern suburb was a little defeating but the lack of either knowledge or enthusiasm from the staff was troubling.

I get that this is an $80k that has been getting incredibly glowing reviews and is essentially sold out at the moment but there was no follow-up of any kind and their "demo" asset is a QV that's the owners that they "may" let you drive if you run your credit through by them. When you're competing in a market like DFW against solidly run BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Porsche dealerships selling known commodity M cars, AMGs and the like, it's disappointing that this is the face of the Alfa brand.
In New England I have been to two Alfa dealers so far. Kelly in Danvers, MA was great -- the salesman was super nice and treated me very well and we explored the QV together in great length even though he knew my budget was more base-model than QV. The passion was there for sure, and while certain questions couldn't be entirely answered, info is still taking its time to make its way to the dealers and unfortunately the salesman can only know so much with these cars, at least in my opinion. Herb Chambers was also very good, but since they already knew me from previous times in the dealership, it was much more like meeting with friends and driving an Alfa rather than trying to get sold on the Alfa. To me, I don't mind. They already know I know a lot about the car too. When I went to drive the Ti (not my intention that day), I brought my dad along so he could drive it because he drives a 2016 A4 (competition to the Giulia of course) and wanted his thoughts. We spent probably close to 40 minutes in the Ti, pushing buttons and driving it on nice backroads and main roads too. Then, the salesman told me to try it out without hesitation, which was really nice of him.

Maybe I am just lucky, but I cannot actually remember any bad experiences at car dealers anywhere my whole life. Maybe dealers in NE are just a little more welcoming? Who knows. I am very intrigued by what everybody says about other dealers around the country
 

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In New England I have been to two Alfa dealers so far. Kelly in Danvers, MA was great -- the salesman was super nice and treated me very well and we explored the QV together in great length even though he knew my budget was more base-model than QV. The passion was there for sure, and while certain questions couldn't be entirely answered, info is still taking its time to make its way to the dealers and unfortunately the salesman can only know so much with these cars, at least in my opinion. Herb Chambers was also very good, but since they already knew me from previous times in the dealership, it was much more like meeting with friends and driving an Alfa rather than trying to get sold on the Alfa. To me, I don't mind. They already know I know a lot about the car too. When I went to drive the Ti (not my intention that day), I brought my dad along so he could drive it because he drives a 2016 A4 (competition to the Giulia of course) and wanted his thoughts. We spent probably close to 40 minutes in the Ti, pushing buttons and driving it on nice backroads and main roads too. Then, the salesman told me to try it out without hesitation, which was really nice of him.

Maybe I am just lucky, but I cannot actually remember any bad experiences at car dealers anywhere my whole life. Maybe dealers in NE are just a little more welcoming? Who knows. I am very intrigued by what everybody says about other dealers around the country
Agreed.. very disconcerting to hear of the less than favorable dealer experiences, but I will second the very favorable opinion of Kelly in Danvers, MA. This is where I bought my Ti from a few weeks back and the experience was outstanding every step of the way. I found every staff member there to be very knowledgable and overly enthusiastic about the car, right down to my introduction to the lead technician who will be taking care of my car for service when needed.
 

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<< I am very intrigued by what everybody says about other dealers around the country>>

I live in Seattle - did my test drive at the area Maserati/Fiat/Alfa dealership. Good experience in terms of nice long test drives of 2 different Giulia's. Very knowledgable sales guy.. But then the price game started - had me wait in the room by myself while the sales guy and "invisible sales manager" huddled two different times trying to put something together. They started at $4k above MSRP - on a Ti! They came down but only to MSRP.

So a week later I was in Tacoma, 35 miles to the south. It's a FIAT dealership that just picked up Alfa, but really it's part of the mega Tacoma Dodge... right behind their 5 Giulias were 20 Challenger Hellcats, etc. But even with the Dodge feeling - I bought that day.. My sales guy was probably 21 years old but had done his research on the Giulia - very passionate. Offered me as long as test drive as I wanted. The sales manager was on day 1 coming over from the Dodge side and was no BS.. No one else in the dealership had test driven a Giulia yet! We actually just worked out a price right on the showroom floor...I offered $5400 below MSRP, they countered at $4400 off, I told 'em I'd agree to that if they'd do the first 4 annual services at no cost. They said yes. The whole negotiation took about 10 minutes. It was kinda funny because I had to go over to the Dodge location to sign with the finance guy for title...so there was no upscale buying experience at all. However, it was one of the most laid back and easiest car transactions I've done. And from what I can tell by tracking inventory they continue to sell about 1 per week.

Side note: the day my wife and I first visited Alfa in Kirkland we also visited Lexus, Jag, and Mercedes.. Maybe it's just the hot economy in greater Seattle, but at Lexus and Merc no one came up to us in ~15 minutes of walking the showroom floor - both places were overly crowded with prospects . At Jag a sales guy did come over after 5 minutes, but said any test drives would have to be done by appointment mid-week as they are too busy on weekends. The place was as busy as Lexus and Merc- most all looking at the F-Pace, which is why we were there as it's a car my wife likes.. Both Alfa dealerships were much less busy, and I received the appropriate attention right away.

My takeaway is that Alfa, right now, has a spotty dealer network in terms of sales guy knowledge, image, etc, when compared to the Germans and Lexus (imagine going to buy an AMG or BMW and walking amongst a mixed inventory of Fiats and Dodges)!! . That didn't bother me as I had enough passion for the car. Who knows, with a hot economy there are probably enough crumbs left over from the other brands to move a couple thousand units per year. But if FCA wants Alfa and the Giulia to really scale they are going to have sink some dollars and lots of time into dealer development.

So all that said this was a car that made more sense to lease (first year of production, Alfa's reentry into the US market, dealer questions, etc). But even knowing that I bought outright. The car is that much fun to drive!
 

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In New England I have been to two Alfa dealers so far. Kelly in Danvers, MA was great -- the salesman was super nice and treated me very well and we explored the QV together in great length even though he knew my budget was more base-model than QV. The passion was there for sure, and while certain questions couldn't be entirely answered, info is still taking its time to make its way to the dealers and unfortunately the salesman can only know so much with these cars, at least in my opinion. Herb Chambers was also very good, but since they already knew me from previous times in the dealership, it was much more like meeting with friends and driving an Alfa rather than trying to get sold on the Alfa. To me, I don't mind. They already know I know a lot about the car too. When I went to drive the Ti (not my intention that day), I brought my dad along so he could drive it because he drives a 2016 A4 (competition to the Giulia of course) and wanted his thoughts. We spent probably close to 40 minutes in the Ti, pushing buttons and driving it on nice backroads and main roads too. Then, the salesman told me to try it out without hesitation, which was really nice of him.

Maybe I am just lucky, but I cannot actually remember any bad experiences at car dealers anywhere my whole life. Maybe dealers in NE are just a little more welcoming? Who knows. I am very intrigued by what everybody says about other dealers around the country
I'd say you're pretty lucky! My experience has been really mixed, even within the same dealership sometimes. The treatment I've received from the sales and finance staff really has swung my decision on where I've made a couple of purchases in the past. After purchase, the quality of the facility and the knowledge of the service staff has determined whether or not I've gone back to that dealer or dealer group for future purchases. I didn't get a good vibe from my first Alfa experience here locally, and my brother backed me up on it as he tagged along with me that day.

I'm hoping one of the established luxury dealership groups (Park Place, Sewell) takes note of the good press the Giulia has been receiving and makes a business case to open shop in Dallas proper. With the Stelvio coming soon there should be more than enough buyers given the area's love for SUV's and crossovers.
 

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Sorry to hear you had a lousy test drive and overall visit at your local Alfa Dealer.
I do try to keep in mind that everywhere and everyone has bad days and go back if the experience is poor but it is pretty hard to shake that first experience with a car dealership. I have to say my Alfa dealer in Doylestown PA was excellent, it is part of a large multi manufacturer complex and the AR's are being sold out of the Maserati showroom. The salesman really knows the cars and has clearly taken the time to drive the competition. Perhaps most importantly he really gets that a significant fraction of the people coming in actually love to drive and need a real test drive. I think many people get nothing out of the actual driving experience, they are looking for ..... something else out of a car. Witness what BMW have done to their new cars, to my mind they have sucked most of the joy of driving out of the non M's. They clearly know how to make cars for drivers but are simply choosing not to.
Long way of saying that I think Alfa Romeo task finding the right dealerships needs to include understanding that many of the people coming I are coming to really drive the cars and they need to let them do that to close the sales.
When we were finding a car for my wife we ended up having to cover some miles to get to a mini dealer but they also really understood that we wanted a car that was fun to drive and needed more than 5 minutes driving to experience that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Alan. As far as this dealership is concerned - there are others on this forum that have (unfortunately) had a similar experience. However, since I'm in metro DC there are others I can visit so there is still hope.
 

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In New England I have been to two Alfa dealers so far. Kelly in Danvers, MA was great -- the salesman was super nice and treated me very well and we explored the QV together in great length even though he knew my budget was more base-model than QV. The passion was there for sure, and while certain questions couldn't be entirely answered, info is still taking its time to make its way to the dealers and unfortunately the salesman can only know so much with these cars, at least in my opinion. Herb Chambers was also very good, but since they already knew me from previous times in the dealership, it was much more like meeting with friends and driving an Alfa rather than trying to get sold on the Alfa. To me, I don't mind. They already know I know a lot about the car too. When I went to drive the Ti (not my intention that day), I brought my dad along so he could drive it because he drives a 2016 A4 (competition to the Giulia of course) and wanted his thoughts. We spent probably close to 40 minutes in the Ti, pushing buttons and driving it on nice backroads and main roads too. Then, the salesman told me to try it out without hesitation, which was really nice of him.

Maybe I am just lucky, but I cannot actually remember any bad experiences at car dealers anywhere my whole life. Maybe dealers in NE are just a little more welcoming? Who knows. I am very intrigued by what everybody says about other dealers around the country
Agreed.. very disconcerting to hear of the less than favorable dealer experiences, but I will second the very favorable opinion of Kelly in Danvers, MA. This is where I bought my Ti from a few weeks back and the experience was outstanding every step of the way. I found every staff member there to be very knowledgable and overly enthusiastic about the car, right down to my introduction to the lead technician who will be taking care of my car for service when needed.
Thanks for the info. on these two dealerships fellows....... I maybe swinging by them tomorrow and see how the Giulia handles in the snow.....:grin2:
 
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Do you think they'll mind if I bring my in car video set up?:smile2:
Depends on the set up, for Kelly typically they take you on the highway nearby or a couple of the backroads parallel to the highway area, not usually too picturesque ... but yeah they should be okay. Just ask if it's ok and then go get it from your car if they say yes, I have a feeling it's fine. If you're going to Herb in Wayland it's a really awesome route I thought ... really went a little too hard on the demo I think :laugh:

I took tons of pics of all the Giulias I went and had a look at or drove, but nothing while driving obviously. Should be ok
 
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