IT is no secret that Italian men have a world wide reputation for admiring attractive women and sexy cars and having close connections with Italy I would not disagree with that way of describing many of them, writes Bryan Longworth.
I will not pursue the female angle any further but will concentrate on the cars because Italy has a tradition of producing some of the world’s most desirable motor cars and that is still true of the Italian motor industry.
Some of the world’s most potent sports cars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati are still produced in Italy along with Alfa Romeo who are enjoying a renaissance after a period of making some rather uninspiring models.
Largely responsible for the boom in sales is the Giulietta which not only has a very evocative name but has a shapely body, classy interior, excellent roadholding qualities and a range of fine engines.
Alfa Romeo produced their first Giulietta over 50 years ago when they were an independent company before becoming part of the Fiat empire and the latest version in my opinion is one of the best cars they have ever produced.
I say that after testing the top model in the range, the Giulietta 1750 TBi 235bhp Cloverleaf costing £24,495 which is blessed with good looks, a powerful petrol engine and a silky smooth six speed manual gearbox.
Along with other models in the range the Cloverleaf has Alfa’s DNA system which allows the driver to choose his or her driving mode - D is for dynamic sporty driving, N is for normal urban driving and A is for all weather motoring especially in low grip conditions.
But it is the 1750 capacity turbocharged four cylinder engine the most powerful in the range with a top speed of 155mph and zero to 62mph time of 6.8 seconds that makes this model so special for it provides such an exciting driving experience.
Linked with this is the steering and handling for this model has one of the best steering systems in the business and roadholding and handling provided exhilerating driving over my favourite roads in the Pennines.
My only reservation would be that the ride is on the firm side and over badly maintained roads of which there are now plenty all over the country it was a tad too firm for my liking although I am sure many owners will not quibble about this.
As I mentioned earlier there is a luxurious and comfortable interior with well designed instruments and controls and the easy to open tailgate leads to a roomy load area above a space saver spare wheel.
The Giulietta is one of those shapely and sexy cars that the Alfa designers have got just right and it is not surprising that this car and this model in particular is spearheading the renaissance of the world famous marque and is so admired in Italy and elsewhere.
My Verdict: Italian flair and engineering at its best.