No one is buying Alfas, but that hasn’t prevented the Italians from pulling out all the stops for the new Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA
When I first drove the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio at Fiat’s Balocco proving grounds in 2016 the mood during all the coffee breaks was positive. In between sips the Italians were all chirping, planning to sell 100,000 Giulias a year. Judging by the phenomenal Quadrifoglio this seemed attainable at the time. Including the volume stuff, the crossovers, the final tally went up to 500,000 units a year. Things turned out so horribly wrong however that Alfa Romeo is now more likely to be thinking about staying afloat rather than breaking any sales records. Last year in Europe just 55,000 Alfas were shifted, which is a horrendous result.
At least Alfa Romeo hasn’t yet met the same tragic fate as Lancia. As one of the most storied brands in automotive history, Lancia was relegated to disgusting, rebadged Chrysler minivans and SUVs. Now Lancia sells a single model and only in its home market. Perhaps, then, we can all take some solace in the fact that Alfa seems to be going out with a bang – this here is the new Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA, inspired by its 1965 namesake and powered by an even mightier twin-turbo V6 engine now rated at 540 horsepower. If you’re feeling particularly nostalgic, you can also have the Giulia GTAm, which ditches the rear seats and adds a racing roll-cage. Only 500 units of the Giulia GTA and GTAm will be available worldwide ensuring instant classic status.
With know-how from the Sauber F1 team, the Giulia GTA benefits from active aerodynamics and a substantially updated look, with 50mm wider front and rear tracks, a large front splitter, carbon-fibre rear wing, and a new Akrapovič central exhaust system. Inside, the GTA features mouldings to fit racing helmets, a bunch of aluminium and more carbon fibre for a total weight reduction of 100kg. The result is a kerb weight of 1,520kg which gives the Giulia GTAm the ability of accelerating from zero to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds.
New springs, shocks and bushings for the suspension improve handling and response, and 20-inch centre-lock wheels complete the picture. In the hard-core GTAm, they even deleted the door panels so you have to open the door by pulling a strap. Further weight-saving was achieved all over the place with Lexan windows instead of glass, and carbon fibre additionally used for the drive shaft, bonnet, roof, front bumper, wheel arches and the front seat shells.
And just so we’re clear, GTA stands for Gran Turismo Alleggerita (the latter being Italian for ‘lightened’), while the little m in GTAm represents ‘modificata’. Let’s hope this halo product is enough to turn things around for the Italians this year, otherwise you may be looking at the last great Alfa Romeo ever.