DO YOU KNOW IF THEY SERVE GELATO IN MILANO?
ALFA ROMEO GIULIA 2.2 JTDM 180 BHP AT8 RWD E6
Imagine waking up next to your significant other on a warm Sunday morning in Italy. You open your eyes and there they are, smiling at you. Outside, the leaves are moving in the mild wind and the sky is as clear as the first memory of you having ice cream.
I have always thought that the perfect car that accompanies couples on lazy summer days is a steel blue 1962 Jaguar E-Type Roadster. It might be, but only if the summer is that of 1962.
Nowadays, owning a vintage car is impractical. Such a passion requires a sizable investment and the type of constant maintenance which will drive your significant other away faster than suggesting a threesome with their closest relative. It's quite an engagement, especially since it involves spending the golden years locked up in a dark garage, regaining your virginity and talking to car parts.
However, the feeling you get from the aforementioned hobby is extremely hard to top. Once you get your car in the proper state, once the sun rises and once you wake up to a lovely lady and the two of you (OK, her) decide to go for a drive on the Amalfi Coast (OK, Derbyshire), the nights spent fixing the front differential will have been worth it.
In the grievous case you decide to see that someone again on a regular basis and you also wish to avoid the deplorable situation which I have already described, you'll need to invest in a car which is reliable, spacious and can fit two immense, but adorable golden labs. How can you do that by not sacrificing your driving pleasures, you shall ask.
I can answer this question by presenting the Alfa Romeo Giulia, a car which both your spouse and your other lover will enjoy.
I drove the 2.2 JTDM version with real-wheel-drive, which produces 180 bhp and straight away there were many problems.
First of all, the vehicle runs on something people use after they've admitted defeat in life - diesel. Secondly, it has a Start/Stop option which is excellent for saving the ice caps and aggravating the symptoms of dementia; luckily it can be extremely easily turned off.
Moreover, the Giulia cannot be driven without compromising your sanity, due to the many sensors which inform you of things such as the fact that you are breaking too late, when you aren't and that, while standing in line at the stop lights, you have a car in front of you, which always comes in handy in case you are blind.
Then there's the gearbox, which features three modes - slow, extremely slow and Sport, which is the only acceptable one. The last problem I've spotted are the breaks, which are excellent, apart from one tiny detail - they don't work.
Do not lose your faith yet.
Here's the thing, though. Alfas are built for people who love cars. And speed. And adrenaline. And, to sum it up without sounding like an ad for visiting a country of which you've never heard, life itself. You don't buy an Alfa because you want comfort, safety or a lower credit interest. You simply buy one because you love driving. And may I say, the Giulia is brilliant at that. It's like spending an evening with Jennifer Lawrence, in the sense that you get exactly what you expect and plenty more.
The car accelerates extremely fast, even the diesel version, and you'll find yourself doing 180 km/h before you even have a chance to turn the radio on. The steering is heavenly, I've never driven anything better. The suspension is sublime even when it's stiffened, making the Alfa a car which can be safely owned by the ones who can really afford it.
With the risk of sounding pathetic, the feisty little red Alfa Romeo makes you feel happy and young. The Italians truly delivered.
Other things? It's spacious, the seats feel like napping at the Vatican, the steering wheel has a special shape and grip and the display is stylishly designed - an absolute shocker, given the fact that you buy a car made in Milano, Italy; a thing which can also be said about the orgasmic design of the car.
Still think I'm exaggerating?
To sum it up, things used to be simple. You bought a Mercedes because you wanted comfort, you bought an Audi because you were trying to make a statement - that you're ambitious and you'll cheat on your wedding night and you bought an Alfa because you loved driving and you were stylish and you dreamt of retiring in Tuscany and tending your vine - which I still do.
Nowadays, however, an Alfa ticks all of these boxes created by Germans. And more. The Italians made, by accident, the safest car in the world for four consecutive years and never marketed the fact, because they didn't care. Then they went and did the same thing with the Giulia and promoted it because they realized it had appeal, but then evened the balance by claiming the top spot at the Nürburgring.
I'll let you decide if you feel like you still need a vintage car to impress the person you earlier woke up next to.