The latest release from Alfa Romeo, the Giulia GTA, marks a return to an era of pure driving passion for the iconic Italian manufacturer.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA is the most powerful road car the company has ever produced. But with a projected cost of around £152,000 for the standard model and £156,000 for the stripped-out track-focused GTAm version, and production limited to just 500 models, it is a many of us can only dream of.
And dream we shall, as we take a closer look at what this performance-focused road model has to offer the fortunate few who manage to get one.
A Return to GTA
GTA stands for Grand Turismo Alleggerita, and it is the Alleggerita part that is crucial as it translates as ‘lightened’.
So the use of the GTA nomenclature on the latest Giulia marks a return to the special edition lightweight Alfa Romeos which first carried the GTA badge in the 1960s. These cars were developed with a deeper level of refinement and a lower weight to enhance driving pleasure.
The latest Giulia GTA certainly won’t disappoint as it is arguably the finest road car Alfa Romeo has produced to date. It proves this iconic Italian brand still has what it takes to build world-leading road cars.
The base of the Giulia GTA is Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio model. But the vast changes which push the GTA model into a class of its own are noticeable at first glance.
The Giulia GTA features new carbon fibre parts that help decrease the overall weight to enhance acceleration while giving the car a more racecar-like appearance than the Quadrifoglio.
But it is the comprehensively reworked aerodynamic package that helps improve performance. The GTA models get an intricate front splitter that can adjust by 40mm, a reworked front bumper, altered grille, large air ducts behind the front wheel arches, more robust up sills, new rear wheel arch flares, a sizable boot deck spoiler and a revised diffuser. In addition, a series of underbody trick fins are used to help accelerate air underneath the car towards the rear.
Every aspect and part of the Giulia GTA has been carefully designed to enhance airflow to maximise performance and enhance downforce. With 300kg additional downforce compared to the Quadrifoglio model.
So much has gone into enhancing the performance aerodynamic tests were undertaken in the wind tunnel of Alfa Romeo’s Formula 1 partner Sauber engineering. The result of all this work is a car that invites you to put your foot down on straights while having the agility that allows you to attack the corners.
Lighter Means Faster
As we’ve mentioned, the simple fact that making something lighter means it has more powerful acceleration is not lost on Alfa Romeo who has been making lightweight versions of their popular models under the GTA badge since the 1960s. However, its latest version of the Giulia GTA takes this weight-saving philosophy to new levels.
A raft of weight-saving measures means the GTA Giulia is 100kg lighter than the Quadrifoglio model, weighing 1,580kg. While the more performance-focused GTAm model takes things a step further with an additional 40kg weight saving bringing the total weight to just 1,540kg.
Alfa Romeo achieves this by using lightweight plastic rear door panels, polycarbonate rear windows, Sabelt carbon fibre-shell front seats, nylon door pulls and removing the rear seats. So despite adding a rear roll cage, it remains an incredibly lightweight performance car.
Ferrari Developed Engine
Under the bonnet, the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA features the same Ferrari designed and developed turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine used in the Quadrifoglio. But, by adopting new conrods, adding additional oil injectors and revising the oil coolers along with tweaks to the software controlling the turbocharger and a new Akrapnic titanium exhaust system Alfa Romeo manages to up by 30bhp to 533bhp. Although, torque remains the same at 443lfb ft.
The boost to power means the Giulia GTA is capable of 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds and, with an adjustable rear wing dialled in, it has a top speed of 191mph. It lapped the Bolocco test track 4.07 seconds faster than the Quadrifolgio, proving just how capable it is.
The drive gets sent to the rear wheels via a ZF-produced eight-speed gearbox and an electronically controlled differential with unique mapping. It delivers crisp upshifts and downshifts with little interference needed. However, should you wish to take control the shift paddles on the steering column are right where you need them.
When it comes to stopping the Guilia GTA, you know the Brembo brake system won’t let you down. The standard-fit carbon-ceramic Brembo system mates 390mm diameter disc with six-pot calipers at the front and 360mm diameter discs with four-pot calipers at the rear.
The result is a sharp and instantaneous slowing. It is a braking experience that has the intent of a real racing car.
Changes to the Chassis
Although not visible, changes to the chassis have a real impact on Alfa Romeo’s newest GTA model. In fact, the chassis was so important to get right that Alfa Romeo drafted in Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi of F1 fame to help finalise overall chassis changes.
The tracks are 25mm wider at the front and 50mm wider at the rear, which help lower the amount of weight transfer producing more grip.
The electromechanical steering gets new mapping, a lowered double-wishbone suspension setup and a multi-link rear suspension setup. While the firmer springs and dampers further enhancing the tyre’s contact and grip.
Talking of tyres, the new Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA gets bespoke 20-inch forged alloy wheels that wear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Tyre. Michelin designs these tyres to meet the needs of drivers who demand high performance and precision handling on track.
Inside the Giulia, GTA is surprisingly similar to the Quadrifoglio model in terms of layout. So offers good usability day-to-day with all the car’s vital functions within easy reach.
Helping to boost the luxury and interior ambience, it features more Alcantara trim with the dashboard and headliner covered in this high-quality fabric.
A True Race-Inspired Road Car
We can’t deny the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA is an exceptionally exciting prospect bringing real race-car like features to your everyday drive. But with so few in production, it remains to be seen how many make it to the UK.
The good news is the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio on which the GTA model is based is available across all our Stoneacre Alfa Romeo showrooms. With its Ferrari designed engine, it is still well worth considering if you are looking for a sophisticated sports saloon.