• The wait is over! 2016 is proving to be a bumper year for new arrivals from Fiat, Abarth and Alfa Romeo. In the last two weeks we have attended not one but two new car launches, with more to come in the following weeks. Firstly we drove the new Fiat Tipo in Turin, a car that reinforces Fiat’s model range following the phasing out of the Grande Punto. Not only that, but the Station Wagon version reintroduces an estate car, which has not been listed since the Fiat Stilo and Alfa 159. Despite the very attractive pricing, mainly due to low cost manufacturing in Turkey, the Tipo does not feel as if it has been built down to a price. Given the practicality of both the Hatchback and Station Wagon, the high build quality, smart appearance and choice of the popular 1.6 diesel and 1.4 turbo engines, then I think we will soon be seeing lots of Fiat Tipos on our roads. / #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia-Type-952 / #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia-952 / #Alfa-Romeo / #2016 /

    While the Fiat Tipo is a welcome addition to FCA’s portfolio, its arrival was somewhat overshadowed by the long awaited #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia . CEO Sergio Marchionne said he wouldn’t launch the car until it was exactly what the Alfisti required and he has pretty much delivered the goods. Before I was let loose to drive the 503bhp Quadrifoglio at the Balocco proving ground, I was chauffered by an Alfa Romeo test driver around the damp track. The demonstration was sensational, the highly experienced driver took the car beyond limits that I could never achieve given the short time we had available. What a superbly engineered and exciting package the Giulia is. When I eventually tried both the manual and automatic (no TCT option) versions for myself I was pleasantly surprised to find that the paddle shift auto actually provided the better driving experience. The gear changes were so quick and rewarding that the manual change was almost laborious by comparison.

    Out on the road I drove the 2.2-litre diesel (178bhp) and 2.0-litre (198bhp) petrol versions of the Giulia, the models that will undoubtedly be sold in greater volumes than the ‘halo’ Quadrifoglio . The handling and ride quality of these cars is truly remarkable, the rear-wheel drive combined with a superb suspension set-up was a revelation. My favourite drive was the 2.0-litre petrol version, which has a satisfying Alfa rasp at high revs. Turbo technology, prevalent on most cars now (even Ferrari), means that it’s all over at relatively low rpm, 5500rpm in this case – something that the Alfisti will have to come to terms with. The UK will receive the 2.9-litre #V6 #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia-Quadrifoglio and 2.2-litre #MultiJet models later this year, hopefully the petrol version will arrive later. Next up the Fiat and Abarth 124 Spiders – exciting times!