The start point for the best source of fleet information
Ciao bella. Alfa Romeo's stylish new Giulia is set to be one of most sought-after small premium saloons when it goes on sale this month, at least in the hearts of those who want to drive them for business - but does the Italian brand, mostly alien to fleet, make sense in the minds of those who will manage them?
If you're not too familiar with the Italian 3-Series rival, the new Giulia has been created, from the ground-up, to beat BMW and restore Alfa's fortunes. As well as a 510hp, 191mph Giulia QV BMW M3 rival, there's a 200hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel that's available with either 150hp or 180hp.
All models come with an eight-speed automatic - a manual isn't even an option - while in the future, a plug-in hybrid will also be on offer. For now, we spent the majority of our time with the car that's likely to be the biggest hit with fleet: the 180 hp 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel.
Proving how serious Alfa has been in matching the benchmark BMW, the new platform switches to rear-drive. This helps the small saloon finally match the German for driving fun and balance.
The Giulia with this engine is pretty quick too, taking just 7.1 seconds to reach 62mph. In order to acheive that sharp drive, the suspension is on the firm side. Happily, however, it remains supple enough to filter out the worst of the bumps.
Where the new Giulia can't quite measure up to rivals like the Audi A4 is with refinement. The diesel is a rather noisy companion that always manages to make itself heard, whether you're on the motorway, a country lane, or in town
Behind the wheel you'll also be confronted by a cabin that isn't as well finished as an A4. The range-topping 8.8-inch infotainment screen found in the Alfa isn't as intuitive to use and has poorer graphics as well.
Interior space is decent. There's a large boot and just enough space for large adults to travel short distances in the rear seats, but, of course, none of this matters to the average fleet manager if all of this falls down on costs.
Happily, however, the new Alfa comes with highly competitive running costs. It manages to match the equivalent 3-Series' 67.3mpg, which will see the company car landed with a reasonable 21% benefit-in-kind tax bill.
The bad news is that residual value experts aren't quite as confident in the Giulia's ability to hold onto its value, and that rivals like the Audi A4 and the Jaguar XE are a safer bet. This, in part, sees all of its closest rivals (bar the Mercedes-Benz C-Class) beat the Alfa Romeo in the all-important cost-per-mile calculation.
That means as likeable and desirable as the stylish new Giulia is, it'd be a brave fleet manager that would be willing to let you have one over its opposition.