ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS THE NEW ALFA ROMEO GIULIA GTA
I make no apology, I am a fan of Italian cars. In fact, I’m a fan of most things regarding Italy. I suppose I can put that largely down to certain red cars which have graced the F1 circuits for so long.
So, when the news broke of yet another fast lane contender from Alfa Romeo, and there have been quite a few, my heartbeat did increase. The Giulia GTA and Giulia GTAm made their debut at the Balocco Proving Ground, Italy, where Autodelta developed the legendary 1965 Giulia GTA The new model is powered by a 2.9 litre V6 bi-turbo engine, upgraded to 540bhp, with a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio of 187bhp per litre and the employment of ultra-light materials means and with Launch Mode it accelerates from rest to 100kph (62mph) in just 3.6 seconds. Technical solutions have also been developed to enhance aerodynamics and handling and Sauber Engineering expertise and facilities were used in the development of the new model.
The Giulia GTA brings back one of the legends of motoring, one which was a milestone in the brand’s history: the 1965 Giulia GTA and it sees a return to the roots of the brand established 111 years ago, those of the worlds of performance and touring, with a model that epitomises the unique ability of Alfa Romeo to combine style and sport, something which the Italian carmaker does so very well. The car is instantly recognisable, courtesy of an exclusive characterisation that combines form and function in this high-performance vehicle derived from the Giulia Quadrifoglio.
Engineers have worked to improve its aerodynamics and handling, but above all to reduce the weight, following the same guidelines as for the 1965 Giulia GTA. To achieve these objectives, widespread use has been made of components in carbon fibre and composite materials and the aerodynamics have been designed to increase downforce. These solutions embody technical expertise that comes straight from Formula 1, courtesy of the synergy with Sauber Engineering and they also developed the side skirts; the new rear spoiler which is adjustable to four positions on the GTAm; the active front splitter, which can be extended for use on the track by up to 40mm on the GTAm and the carbon fibre rear diffuser with integrated titanium Akrapovic centrally mounted exhaust system, and the 20-inch wheels with single locking nut, seen for the first time on a saloon, which are paired with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. The aerodynamic research in the wind tunnel was not limited to the aerodynamic elements, but also focused on the fully-faired underbody. Both the GTA and GTAm also benefit from a new rear diffuser capable of increasing the car’s downforce, guaranteeing excellent roadholding at high speeds. On the Giulia GTAm, the most intense aerodynamic configuration triples the amount of downforce compared to the Giulia Quadrifoglio, which previously represented the benchmark in its class.
Handling has been improved by widening the front wheel tracks by 25mm, their rear counterparts by 50mm and developing a specific suspension set-up (the front with two oscillating arms, the rear using independent multilink springs). This suspension set-up and steering ensures higher cut-in and cornering speed and improvements in stability, while not impacting on the comfort. Now to the interior, the dashboard, door panels, glove compartment, side pillars and the central trim on the seats feature Alcantara upholstery. This material provides the driver with the right grip and reduces the commonly seen reflections from the dashboard and other plastic components. Alcantara is used even more extensively in the GTAm version, where the rear seats have been removed, leaving room for a fully upholstered ‘basin’, with specific mouldings designed to hold race helmets and a fire extinguisher.
The new matt carbon-fibre inserts offer the interior with a distinctive technical and aesthetic elegance and the new GTAm features a roll bar, no rear door panels, door pull loops instead of a handle on the front doors and matching six-point Sabelt seat belts, another feature typically inspired by the racing world. The Giulia GTA and GTAm are limited to just 500 numbered units and my parting shot is to Krystyna Perry in the Alfa Romeo PR Department- “Krystyna when will you invite me to drive this incredible car?”