We’ll start with some sort of a conclusion, so that you know where to seek the trills while behind the wheel of this car. The Giulietta QV is not a sharp hot hatch, but rather a compact performer that can be both comfortable and hardcore. Now, let’s see how we found this out.
We had planned to take Giulietta by the hand and hit the track. We knew that this wouldn’t necessarily impress the stopwatch, but we were curious to see what would happen during our efforts to do so.
On the way to the circuit, we discovered that the straight line moments where the Giulietta QV really shines is those when you want to overtake. Acceleration times in second and third gear are impressive, allowing you to effortlessly perform such maneuvers.
As we accidentally found out, the vehicle’s launch from a standing start is also excellent, with the electronic Q2 differential handling the power and torque well. Now, about that “accidentally”...
We somehow managed to find a non-public road, where we encountered a Golf GTI Mark V. As we were performing our 0 to 200 km/h (124 mph) acceleration tests, its driver decided to join the party. We’re always in the mood of making new friends, so we played along. After all, how could 200 hp do any harm?
As it turned out, the guy knew what he was doing: we had been in second gear for 2 or 3 seconds when it became obvious that we would soon get to see the GTI’s exhaust.
The explanation: the owner had taken advantage of the Volkswagen Group’s LEGO-like powerplant aftermarket capabilites and increased the 2.0 TFSI unit’s power rating by over 50 percent (310 hp to be more precise). It seems that tuners hadn’t heard about Henry Ford’s Alfa Romeo hat-tipping habbit, as he had no remorse after repeatedly smoking us without mentioning the tweaks. We shook horns at the end and returned to public roads. Since we're here, we'll mentio that the open road fuel consumption for when respecting the speed limits, sits just below 9 liters per 100 km (27 US mpg).
Unfortunately, the stopping power doesn’t manage to match the 1.75-liter mill’s surging capacity, sometimes becoming a source of violent negative emotions. However, we couldn’t accurately evaluate the vehicle’s deceleration abilities, as our test car was fitted with winter tires, which were only suitable for 40 percent of our test itinerary.
So, you might end up entering a corner too hard. Well, that might not be a problem, as the Giulietta’s road-holding abilities are top-class. The electronic Q2 does an excellent job at minimising understeer without becoming too much of a nanny, while the suspension (the QV sits lower than the standard Giulietta -15 mm at the front and 10 mm at the rear) manages to be a perfect leash for the car.
Yes, we did reach the track at a certain point. It was a narrow circuit, one that barely allowed us to use third gear. But that was no problem - as it was situated in the mountains, we had the opportunity to evaluate the car’s high-speed cornering abilities on our way back, but we’ll talk about that in a paragraph’s time. Now it’s time to get back to the track.
We started by being turned off... unlike the ESP, which didn’t come with such a function. Actually, the only way to deactivate the VDC is to remove a fuse that.. oh, this is too annoying.. you just can’t!
While the Giulietta feels nimble and composed on the road, the track cuts its wings, especially in the tight corners, where a beefy mechanical LSD (limited slip differential) would’ve done wonders in taming the understeer. The braking becomes even more unsatisfying, as fading takes over a bit quicker than we would’ve expected - keep in mind that tires play no role here.
However, the agile steering and the potent engine make the circuit experience a pleasant one - you feel that you’re not using the right tool for the job, but you’re having a bit of fun.
With the rotors glowing in the daylight, we entered the pits area and allowed the vehicle to cool down, before we hit the winding, inclined mountain road that we “had” to use to get back to the city.
In the Dynamic mode, the ESP allows the back to step out a bit during braking, just enough to let you enter the corner at the correct angle. The electronic differential doesn’t necessarily make the car feel extremely fast, but helps it shine by allowing you to make mid-corned adjustments, the kind of maneuvers that will probably be necessary pretty often for the real-world drivers.
The only moments when we managed to enjoy some proper sideways action had nothing to do with weight transfer or trail braking, not even with using the handbrake. At least not the handbrake alone. To fool the ESP, we had to abuse the lever between the front seats while traveling over a few centimeters of snow. As you can see in the image gallery, we even tried a bit of “soft-roading”, and the results were satisfying (just don’t ask the Clutch, he wasn’t too happy about that).
Before we end, we have to tell you that we were surprised by the vehicle’s ability to make us forget that we were travelling on long distances. The seats and the suspension, along with the generous boot that swallowed all our equipment, managed to do that. The only exception? The suspension runs out of savoire faire when it comes to long portions of road filled with irregularities.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
This is it... I’ve found it! If I ever want to turn into a car, the Giulietta will definitely be my choice. It’s so sexy and I heard it’s smart too - a DNA system, a Q2 electronic LSD (whatever that means to junkies) and I just love the fine leather details of the interior. But enough about me, let’s get to the car.
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