For 2023, Alfa Romeo added a new limited-edition trim to its Giulia and Stelvio lineups, the first time the automaker has done so on a global scale.
Called the Estrema, it takes the Veloce trim up a notch with driving technology from the high performance Quadrifoglio, including the Alfa Active Suspension.
We recently tested the Giulia Estrema in Alfa Rosso, a fitting colour for driving it over the Christmas break as it was quite a present to myself.
On top of the enhanced driving dynamics, the Estrema has a few features that other models in the lineup do not. That includes genuine carbon fibre interior accents, black brake calipers, leather-faced heated sport seats, and heated rear seats.
The Estrema also comes with the Active Assist Plus system, which includes driver attention assist, intelligent speed assist, lane keep assist, active blind-spot assist with braking and more security features.
Pricing for the Giulia starts around $57,500, but the Estrema is priced at $69,190. That represents a significant jump in price, but when you consider it is still roughly $30,000 less than the Quadrifoglio and has some of the same fun quotient, it’s a good value.
Powertrain: The Giulia Estrema is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
It delivers good numbers, with 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to make the Estrema a fun little buggy.
The Estrema also comes standard with the Alfa Romeo Q4 all-wheel-drive system, which came in handy as Mother Nature dumped plenty of snow during my time with it.
Also helping traction is the limited-slip rear differential, which distributes torque and traction during acceleration.
Alfa Romeo estimates that the Giulia Estrema has a combined fuel economy average of 9.2 litres of premium fuel per 100 kilometres. I did no better than 12.3 L/100 km and that was with some pretty significant highway driving included.
Exterior: When opting for the Estrema, buyers do not only get enhanced underpinnings. The exterior look is also upgraded, and that includes carbon fibre veneer on the V Scudetto grille and mirror caps. The B-pillar and side window trim are gloss black to blend in with the side windows, and the Estrema badging is also blacked out, all very nice contrasts against the Alfa Rosso paint.
The look also includes 19-inch gloss black five-hole wheels, with the black brake calipers hiding discreetly in behind.
Interior: The cabin also has some exclusive pieces for Estrema owners. For starters, the dash, steering wheel, centre armrest, shift lever and upper door panels all feature leather finishings with red stitching. Those carbon fibre accents also complete the interior look.
The sport seats provide good support and are fairly comfortable, including a manual thigh-support extension available should you need it.
The cabin, while awash in black, is kept quite airy thanks to the light allowed in through the dual-pane sunroof.
The one thing that took me a good while to get used to, and this is just a result of it being in a unique position, is having the engine’s push-button start placed on the steering wheel. By contrast, hard to miss on the steering wheel are the large, aluminum paddle shifters.
Infotainment: The infotainment system comes with an 8.8-inch screen which is the same size as the Stelvio I tested previously. While on the Stelvio it seemed small, on the Giulia it meshed well with the size and layout of the cabin.
The menus and interface of the system are good, with clearly defined menus and pages that are easy to navigate. And it features satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and wireless phone charging, with the slot for that nestled in the centre console right in front of the storage area.
Filling the cabin with the sweet tunes is a potent 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
Drive: The performance of the Estrema was really enjoyable. Power was aplenty, with great acceleration and response times on passing moves.
The suspension setup and limited-slip rear differential ensure that the Estrema always feels sure footed on the road, no matter the conditions. Steering response is also really well balanced, so it’s a very enjoyable drive in my view. We drove it on some winding country roads and even in some less than idea weather, the Estrema and its AWD system proved up to the challenge.
Conclusion: This version of the Giulia is a nice balance of style and substance, without the near six-figure price tag. It looks really good in red with the black accents, the cabin is luxuriously appointed, and it drives really well under a variety of conditions. While Alfa Romeos are still not that often spotted out on the road, this version of the Giulia – and the Stelvio for that matter – could help in changing that.
2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Estrema
Price as tested: $69,190.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder/ 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Power/torque: 280 horsepower/ 306 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Premium (58 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.2 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 12.3 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Website: Alfa Romeo Canada