Bravo Alfa! Step away from the German saloon. The Italians have a winner on their hands in the new Giulia I didn’t know it was actually possible to experience a Vivaldi violin solo being played on your heartstrings. But, then again, this was my first drive in Alfa Romeo’s new Giulia. The seduction begins with ex-Pininfarina designer Lorenzo Ramaciotti’s alluring design, the ‘trilobe’ face drawing the eye elegantly to a high beltline and pert rear end. It is balanced, distinctive and begging to be driven. A thumb on the Ferrari-style starter button confirms that the 147 kW/330 Nm 2.0l turbo is a refined miss – muted at a cruise and yet capable of sprinting from standstill to 100 km/h in 6.6 sec. Even entry-level Giulias get dual-zone climate control, cruise control and a suite of safety systems, including lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking. So it comes as no surprise that the up-spec Super leaves you smiling, with satnav, 17” wheels and sumptuous leather seats that provide a near-perfect driving position. A toggle through the DNA drive-mode selector tailors the steering and throttle response to your will – easy-going or lively, but always with superb traction courtesy of rear-wheel drive and classic 50:50 weight distribution. As for those smug Germans who believed they had the premium-sedan segment all sewn up, think again. With this new Giulia, the Italians finally have a rival capable of taking on the establishment. For more information on the Giulia, visit http://alfaromeo.co.za.