Auto123 attends a virtual presentation of Alfa Romeo’s updated models for… 2020.
Those who watch the industry know that Alfa Romeo tends to do things its own way. While it's often refreshing, it can also be a little hard to follow their reasoning at times.
Yesterday, the company, now a division of the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) Group, invited us to a small virtual presentation so it could make a few announcements about the brand's models. Thus we were filled in on the changes made to the products in the lineup, consisting essentially of aesthetic and technological updates.
Nothing odd there. Except that the changes are for the 2020 models. Yes, 2020. It's July, let's remember. What about the 2021 versions? Of course, they'll also benefit from these improvements, but other changes may come. And we're not sure when the 2021 vintages will show up. Anyways, as we were saying, Alfa Romeo often goes its own way…
While the strategy of doing things differently isn’t a crazy one for a brand that needs to make its mark, perhaps it should be done in a more organized, dazzling way.
Front and centre in this show-and-tell was the Giulia sedan, which we learned benefits from changes to the design of its cabin and multimedia system.
The centre console, for one, was redesigned to give it a slightly more classic look, but also to make it more functional, both in terms of storage and ergonomics. Same goes for the steering wheel, which benefits from some minor tweaks.
The main focus, however, is on the changes made to the multimedia system. Simply put, the unit that equipped the models until now was a total mess. Worse, while everywhere else touchscreens rule the day, here menus could only be accessed via a thumbwheel. And the problem was compounded by an unnecessarily complicated interface, which appeared by most measures to date back somewhere close to the Paleolithic era.
The new generation seems much more user-friendly and, yes, it will be able to receive touch commands. The screen size has gone from 6.5 inches to 8.8 inches, which is good, and buyers can choose to get navigation with it or not. Of course, we’ll know how good it really is when we get to use it, but Alfa Romeo at least appears to have taken a step forward here.
Otherwise, a new connectivity system (Alfa Connect) allows you to perform some functions remotely with your phone, such as starting, locking or unlocking the vehicle, activating the alarm system and making emergency calls to the roadside assistance service. Wireless recharging for cellular devices can be had as an option.
The Giulia will also benefit from Level 2 autonomous-driving capabilities, which means that on the highway, thanks to the adaptive cruise control, it will be possible to let the car guide you over certain distances, even when braking and accelerating is required.
All these are evidently changes aimed at keeping the model competitive on the market. The Giulia isn't the most popular in its segment, but Alfa Romeo sees its presence in North America through a long-term perspective; it wants to grow the model’s market share, one step at a time.
The next big news coming from this manufacturer will be the arrival of the Tonale SUV. It will certainly benefit from the elements that have just been introduced.
Meantime, we'll have a chance to come back to the new and improved 2020 models when we test drive them in the flesh over the next few weeks.