Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA and GTAm 2021 review: first international test


Tits circuit in Balocco in the north of Italy is not unpaved. The Giulia GTAm conveys that feeling, painting smears black and leaving streaks of white smoke in its wake. This car instantly wins a spot in the side sanctuary, and Alfa Romeo is sure to be adored for its production.

What did they do? The GTAm is basically a Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde, with modifications. These are numerous. And they should be. The price of the GTAm is $ 288,000, not far below the supercar money, and double the cost of the Quadrifoglio Verde.

There is at least a touch of exoticism in the engine of the Alfa Romeo. The 690T is a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 that shares essential bore and stroke dimensions with the version of Ferrari’s excellent F154 V8 used for the Roma and Portofino, from which it is derived.


For the GTAm, new connecting rods, faster rotating turbos, additional oil cooling measures and an Akrapovic titanium exhaust lifted the power of the 690T V6 to 397 kW, an increase of 22 kW. It drives the rear wheels with the same eight-speed ZF automatic transmission as in the Quadrifoglio Verde.

Alfa Romeo has invested more time and money in reducing weight than increasing horsepower. After all, GTA stands for Gran Turismo Alleggerita. It stands for Lite GT, and is a name from Alfa Romeo’s glorious past. The 1965 Giulia Sprint GTA was developed by the company’s Autodelta racing division and was a winner.

While the original GTA used aluminum to shed pounds, the new one relies on carbon fiber and other modern materials. It retains the carbon fiber roof and hood of the Quadrifoglio Verde and adds carbon fiber front guards. The rear window is polycarbonate instead of glass.

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This car instantly wins a place in the sideways sanctuary, and Alfa will certainly be adored for its production.

The GTAm – with this last letter meaning “modificata” – goes further. The rear seat is removed, allowing the installation of a protective half-cage. Convenient helmet storage wells and a fire extinguisher go where the rear seat cushion was.

The cage anchors the top six-point harness straps for the pair of Sabelt carbon fiber shell seats in the front. Polycarbonate is replaced by glass in the rear doors, which also have their interior trim replaced with something simpler and lighter. There are pull loops to open the front doors, and the interior of the GTAm is even more Alcantara-intensive than the five-seat GTA.

It’s also easy to spot the difference between the GTAm and the less expensive $ 20,000 GTA from the outside. The GTAm is the one with the large rear spoiler. Made, of course, from carbon fiber. It is adjustable, where the device attached to the GTA bootlid is not. The GTAm also has an adjustable front splitter, which can be extended forward 40mm for track use.

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The rest of the aero package – fins, cops, enlarged engine bay air vents, wheel air curtains, wheel arch vents, side skirts, and underbody fins – are shared. by both versions. Sauber Engineering, Formula 1 partner of Alfa Romeo Racing, has contributed to the design, development and manufacture of aerodynamic components. The Swiss company‘s wind tunnel was also used for the tests.

According to Alfa Romeo engineers, the GTAm develops three times the downforce of the Quadrifoglio Verde, presumably with a spoiler and splitter adjusted for maximum effect, and double that of the GTA.

For both versions, the chassis upgrades are the same. The front track increases by 25mm, while at the rear the increase is 50mm, enough to require small wheel arch extensions, naturally carbon fiber. Lightweight springs for the double wishbone front suspensions and multi-link rear suspensions slightly lower the ride height, and specific calibrations for the variable dampers and power-assisted steering system have been developed.

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Simple fasteners secure the 20-inch forged wheels of the Alfa Romeo. That makes the Super Giulia the only road-approved nut-free sedan in the world, the company claims. The rubber is Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Connect; 265 / 30ZR20 at the front, 285 / 30ZR20 at the rear.

Inside the rims are Brembo carbon-ceramic rotors, clamped by massive one-piece calipers adorned with the Alfa Romeo logo. The brakes are the same in GTA and GTAm.

Balocco is perhaps the most beautiful proving ground in the world. Originally built in the early 1960s by Alfa Romeo, it is now owned by Stellantis and is used by other brands that are part of the group.

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Although the site is adjacent to a fly village and surrounded by the mosquito and rice producing rice fields of the Po Valley plains west of Milan, on a clear day there are views of the Alps that form the borders of Italy with Switzerland and France.

There is also history here. It has everything you would expect from a modern proving ground, but there’s also a group of charming old farm buildings that Alfa Romeo likes to use as a base for launches. One of them was the Autodelta workshop, and it is aptly the venue for the presentations given by Alfa Romeo engineers and designers before we were allowed to drive the GTAm and GTA.

The Balocco handling circuit that was selected for this launch has been somewhat press-proof; temporary baffles were installed in a few of the fastest places. But nothing obstructs the slower turns …

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The brilliantly communicative nature of the chassis makes the GTA a precision tool for corner carving

The Giulia GTAm and GTA have an additional Race mode added to their DNA dials. These letters stand for dynamic, normal, and all weather, which basically means wet. Turn the dial past Race and hold it there for at least five seconds, and every electronic driving aid except ABS is turned off.

After exploring the location in Dynamic and then Race, the GTAm almost begs aloud to go into no-safety net mode. It’s the kind of car that quickly builds both confidence and confidence.

The management is, well, perfect. Not too heavy and divinely precise, it speeds up the process of linking with the car. Soon you discover that the chassis has a perfect command of cornering lingo, capable of translating steering inputs into nailed peaks while still providing the ability to adjust the throttle guided line.

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Oversteer is very easily accessible in the super Giulia. And once the rear rubber slips off, the degree of drift can be controlled with similar ease. It’s a great pleasure, of course, but not the way to reduce a good lap time.

Instead, aim for speed and the Alfa Romeo cooperates. The fade-free power of large Brembo brakes, steering precision, inherent balance in the chassis, and its brilliantly communicative nature make it a precision tool for sculpting corners. The competence of the team that created GTA and GTAm is evident, as is the dynamic direction of the Giorgio platform that is the basis of every Giulia.

The engine, rough at low revs, sings loud and vigorous as a surge of boosted torque propels the tachometer needle toward the cutout, just above 7,000 rpm. Its work is made even more impressive by the expert calibration of the eight-speed transmission. It’s excellent if left in automatic mode and a keen shifter when the steering column-mounted paddles are in use.

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There is little difference to be felt around Balocco between the GTAm and the GTA. Sports seats don’t hold the torso and hips so securely, of course, but performance and handling are the same.

There’s only a 25kg difference between the two versions, according to Alfa Romeo’s spec sheet, after all. Alfa Romeo Racing driver Kimi Raikkonen, who provided input during development, could perhaps feel a difference in downforce between the big spoiler GTAm and the GTA, but I couldn’t.

Surprisingly, this track-worthy Alfa Romeo is a great road car. In Normal or Dynamic mode, the ride quality is nothing short of superb for such a fierce car. And none of the Alfa’s charisma goes away when driving at reasonable speeds on a twisty road or when passing quickly on the highway. It really makes the excruciatingly stiff Mercedes-AMG C63 S feel like the work of suspension enthusiasts.

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The only lousy thing about normal GTA use is that it’s impossible to fail to notice the second-rate infotainment system that has plagued the Giulia since launch. The navigation in particular is just awful. It looks like something on a cheap Android phone.

Although imperfect and very expensive, the Giulia GTA is a really great car. Alfa Romeo, against all odds, has created something both exciting and capable. And incredibly memorable …

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Specifications of the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm

Engine 2891cc V6 (90 °), DOHC, 24V, biturbo
maximum energy 397 kW at 6,500 rpm
Maximum torque 600Nm at 2500 rpm
Transmission 8 speed automatic
Weight 1580 kg
0 to 100 km / h 3.8sec (claimed)
Economy 10.8 L / 100 km (WLTP)
Price $ 288,000
On sale Q4 2021

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