The Alfa Romeo Giulia
The jumbled senses were all edgy and excited, rarin’ to go yet holding back at the same time.
The excitement of the car prompted the former, but you had to rein in the sense.
One puts it down to the Alfa Romeo effect. Its the heritage, the style, the excitement generated by the drive, you see.
A little story to illustrate the Alfa Romeo effect. It was a decade and more ago.
One was road testing an Alfa and was caught in a speed trap on the Waterford Road around the Danesfort area.
A cloud of dust viewed through the rear view mirror confirmed the worst - the Garda was racing after me. What to do?
We parked up, got out and waited by the car for the few moments it took the pursuer to catch up.
The inevitable question followed. "Do you known what speed you were doing there?"
But Garda, this is an Alfa. Please, have a look and tell me you wouldn't want to drive this car.
He did. And then he didn't....book me. In the circumstances, a verbal warning was adjudged equal to the crime!
Hands up! We were both guilty and victims of the Alfa spell.
So now we have new Alfa Romeo, if you like.
The once powerful Italian giants have geared up afresh for a battle in the compact executive sports saloon class with the arrival of the beautiful Giulia range.
We say beautiful because we all but uttered aloud the word "wow" on the first view. It has been a long time since a parked car prompted such an excited reaction.
There is an alluring Alfa appearance to the front; a hint of BMW about the rear end. And the strong feel to the build is added to by a high end finish to the cabin, with the obvious use of quality materials.
And the extra touches are there. Yes, the touches, exemplified by the beige stitching to match the beige seating that adorned the black leather used around the upper dash area; the stop/start button tucked away neatly to the left of the three spoke steering - with the Alfa logo at the centre - hinting at a racing heritage.
The colour co-ordination was picked up in the doors of our drive, the Giulia 2.2 Super Lux diesel automatic.
AR know they have ground to make up in the field against the Jaguar XE, Audi 4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-class and others.
And so there is a price advantage with the Alfa of between €4,300 and €5,000 in the like-versus-like models measured against the opposition.
Giulia prices start at €39,995, yet the list of features is long and impressive (see below).
Buying can be a class issue at this level. Yet for drive, finish and economy the Giulia cuts the mustard.
Time will be the provider of the answer on other serious issues like reliability.
We loved the strong yet silent drive and easy manner of the car; the seamless gear change on the automatic box; the sure footed feel on varied road surfaces; the feel that for all the luxury features and driving aids, the pilot was still king, the one to be pleased most.
The Giulia can cough up the power and deliver performance when prompted.
True to the tradition of the brand, the car has style; it evokes passion and a satisfying drive worthy of the badge.
Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 JTD 8-speed automatic Super Lux €46,716, 2,143cc, four cylinders, 16 valves, 150bhp at 4,000rpm, 450Nm at 1,750rpm, zero to 100kph in 8.2 seconds, top speed 220kph, fuel consumption 5.3 (53.3mpg)l/100km (urban cycle), 3.5 (80.71mpg) extra urban and 4.2 67.2) combined cycle, CO2 109 g/kgm, annual road tax €190.
Standard specification includes black cloth seats, leather steering, 3.5" TFT display, front armrest, 17" Style alloys, run flat tyres, LED rear tail lights, fog lights, forward collision warning (FCW), autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), anti theft alarm, hill hold control, cruise control, dual zone A/C, rear parking sensors, e-handbrake, auto lights and wipers, keyless go, Alfa Connect 6.5"audio; additional on Super Lux, leather upholstery, 18" Luxury alloys, 25W Bi-xenon LED DRL, front parking sensors, rear view camera, adaptive cruise control, power folding mirrors.