I test drove one, a TI with the performance package, back to back with a 2016 Golf R. I realize from outward appearances they're different classes, but in terms of performance, the Golf smoked the Alfa. There's no comparing the Audi/VW DSG to any other automanual on the market (Porsche PDK is basically the same system). The Giulia's autobox is certainly more responsive than the usual slushbox, but in the end it's still pushing power through a torque converter. The Golf is also a solid half second faster to 60, which isn't that big a deal, but it also just feels faster. The turbo really kicks you in the back when you bury your foot. The Golf's brakes were marginally better, although I didn't really get a chance to lay on them. The VW's NVH was almost incomparably better. I felt the Giulia was a little too noisy, although that might've been the all-season tires on 19" wheels. Too big for roads around here - I'd stick with the 18s and ride taller sidewalls for a bit less noise and a little more comfort. The VW seats were also more comfortable. The Giulia's seat was fine (the base model's are TERRIBLE however - the Sport or Luxury upgrade is absolutely worth it, and that was only based on about 10 minutes of seat time in the base) but didn't feel as though it had as much thigh and lumbar support. The VW's interior was also nicer (better materials, better fit and finish), although too dark for my taste. The Lusso light wood package makes a BIG difference in the Alfa. The Golf's back seat was also slightly more adult-friendly, and of course the hatch means it can tote more stuff.
Where the Alfa won out was the infotainment integration. The screen is a component of the design and not tacked on or glued in. The interface was also far and away better (say what you want about FCA products in general, but their system is just better than most). You also can't argue the car's looks. It's almost a perfect balance of understated and aggressive. I think it's going to age really nicely! The quality of the paint also seemed better in general. The car's steering is freaking flawless. Tight, communicative, and direct. All cars should turn this well. The balance was also ridiculously impressive. It never exhibited any tendency to "lose its ****" when I yanked the wheel with glee. It just hunkered down and turned in. And of course, there's the inherent Alfa-ness. For a boring segment (mid-size sedan) it's a unique animal. I think it would bring joy every day it's driven.
So that's where I am. Later this year or early next, do I get the Golf R, which is almost perfect in every way, or the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which is flawed in many ways but also sort of perfect?
This is a tough one. If it helps, talking with a consultant I know, the 1-year depreciation on the Alfa could bring a car with an original MSRP of $42,500, like the TI I drove, down to almost $30k, basing resale of single-year lease returns from Caddy, Audi, and Jaguar. BMW and Merc have higher resale but only thanks to the brand equity. Alfa will likely trend lower. The one-year old Golf R I drive, whcih has 12k miles, was stickered at its original MSRP of $39,800. That's sort of nutso.
as good as a car can be... briefly.