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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As most Alfisti already know, Alfa’s current 4-cylinder Giulia and Giulia Ti models are quick, competent, and fun modern sedans in completely stock form – but they can certainly be improved upon with the goal of creating a more exciting “sports” model. Alfa Romeo has done an excellent job of creating a vehicle with world-class driving dynamics and advanced safety features, but as enthusiasts, we are always looking to enhance the car's visceral elements that have inspired so much passion from loyal fans of the marque.

With the 2017-2021 Giulia models now becoming an excellent value on the used market, we were excited to build a customer demonstrator Giulia to showcase what is possible with a few well-considered modifications. We also wanted to illustrate that this approach will produce a vehicle that is comparable to a “tuned” BMW 3-series or Audi A4, which are the Giulia’s direct competitors.

Our goal with this project was not to build the most radical or highly tuned Giulia, rather we wanted to pursue the “OEM Plus” philosophy of combining select factory and aftermarket parts to produce a vehicle that has enhanced performance but still looks and feels like a factory offering. All of this was done with basic bolt-on upgrades that can easily be completed by a dedicated enthusiast.

When we looked for a starting point for this project, we had an ideal specification in mind – we wanted a rear-wheel drive Ti Sport model (with sport seats and paddle shifters), but without a sunroof. To many this is the most pure version of this chassis – the “enthusiast spec” – and was also closest in feel to our own beloved 2017 Giulia Quadrifoglio. It proved to be a rare combination, but we ended up finding a Silverstone Grey example with black leather interior. It was originally sold in California but was for sale at an Alfa dealership in Chicago with about 16,000 miles on it. The condition was nice, but it needed some mild reconditioning. We believe this is a fair representation of what you are likely to find when looking at typical used Giulias.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
We decided to tackle modifying this car in several distinct phases.

First, we performed some basic maintenance, which included an oil service (using our OEM oil change kit) and a complete brake overhaul. The brake rotors on this vehicle showed significant corrosion and the pads were about 70% worn. It still stopped adequately, but the braking feel didn’t inspire confidence when pushed hard. We opted to replace the pads and rotors with beautiful, Italian-made components from Tarox. These direct replacement rotors feature a radial groove pattern which cleans the pad surface but doesn’t produce the noise typically associated with drilled or slotted rotors. Paired with their Strada pad compound, this package transformed braking feel and performance, while also costing significantly less than factory replacement components. At the same time, we added our Titanium wheel stud conversion, which replaces the factory wheel bolts with wheel studs and traditional lug nuts. This saves weight and also makes removing the wheels for service much easier. As a matter of course, we replaced the factory air filter with an Italian-made BMC performance filter, which is reusable to save service costs later in the vehicle’s life.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Second, we looked at enhancing the grip and handling. Our Giulia didn’t come equipped with the optional mechanical limited-slip differential, and the lack of traction from the open differential was noticeable. We have seen rapid brake pad wear on Giulias with an open differential, as the traction control system uses the rear brakes to simulate a limited slip differential. To remedy this, we added a brand new factory limited slip unit, which was a bolt-in upgrade. While we had everything disassembled we also replaced the driveshaft flex disc. To further increase grip, we upgraded the rear wheels to wider factory 19 in. x 9 in. wheels, which matched the design of the existing 19 in. x 8 in. front wheels. For grippier rubber, we replaced the original Pirelli run flat tires with the optional Bridgestone Potenza S001 summer tires at all four corners, using a 225/40-19 tire at the front and a 255/35-19 tire at the rear. This wheel combination is known as the factory “staggered” set up. 5mm Athena wheel spacers at all 4 corners to give the wheels a “flush” fitment, and we installed the small plastic rear fender extensions from the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Together the addition of the staggered wheel and tire package and limited-slip differential yielded immediate improvements in straight-line traction and cornering grip, greatly reducing annoying traction and stability control interference.

The 952 Giulia already has an extremely advanced chassis layout, with a dual wishbone front design and a five-link independent rear suspension that yields a very neutral handling balance. With that in mind, we didn’t feel any suspension changes were necessary for this project. Although we do carry a selection of lowering springs, as well as a complete adjustable KW Coilover suspension system for the Giulia, the RWD Ti Sport models have a lower ride height than most other Giulias. To our eyes the stance is nearly perfect, with just enough clearance for fast driving on real-world roads. The sport suspension strikes a nice balance between firm and comfortable, and we didn’t want to degrade the ride quality by lowering the vehicle further.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Third, when it came to increasing performance, we went with the proven combination of our exclusive Competizione exhaust by Magnaflow and a Euro+Drive ECU tune from our tuning partner Eurocompulsion.

The Competizione exhaust is one of our most popular products, and it was developed to address the excessively quiet stock exhaust – a common complaint from Giulia owners. The system features large 3-in. diameter mandrel bent stainless steel construction, and eliminates several kinks and restrictions in the factory 2.5-in. system. As a “cat-back” exhaust system it does not affect emissions legality. Under normal driving it produces a smooth yet throaty sound with a nice “bark” on acceleration and during manual downshifts. Overall, the increased sound produced by this system makes the car much more enjoyable to rev and significantly increases throttle response.

The Euro+Drive system is a performance ECU tune that optimizes the factory programming. It easily installs by “flashing” the tune from a handheld device through the car’s OBDII port, and can be removed at any time. It increases power and torque, while retaining the full functionality of the factory DNA drive mode settings. Our specific tune was a dual mode tune, with Eurocompulsion’s Phase I tuning installed in the “N” setting and their Phase II tune installed in the “D” setting, with the “A” setting retaining factory programming optimized for fuel economy. Since each tune is created specifically for your vehicle, our tune also included some optional features such as stop-start system deactivation, “Dynamic” traction control, and a rev-limiter increase to 6,400 rpm. Overall, the tune really made the car come alive, pulling much harder in all gears and allowing the car to rotate properly through corners due to the more relaxed traction control settings. In a very real sense, the tune was what pulled all of the other modifications together and made them work as a cohesive package.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fourth, on the appearance front, we added a few select pieces of factory carbon fiber trim, which provides a nice contrast with the silver bodywork while remaining tasteful. For the trunk lid, we chose an OEM Giulia Quadrifoglio rear spoiler. Although installing this spoiler was more work than aftermarket spoilers, typically attached with double-sided tape, we haven’t seen aftermarket pieces that match the fit and finish of the original parts. We also added factory carbon fiber mirror caps, which directly replace the original painted pieces, and the factory accessory lighted carbon fiber sill plates. Inside, we installed our exclusive seat tilt kit on the driver’s seat for increased comfort, along with a set of our Italian-made, logoed floormats to finish off the interior.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We’re delighted with the results of all these modifications, and feel the car now has the full sound and feel of an Italian sports car, while remaining just as useable, comfortable and reliable as a stock example. It provides most of the same performance and excitement as a Giulia Quadrifoglio at a much lower price point.

Our car was used extensively at the 2021 AROC National Convention in Colorado Springs. With AROC Detroit member Rob Steele at the wheel, it took second place in the Autocrosss competition, and was driven on several tours, including the challenging climb to the top of Pike’s Peak. It continues to be a fun and practical member of our stable.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here are links to some of the products we used or discussed in this project.

Feel free to ask any questions, the reason I created this content was to generate discussion here on the AlfaBB. I know some of these topics have been covered in-depth on the Giulia and Stelvio forums but people here may not be as familiar with the new Giulia and may want to learn more. Another thing to note is that many of these modifications work equally well on the Stelvio.

Giulia Limited Slip Differential:


Giulia Tarox Brake Kit:



Giulia Titanium Stud Conversion:



Giulia 2.0T BMC Air Filter:



Giulia Wheel Spacers:





Giulia KW Coil Over Suspension:



Centerline Giulia Competizione Stainless Exhaust:




Eurocompulsion EuroDrive+ ECU Tune:



Centerline Alfa Logo Giulia Floor Mats:



Giulia Carbon Fiber Mirror Covers:



Giulia Carbon Fiber Door Sills:




Centerline Giulia Seat Tilt Kit:



Centerline Giulia and Stelvio Park Release Tool:


 

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Nice job and good marketing. Makes me want one but for that I live in an absolute service desert 100 miles north of Sacramento.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nice job and good marketing. Makes me want one but for that I live in an absolute service desert 100 miles north of Sacramento.
Probably should be a completely separate thread, but you are far from alone. Dealerships have closed leaving quite a few areas without service options.

The good news is these cars are not that hard to DIY or to have a competent shop learn to work on. There is an inexpensive program called MultiECU Scan (MES) that can interface with the cars and do things like reset the service lights and clear codes, as well as do a good bit of vehicle configuration changes (should you desire to get involved on that level).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The ability to change the diff to a lsd type for such a price is phenomenal.
Some people have swapped in used LSD differentials for less as well.

FYI our good friends at APE are a good source for used parts on the Giulia and Stelvio as well.
 

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First of all, congratulations and thank you for sharing these captivating changes.
A question: for the installation of the original spoiler is provided a mask for drilling the trunk cover?

Thanks!
 

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Great write-up. Perhaps the next mod will be an upgraded turbo and intercooler. I'm following.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First of all, congratulations and thank you for sharing these captivating changes.
A question: for the installation of the original spoiler is provided a mask for drilling the trunk cover?

Thanks!
Alfa does not provide a template for drilling but I made one from cardboard pretty easily which enabled us to accurately drill the needed holes. Of course after we drilled we used some OEM touch up paint to properly seal the edges of the holes.

Thankfully we had our Giulia Quadrifoglio close by so we could take measurements and get the spoiler positioned correctly as the top of the trunk lid is concave and the spoiler fits precisely when it's in just the right spot. The OEM spoiler is very well made and has adhesive strips in addition to the bolts to keep a tight fit, as well as foam to seal around all of the bolts to keep everything waterproof.

One thing that made drilling the holes a lot less stressful is a titanium stepped drill bit. This type of bit allows you to start small (after drilling a tiny pilot hole) and gradually increase the hole size, and you do have a lot of control compared to a traditional drill bit.

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Interesting mods... I found a 50K mile 2018 Ti RWD with the Ti performance package which includes the paddle shifters, LSD and the Active Suspension but fortunately does not have the Sport Pkg (don't like the seats, wife has them in her Stelvio TI and I just don't fit well). The car and the other mods except for the spoiler, the door sills and the mirror covers will be about $35,000.00 in total. I'll be replacing my 20 year old SL500 if/when I pull the trigger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Interesting mods... I found a 50K mile 2018 Ti RWD with the Ti performance package which includes the paddle shifters, LSD and the Active Suspension but fortunately does not have the Sport Pkg (don't like the seats, wife has them in her Stelvio TI and I just don't fit well). The car and the other mods except for the spoiler, the door sills and the mirror covers will be about $35,000.00 in total. I'll be replacing my 20 year old SL500 if/when I pull the trigger.
That is a rare combination. Does it have the Lusso interior?
 

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@Tom&RobsAlfas , very similar to our 18Ti Q4 Lusso. In July of 17, we arranged for an extended test drive of a Giulia Ti with sport everything. Of course at first the seats felt great, but after about 30 minutes, we didn’t like them. Drove back to the Dealership and got in a Lusso. 3 hours later we were sold. Ordered an 18 Lusso with all the sport options, except the seats. Euro compulsion tune, cat back exhaust, Centerline seat track spacers, etc. Miles of smiles.
 

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@Tom&RobsAlfas , very similar to our 18Ti Q4 Lusso. In July of 17, we arranged for an extended test drive of a Giulia Ti with sport everything. Of course at first the seats felt great, but after about 30 minutes, we didn’t like them. Drove back to the Dealership and got in a Lusso. 3 hours later we were sold. Ordered an 18 Lusso with all the sport options, except the seats. Euro compulsion tune, cat back exhaust, Centerline seat track spacers, etc. Miles of smiles.
Noticed something really interesting the other day at the dealer. Was goofing around the showroom while they did a CEL check on her Stelvio and I sat in a '22 Veloce with the Sport package. Surprisingly enough it felt very good, so good in fact that I went out to service an got my wife to come sit in the car too. Even she commented that they felt 'bigger' or 'wider' than the ones in her Stelvio. Wonder if they really are... Sure felt bigger to me...
 
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