Sime Darby Auto Italian launched the Alfa Romeo Giulietta at its Jalan Ipoh showroom yesterday evening. The Italian five-door hatchback is only available as a 1.4 TB MultiAir for now.

SDAI says that the range topping QV (Quadrifoglio Verde) model with Alfa’s 235 PS “1750 TBi” engine is coming soon, with a six-speed manual gearbox. Mmmm…

Sweet as that Cloverleaf may sound to enthusiasts, let’s focus on what we have for now, which is not bad at all. The MultiAir engine is of the downsized variety, displacing just 1,368 cc. But with turbocharging and Fiat’s patented MultiAir system (electro-hydraulic variable valve actuation tech, controls air intake without a throttle valve), it makes at a respectable 170 PS and 250 Nm of torque.

Paired to a six-speed TCT gearbox (twin-clutch, Selespeed finally retired), the Giulietta 1.4 TB MultiAir does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 7.7 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 218 km/h. Claimed combined fuel consumption is 5.2 litres per 100 km.

As with most modern European cars, Start-Stop is standard, but can be switched off. Also included is Alfa’s DNA selector, which gives the driver three driving modes – Dynamic, Normal and All-Weather. The DNA switch is placed in front of the gear selector. Boot space is still a decent 350 litres.

Riding on Fiat Group’s all-new Compact platform (the Dodge Dart and just unveiled Fiat Viaggio are the other beneficiaries), the Giulietta’s suspension consists of front MacPherson struts and rear multi-links.

Apparently, with aluminium wishbones at the back, Alfa managed to shave 10 kg compared to a conventional multi-link setup. Using the same metal up front saved four kilos.

There’s an army of safety systems at work. In addition to six airbags, it has VDC (Alfa’s name for ESP), ABS, EBD, HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist), MSR (Modular System Regulator), CBC (Control Brake Cornering System), Hill Holder Control, ASR (Anti Slip Regulator), DST (Dynamic Steering Torque System) and TTC (Torque Transfer Control System). Alfa’s electronic Q2 electronic diff works on the front axle.

Standard kit includes bi-xenons with AFS function, dual-zone climate control, sound system with MP3/USB/Bluetooth and Blue&Me, steering radio and phone controls, leather, LED DRLs and 17-inch alloys. Three colours are available – Ghiaccio White, Alfa Red and Black.

The Giulietta is priced at RM178,888 excluding road tax and insurance. Click here to view a nice promo video. By the way, the lovely classic you see in the gallery is the Giulia Sprint from the 1960s.