It’s been over a year since the Alfa Romeo brand first unveiled its Giulia GTA lightweight high-performance sedan. On Wednesday, the Italian brand official unveiled the car to the international press at the Balocco Proving Grounds in Balocco, Italy. It marks the first time that the GTA nameplate has returned to the lineup since the 1960s.
It’s first important to get to know the story behind the GTA nameplate. In 1965, Alfa Romeo launched the Giulia Sprint GTA, a high-performance version of the Sprint GT. The body of the Giulia Sprint GT was replaced with a replica body made from aluminum, which cut the weight of the car from 2,094 lbs. to 1,642 lbs., a total of 452 lbs. Alfa Romeo engineers equipped the car with the second variation of its 1.6-liter twin-cam engine. Autodelta (the official name for the Alfa Romeo racing team at the time) was able to get a whopping 170 horsepower out of the little engine (55 horsepower more than the road car version). The team entered the car over the next several years in multiple races and Touring car champions, where it won three consecutive “Challenge Europeo Marche”, tens of national championships, and hundreds of individual races in every part of the world.
Using similar perimeters as the original, the new Giulia GTA and GTAm use components made from carbon fiber and composite materials. The aerodynamics have been specially designed to increase downforce. These solutions embody technical expertise that comes straight from Formula 1, courtesy of the brand’s synergy with Sauber Engineering.
Sauber Engineering was entrusted with the aerodynamic appendages including the new rear spoiler (adjustable to 4 positions in the GTAm), and the active front splitter, which can be extended for use on the track (up to 40 mm) on the GTAm. Other features developed include the titanium Akrapovič central exhaust system, built into the carbon fiber rear diffuser, and the 20-inch wheels featuring a single locking nut (offered for the first time in a sedan), wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
The aerodynamic research in the wind tunnel was not limited to the aerodynamic enhancements but was also focused on the specially developed fully-faired underbody. The GTA and GTAm also benefit from a special new air extractor capable of increasing the car’s ground effect, thus guaranteeing excellent road holding at high speeds. More specifically, on the Giulia GTAm, a more aerodynamic body kit configuration triples the downforce of the Giulia GTAm over the standard Giulia Quadrifoglio.
Handling has been improved by widening the Quadrifoglio’s front track by 25 mm and their rear by 50 mm, and by developing a specific suspension setup for the suspension systems (the front with two oscillating arms, the rear using independent multilink springs). The specific setup of the suspension and steering ensures higher cut-in and cornering speed and improvements in stability with no impact on comfort on all surfaces.
Under the hood, the aluminum 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 returns and gets a 30 horsepower boost to 540 horsepower for GTA duty. Alfa Romeo engineers also worked with Akrapovič (maker of the new titanium exhaust) to give the GTA its own distinctive sound. With a weight reduction of 221 pounds (100 kilograms) compared to the standard Giulia Quadrifoglio and the horsepower boost from its tuned motor, the GTA can hit 62 mph (or 100 kph) in just 3.6-seconds.
Inside the car, several new details stand out at you. The first is the trim of the dashboard, door panels, glove compartment, side pillars, and the central trim on the seats are done in 100% Alcantara®. If you jump into a more track-oriented GTAm, Alcantara is used more extensively. Taken a note from the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the GTAm rear moves the rear bench seat, leaving room for a fully Alcantara upholstered “basin” which is made to hold your racing helmet and a fire extinguisher. The new matte carbon inserts endow the interior with a distinctive technical and aesthetic elegance. In the new GTAm, the interior is unique in that it features a roll bar, no door panels or rear seats, and the door is opened with a belt in place of the handle, another touch that comes from the racing world.
Alfa Romeo will also release a limited number of special liveries produced directly by the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, recalling history and bringing out the best of Alfa Romeo’s victories and iconography. Once the customized liveries are gone, the Giulia GTA and GTAm will come in either Etna Red, Trophy White, or Montreal Green, a color palette that pays tribute to the Italian flag. Another layer of customization lies in the selection of a color for the brake calipers – including the brand-new gold; and in the interior, the roll bar, seat belts, and stitching.
Being a limited edition model, Alfa Romeo has created a wide range of customizations aimed to make the GTA and GTA a unique purchase experience for the owner. This includes a Bell racing helmet with a special GTA livery that can be customized with the serial number, a specific Goodwool car cover, and dedicated customer services. The more aggressive GTAm model will also come with a full Alpinestar line of racing appeal. For the Italian market, the Giulia GTA will start at €175,000 (or about $211,335 USD), while the GTAm will start at €180,000 (or about $217,372 USD). Both prices include 22% value-added tax (VAT).
So what do you think of the new Alfa Romeo GTA & GTAm? Is this the last hurrah of the current Alfa Romeo brand, before the next generation of electrification? Leave your comments below or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.
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