The irritation stems from a raft of superficially minor issues that still contrive to diminish your enjoyment of the car.
You can’t turn off the stability systems, there’s no such thing as the correct wiper speed in light rain, the hazard lights trigger much too soon under moderate to heavy braking, the temperature in the car at times sometimes seemed to be at significant variance to that displayed on the screen and the sat-nav screen is decidedly low rent compared to what is now found in its BMW and Mercedes rivals.
The wheels won’t have completed their first revolution before you notice the ride quality.
It is eerily good for this kind of car and not just on smooth Italian roads.
Out there in the real world where cars are lived with as well as driven, this stuff matters.
However, it shouldn’t be allowed to cloud the fundamental fact that this not only the most competitive Alfa Romeo saloon since the last Giulia was launched more than half a century ago but, crucially for anyone with Alfisti blood lurking in their veins, the most likeable, too.
This period of absence also saw Jaguar dip its toe in the market and shake up the top order with the dynamic XE, while other manufacturers have pushed to join this table chiefly in the shape of Volkswagen and Ford, but the lack of Italian flair was becoming ever more noticeable.
Initially the Giulia is quite annoying, progressing upon further acquaintance to really rather encouraging.
Upgrade to Super and 17in alloys, aluminium door sills and part leather seats are included alongside an uprated infotainment system with a larger 8.8in display and sat nav, while opting for the Speciale adds numerous luxuries to the package.
These include 18in alloy wheels shod in run flat tyres, bi-xenon headlights, electrically adjustable and heated front sports seats, a heated steering wheel, electrically folding door mirrors and a sporty bodykit.
The engine is noisy at idle and under full load, but otherwise quiet, quieter for sure than equivalents found in the C-Class and Jaguar XE, but probably still behind BMW and Audi.
The instruments in their classically hooded binnacles are clear, though not that attractive.
The long awaited return of Alfa Romeo to the saloon segment has finally come, as has the use of the Guilia name.