Today at Balocco saw the unveiling to and testing by the international press of the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA, including in its “extreme” GTAm configuration. It brings back one of the legends of motoring and a milestone of the brand’s history: the 1965 Giulia GTA. It is therefore an authentic return to the roots of the brand established 111 years ago, those of the worlds of performance and touring. A model is brought to life that epitomizes Alfa Romeo’s unique ability to combine style and sportsmanship. The only possible location for its official debut could be the former Autodelta workshops at the Balocco Proving Ground (Vercelli province), the site of the 1960s creation of the Giulia Sprint GTA, one of the most successful cars in Alfa Romeo’s history. This evocative venue – built 60 years ago, with a surface area of 6 km2, 27 different circuits, a total of 80 km – is the home of the development and testing of all Alfa Romeo cars. It was right here that journalists tested out the new Alfa Romeo supercar, later to appreciate its road-going qualities on a panoramic off-track route from the countryside of Vercelli province to the Ivrea moraine and the Lago di Viverone in the foothills of the Alps.
Giulia GTA – The model in brief
The Giulia GTA is instantly recognizable courtesy of an exclusive characterization that is both aesthetic and functional, confirming it is not an exercise in style but instead a high-performance vehicle derived from a mass-produced car, the exceptional Giulia Quadrifoglio. With the widespread use of ultralight materials, the Giulia GTA’s weight is reduced by up to 100 kg compared to the Giulia Quadrifoglio, and is powered by an upgraded version of the 540-hp Alfa Romeo 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo engine with a best-in-class weight-to-power ratio of 187 hp/L. It also delivers extraordinary performance, in terms of both its lap times on the track and its acceleration. With the Launch Mode system, it goes from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds.
Alfa Romeo engineers have worked to improve its aerodynamics and handling, but above all to reduce the weight, following the same guidelines as for the 1965 Giulia GTA. To achieve these objectives, widespread use has been made of components in 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 synergy with Sauber Engineering. They were entrusted with the aerodynamic appendages, 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 by up to 40 mm on the GTAm. Other features developed include the Akrapovič central exhaust system in titanium, built into the rear diffuser in carbon fiber, and the 20-inch wheel rims with single locking nut, seen for the first time in a sedan, paired with specially selected Pilot Sport Cup 2 Michelin tires. The aerodynamic research in the wind tunnel was not limited to the aerodynamic appendages, it 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 the most intense aerodynamic configuration mounts triple the increase compared to the Giulia Quadrifoglio, previously the benchmark in its class.
Handling has been improved by widening the Quadrifoglio’s front wheel tracks by 25 mm and their rear counterparts 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.
Last but not least, in terms of performance, the Alfa Romeo 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo engine, made entirely of aluminum and capable of unleashing no less than 510 hp on the Giulia Quadrifoglio, reaches an output of 540 hp in the Giulia GTA, courtesy of the meticulous development and calibration work of the Alfa Romeo engineers, who revisited the piston cooling flow and the design of the rods. The air circulation in the engine cooling and transmission circuits has also been increased.
For such an exclusive model, the brand has created a wide range of customizations aimed at a unique purchase experience for this supercar, including an experience package with a Bell helmet in special GTA livery that can be customized with the serial number, a specific Goodwool car cover, and dedicated services. The GTAm will also come with full Alpinestars racing apparel. In Italy, the Giulia GTA and GTAm experience is priced at €175,000 and €180,000 respectively (22% VAT included).
A unique, functional design that transcends time
The specificities that have always marked out an Alfa Romeo creation definitely include design unique in the world for its basis in the skillful combination of form and function. Indeed, the car’s style must correspond to an overarching tenet of beauty, to transcend the passing of time, while maintaining functionality to the advantage of aerodynamic and mechanical efficiency. This maxim is epitomized in the Giulia GTA, where specific processes on both the bodywork and interior are aimed at magnifying the bold spirit of the Quadrifoglio version, on which it is based.
The bodywork features a powerful front that expresses all the power unleashed by the engine, with new, larger air intakes and technical elements in carbon fiber, giving a specific and precise role and position to the aesthetics. Even the iconic “Trilobo” is made extreme without leaving behind its DNA; reminiscent of the early days of F1 are the slots that edge the badge, aimed at optimizing cooling, which have also become typical Alfa Romeo features. In the lower part, the active splitter has been redesigned. Once only found on the Giulia Quadrifoglio, it has now been made even larger on the GTAm, and can now be adjusted lengthways by 40 mm to ensure a perfect balance with the rear. In the rear, especially on the GTAm, pride of place goes to the large spoiler. With its aerodynamic profile and 4-position adjustment (low-high drag) of the central section, the car is also perfectly aerodynamically balanced here.
On the sides, the carbon fiber side skirts, broadened front fender and the clearly visible carbon fiber on the rear wheel arches accentuate the car’s “size impression”, with an image of power and dynamism. The new 20-inch rims with single locking nuts have been specially designed to best combine style and lightness, therefore ensuring the best possible overall handling of the car. A typical solution among F1 single-seaters, it is unique in the road-going sedans on the market.
We now move on to the interior, clearly inspired by the competitive arena. The standouts include full Alcantara® upholstery on the dashboard, door panels, glove compartment, side pillars, and the central trim on the seats. This prized material provides the driver with the right grip and reduces the commonly seen reflections from the dashboard and other plastic components. Alcantara® is used even more extensively in the GTAm version, where the rear seats have been removed, leaving room for a fully upholstered “basin”, hosting specific moldings deigned to hold helmets and a fire extinguisher. The new matt carbon-fiber inserts endow the interior with a distinctive technical and aesthetic elegance. In the new GTAm, the interior differs slightly in that it features a roll bar, no rear door panels, and the front doors are opened with “pull loops” instead of a handle, in the same colors as the 6-point SABELT seat belts, another touch typically inspired by the racing world.
Excellent weight-to-power ratio
But power on its own is not enough to ensure extraordinary performance. The work done with a view to reducing the vehicle weight has been meticulous, and it has reaped particularly impressive results: the total weight is reduced by up to 100 kg, given the adoption of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber in the front bumpers and fenders, and in the front wheel arches; and the specific monocoque sports seats in carbon fiber: changes on top of the components already included in the Giulia Quadrifoglio, such as the roof, bonnet and crankshaft. The use of aluminum is widespread in the engine, doors, suspension and various composite materials in many other components: on the GTAm, a polycarbonate has been used in the side and rear window frames, further contributing to the weight reduction. The combination of a lighter weight and the increase in output to 540 hp results in extraordinary performance. Courtesy of the Launch Mode system, it only takes 3.6 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. Different from the GTA, the Giulia GTAm offers a two-seater configuration with rear roll bar, yet is still type-approved for on-road use. In the GTA trim, with the same output, the Giulia offers 5 seats: a true supercar also suitable for the whole family.
F1 aerodynamics, provided by the invaluable know-how of Sauber Engineering
One factor from which Alfa Romeo technicians have been able to benefit is aerodynamics, guaranteed by the expertise and facilities of Sauber Engineering. With its 50 years of experience in motorsport – 27 of which in F1, the Swiss firm has accrued in-depth expertise in aerodynamics, partly down to its very own wind tunnel, one of the most advanced in Europe. The Sauber team played an active role in the design, prototyping and manufacturing of the aerodynamic components of the new Giulia GTA. Courtesy of the manually adjustable front splitter and rear aerowing, the Giulia GTAm can adapt its aerodynamic performance to any kind of track, precisely following the requests and preferences of its driver. 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, the Giulia GTAm is able to develop double the pressure compared to the Giulia GTA, and a triple increase compared to the Giulia Quadrifoglio, a highly significant figure that testifies to the great work done by the Alfa Romeo and Sauber technicians. Taking part in this work were two drivers from the F1 team, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen, who played an active role in some track testing sessions, during which they provided invaluable indications, especially on the car’s aerodynamic components and handling.
Even so, the pleasure of owning a car like the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA lies not only in its exceptional performance, but also in its exclusivity. Alfa Romeo has therefore set up an exclusive, dedicated purchase process, involving direct customer relations with a Brand Ambassador. The exclusivity is also accentuated by an experience package, including Bell helmet in special GTA livery with a dedicated serial number, a specific body-color Goodwool car cover – customizable on request, and exclusive after-sales services. The GTAm will also come with full Alpinestars racing apparel. A sophisticated range of customizations is also available, aimed at a unique purchase experience for this supercar. The starting point is the liveries produced directly by the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, recalling history and bringing out the best of Alfa Romeo’s victories and iconography: the front, characterized by the historic white or pastel brown “mask”, is undoubtedly the first element of distinction that – combined with the longitudinal stripes on the roof and tailgate, as well as iconic elements of the Alfa Romeo logo such as the Cross and Biscione on the bonnet – immediately brings the heart and mind to racing. Individual customers can also request one of the liveries on offer, including one version featuring the Italian flag, another with Lipari Brown paintwork, let alone further options to select at will the number emblazoned on the side door. Once the customized liveries are gone, the Giulia GTA and GTAm will come in Etna Red, Trophy White and 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.
GTA and Autodelta, a pairing packed with history and sporting successes
The initials GTA stands for “Gran Turismo Alleggerita” (“Gran Turismo Lite”), invented in 1965 for the Giulia Sprint GTA, a specific version derived from the Sprint GT, set up for sports type-approval and unveiled at the Amsterdam Motor Show that year. The bodywork of the Giulia Sprint GT was replaced with an identical aluminum body, with a total weight of 745 kg compared to the 950 kg of the road-going version. A second variation concerned the 1570-cc twin cam engine which, in its road-going configuration with dual ignition, reached an impressive output of 115 hp. The technicians of Autodelta, the first guise of Alfa Romeo’s official “Racing Department”, chose it as the benchmark vehicle for the Touring category, and developed it to achieve a maximum output of 170 hp. Success in competitions came very soon after: three consecutive “Challenge Europeo Marche”, dozens of national championships and hundreds of single races all over the world. The return of image to the line-up also made its mark: indeed, the Giulia Sprint GTA epitomized the claim “a victory a day in your everyday car”. Since then, the GTA has become part of the collective unconscious, as an undisputed icon of Biscione sportsmanship, the power of its initials ending up persuading the public to identify Alfa Romeo sports cars in general simply by “GTA”. A final word should go to the fact that, just like the GTA initials, the name “Autodelta” is similarly as iconic, the eponymous workshop located at the Balocco Proving Ground being the custodian of its cherished legacy.
Contributions from outstanding partners
Alfa Romeo has made use of the skills and partnership of outstanding partners such as Michelin, Bosch and Alcantara. A brief description of their invaluable contributions is provided below.
Michelin, the right grip for extreme performances
The new Pilot Sport Cup 2 CONNECT allows the Giulia GTA to push the limits of grip, supporting its extreme performances. Architectural innovations in this tire, such as the two-compound tread – stiffer material on the inside, more flexible on the outside – and the wavy summit technology provides a stiffness improvement in the tread, offering more steering precision which greatly contributes to the driving pleasure and perfect control of the vehicle in all speed conditions.
Bosch, safety and performance control for the new Giulia GTAm
Bosch powers the Giulia GTAm with two engine control modules. The two control units, one per bank, can be controlled individually; one bank can be disabled if necessary according to the torque required, with significant reductions in consumption and emissions. The Bosch modules also control the high- and low- pressure direct injection system in the sleeve.
In this project, Bosch and Alfa Romeo engineers also worked hand-in-hand on acceleration control functions and new mappings for turbo compression supercharging.
Finally, the Bosch electric power steering with belt transmission regulates the steering of the vehicle, ensuring excellent precision in the choice of trajectories, greater safety in the event of a fault and a reduction in emissions and consumption compared to conventional hydraulic power steering.
Alcantara, Made in Italy style and functionality
The interior of the Alfa Romeo GTA feature plain Alcantara® plain in anthracite grey and black, a unique material that succeeds in combining the rationale of both aesthetics and functionality.
Pleasant to the touch, distinctive and elegant, from a practical point of view Alcantara is resistant to wear and breathable, yet adheres to the driver’s body, to offer just the right grip to avoid excessive shaking at high speeds. Its use on the dashboard – with its non-reflective properties – stops annoying reflections from disturbing the driver.
Plus, the lightness of the material, paired with carbon fiber, results in a significant overall decrease in the weight of the car compared to other materials, to the benefit of the car’s overall performance. Alcantara is therefore used even more extensively on the GTAm, where the removal of the rear seats leaves room for specific compartments for helmets and a fire extinguisher, which are also upholstered in Alcantara. Contrasting body-color stitching and the embroidered GTA logo in Alfa Romeo red accentuate the car’s racing spirit.
Last but not least, like Alfa Romeo, Alcantara is a Made in Italy brand, meaning it can create products using advanced technologies, while maintaining the attention to detail typical of craftsmanship – one of the trump cards of its work.