The 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA is a pretty, powerful, and pretty powerful challenge to the mightiest from BMW M and Mercedes-AMG. Based on the Giulia Quadrifoglio, which even in its regular 505-hp form stands on its own against the 444-hp BMW M3 and 503-hp Mercedes-AMG C63 S, the GTA is an even more horsepower-stuffed helping of sport-sedan braciole. And it’s a much more aerodynamically performative Giulia, with an even meatier wrapping of spoilers, wings, and flares. Hungry yet? Alfa Romeo‘s latest Italian sports sedan dish is on special, so act soon—only 500 GTAs will be built.
What Is a GTA?
Even casual automotive observers are likely well aware of the industry’s many “GT_” names. There is Volkswagen‘s GTI, Porsche‘s GTS, and Pontiac’s GTO. They’re likely less aware of GTA, though. So, what does GTA stand for? “Gran Turismo Alleggerita,” which is not, in fact, a fancy allergy medicine. It means “lightened Gran Turismo,” and the GTA name was used in 1965 for a lightweight Giulia GTA based on the Giulia Sprint GT model. Applied to today’s Giulia, the GTA name carries the same implications: The 2021 Giulia GTA is said to be 220 pounds lighter than the Giulia Quadrifoglio. That is quite a lot of lasagna taken out of the already-relatively-lightweight Giulia.
Cheesy Italian references aside, Alfa Romeo’s engineers employed some serious material upgrades and hardcore strategies toward the GTA’s diet. The driveshaft was swapped out for a carbon-fiber unit, while-as is available on the Quadrifoglio-the hood is made from the same material. The front fenders, front bumper, and rear fender extensions also are made of carbon fiber. Aluminum is used in unspecified locations throughout the GTA, including in the engine (which, as it is in the Giulia Quadrifoglio, is all-aluminum), and Alfa even uses Lexan, a lightweight plastic, in place of side and rear window glass.
Alfa will create two versions of the GTA: The standard GTA, and the hardcore GTAm. The GTAm has only two seats—the fronts, which are carbon-shelled racing units—and a roll bar, Sabelt six-point harnesses, and a more aggressive front splitter and carbon-fiber rear wing. A “fully upholstered basin” where the rear seats are supposed to go has cutouts for holding a fire extinguisher and racing helmets, the door panels are simplified, and there are pull straps instead of handles for opening the doors. Opt for the GTA, and your Giulia will come with four seats, a full interior like that in the Quadrifoglio, no roll bar, and more street-oriented aerodynamic bits. Guess which version is cooler? Yep, the one with two seats, although we aren’t sure if that version would be available to U.S. customers, given its roll bar and six-point harnesses. No additional weight reduction is credited with the two-seater configuration (likely because the roll bar adds some weight back in, leaving it a wash).2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA and GTAm2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio—The Return of the Italian Sport SedanDriving Tesla’s First True Track-Oriented CarWatch This: MotorTrend Attempts Five Lap Records in One DayBehind the Wheel: The BMW 330i Takes on the Alfa Romeo GiuliaScene Lift—Head 2 Head: the Alfa Romeo Giulia vs. Jaguar XE SV Project 8Best Driver’s Car Contender: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q4 QuadrifoglioWatch This: MotorTrend Attempts Five Lap Records in One DayFirst Test: the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EVFirst Test: 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo SFirst Test: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC3002021 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA and GTAm B-Roll
Track-Ready Power and Aerodynamics
Alfa Romeo fortifies its GTAs with power and handling upgrades that maximize the 220-pound diet’s benefits. Beneath the GTA’s bulging bodywork sits the Quadrifoglio’s twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 engine, which is boosted from 505 horsepower to 540 ponies. To ensure you and everyone nearby knows of this upgrade, the GTA sports a titanium Akrapovic exhaust system. It is highly doubtful that this setup is quieter than the Quadrifoglio’s open-baffle arrangement when its “Race” drive mode is selected, and we’re just fine with that. Everyone should hear more of Alfa’s operatic V-6 engine. The GTA’s and GTAm’s extra power and lighter weight push their power-to-weight ratios down to just 6.2 pounds per horsepower, enough to slice the Giulia’s zero-to-60-mph time from 3.8 seconds to a claimed 3.6 seconds.
Aerodynamic upgrades are said to have a direct line from F1’s Sauber Engineering and deliver improved downforce. The so-called Sauber Aerokit includes a special active front splitter, side skirts, and a carbon-fiber diffuser. On the handling side of things, the GTA benefits from 2.0-inch wider front and rear tracks. (Hence the tacked-on fender flares reaching over the 20-inch center-lock wheels at each corner!) Specific springs, dampers, and suspension bushings tailor the chassis behavior to match the GTA’s and GTAm’s horsepower and aero work.
Taken together, all of the Giulia GTA’s and GTAm’s upgrades push Alfa Romeo’s sport sedan well past the already heady performance benchmarks in its class. This is AMG Black Series territory, even though Mercedes-AMG doesn’t offer the current C63 in that configuration. That also means the Alfa Romeo, at its lofty horsepower and performance level, squares up closely with the Jaguar XE Project 8. We doubt that a dearth of competitors will matter to the 500 customers lucky enough to get their hands on one of these Alfas, though. Those customers will be treated not only to the GTA or GTAm of their design, but also a one-on-one purchase experience with a “brand ambassador” who will hold their hand throughout the process. Each new owner also gets an Alpinestars racing suit, gloves, and shoes; GTA-liveried Bell racing helmet; and a personalized Goodwool car cover. Alfa Romeo will even provide coursework at the Alfa Romeo Driving Academy.
The 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA is certified, grade-A badass, then. What is less certain is whether or not Alfa Romeo will make any of the planned 500 units available for sale outside of Europe. Per the automaker, it is “evaluating opportunities to introduce the GTA in other key markets around the world, including the U.S.” Hey, we haven’t eaten lunch yet, but that’s an Italian specialty we’d love to try here.