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Alfa Romeo's twin-clutch transmission, first made available in the MiTo earlier this year, is now also available in the Giulietta. The new transmission is teamed with MultiAir engines that have an idle stop as standard - so the MiTo and the Giulietta are the first vehicles in the SA market to have all three.
The transmission works in either full automatic or sequential mode, as required. The driver can manually change the gears either up or down with the paddle shifts on the steering column or the gearshift.
It's a standard double-clutch system with, effectively, two gearboxes in parallel, one for even-numbered gears and one for odd, each with its own clutch. That allows the next gear to be selected while the previous one is still engaged, which makes for very, very fast gear-changes by simply disengaging and engaging the relative clutches.
Since there's no fluid-drive torque converter, fuel consumption is about 10 percent better than with a conventional auto transmission, and the system lends itself to idle-stop technology, with which not all torque-converter setups are compatible.
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The Giulietta TCT Distinctive has a 125kW, 1.4 Turbo MultiAir engine that takes, according to Fiat Auto SA, from 0-100km/h in just 7.7 seconds - 0.1sec faster than the manual version - and on to a claimed 218km/h flat out.
Fiat also says fuel consumption over a combined cycle has been reduced from 5.8 litres per 100km on the manual to 5.2, while CO2 emissions are down from 134g/km to 121.
Standard kit on the Giulietta Distinctive TCT includes Blue&Me connectivity, 17” alloy rims, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather steering wheel with multimedia controls, paddle shifters, trip computer, front armrest with storage compartment, foglights, reconfigurable control panel, a stylish chromed insert (chrome line) framing the side windows.
The standard-issue dashboard insert is painted grey, but you can ask for white, red or polished aluminium.
Options include y Port for the Blue&Me-TomTom system, which intgrates a portable TomTom satnav with the car's systems via Bluetooth wireless connectivity, using a custom-designed dashboard mount.
Giulietta 1.4 Turbo Multiair Distinctive TCT - R315 000
With the advent of the twin-clutch transmission the Giulietta range now comprises four models: the Progression, Distinctive, Distinctive TCT and Quadrifoglio Verde, each of which comes with a five-year or 150 000km warranty, and a six-year or 90 000km service plan with service intervals of 30 000km on the 1.4-litre Turbo models.