Ask almost anyone what the go-to midsize sedan from Audi and BMW is, and you’ll promptly get “A4 and 3-Series” in return.
Both are popular choices in the new and used South African car market, and both are known for their luxury and perceived quality – thanks to their German roots.
So, who would have guessed then that BMW and Audi have been usurped in the overall cost of ownership stakes – as calculated by the AA and Malcolm Kinsey – by the Italian Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Silently racking up various awards around the world since its launch in 2016, the Giulia has just dispelled the myth in South Africa that this Alfa is expensive to own and to maintain in the longer term.
In the 30th instalment of The Kinsey Report, the striking Italian car comprehensively tied up all three categories of the Executive Saloon class – beating models from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota.
Of the competitors evaluated, the Alfa had the most affordable servicing and repair costs and the cheapest parts basket.
Rounding it off, the Giulia also has the most inexpensive parts basket cost as a percentage of the purchase price – beating its closest rival by more than R40,000.
The parts baskets – evaluated on a like-for-like basis – are made up of the most common serviceable or replacement parts.
These include brakes, air filters, spark plugs, and oil filters – along with the most common accident replacement items like body panels and windscreens.
Servicing the car
Maintaining a car outside of a service plan is an often overlooked expense when you buy a vehicle, especially in the second-hand market.
However, it’s becoming an increasingly important consideration for buyers – with finance periods of up to 70 months now on offer.
So when the service plan is up and you are still paying off your car, service and repair costs are inevitable.
On modern sedans from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi it’s not uncommon to see a bill of more than R4,000 per brake disc or R5,000 for a shock absorber, according to the Kinsey Report.
The Alfa, perhaps due to its slightly less complicated technology, has managed to keep costs to manageable levels.
Shock absorbers and brake discs are priced at under R2,000. Critically, replacement bodywork, windscreens, and light assemblies are also significantly cheaper.
Furthermore, the Alfa Romeo Giulia starts at R620,000 in South Africa – making it a fair bit cheaper than its German rivals.
It features a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine – which produces 147kW – and an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
A high level of infotainment and gadgetry come standard, as does a premium maintenance plan for three years or 100,000km – with the option to extend it up to six years.
Having won titles around the globe for safety, handling, and styling, the Giulia is still a relative unknown in the executive car segment in South Africa.
This may be set to change.