No-brainer updates hatched by Alfa and Audi

Alfa Romeo has facelifted its Giulietta hatchback. Again.

THERE are blink-and-you-miss-it facelifts for two family hatchbacks that between them will satisfy both sides of your brain, writes William Scholes.

In the creative, right-brain side is Alfa Romeo's evergreen Giulietta, which has been with us since 2010. And because car years are measured a little like dog years, that's another way of saying it has been with us for a very, very long time.

The Giulietta's sensational styling still looks as fresh as ever, though, but even that can no longer properly disguise hardware that was in truth already a little off the pace even when the car was first launched.

The latest facelift is on the modest end of the spectrum, with Alfa identifying as highlights a couple of paint options ('Alfa White' and 'Lipari Grey', since you asked), revised seat upholsteries and a new smartphone gizmo that lets you check Twitter on the move, should that appeal to you.

The 120hp diesel engine is now also available with the company's double-clutch automatic gearbox, a combo that really should have been available from the transmission's launch.

Prices for one of the car world's great unfulfilled promises start at £18,450 and stretch to £28,480.

Left-side of the brain logicians will be glad to hear that Audi has seen fit to give its popular A3 the facelift treatment. Despite being a newer car than the Alfa to begin with, the A3 is treated to a more thorough range of updates.

The fabulous 'virtual cockpit', the digital dashboard seen already on the TT and A4, joins the options list, there are new engines, the ability to spec your A3 with Audi's brilliant adaptive LED headlamps and some subtle styling tweaks. There are even five new paint colours to choose from - beat that, Alfa Romeo...

Prices have yet to be announced, but the order books open next month with the first deliveries due in the summer.

Of course, the right-side, left-side brain theory has long been debunked, so which one should you buy? The Audi, of course; but every time you see a Giulietta, you'll regret your choice, even for a split second...


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