It is the cover car of the moment for enthusiast publications across the country. And the introduction of the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio deserves the notice. With it Fiat Chrysler Automobiles marks the real return of Alfa Romeo sales and service to the North American market. Alfa's two-seater – the 4C – preceded it, but the target market for those coupes and roadsters could be fitted into a commuter jet. The new Giulia is aimed at the midsize sport sedan audience currently occupied by the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4. The sales potential is huge and historically underserved by Italian brands.

While the Giulia Quadrifoglio, with its 505 horsepower and track-ready suspension gets the ink, we think it's the more pedestrian Giulia sedan that's deserving your attention. And by pedestrian we don't mean prosaic; the Giulia is an exciting sedan built atop a competent platform and propelled by a responsive turbocharged drivetrain. With a base price in real-wheel-drive form (all-wheel drive is optional) of under $40,000, the Giulia is accessible in a way the $72,000 Quadrifoglio is not.

Alfa Romeo GiuliaOn Alfa's Build Your Own site we studied the options, selecting an upgrade with Alfa's Giulia Ti. It constitutes a $2,000-bump over the Giulia's $38,000 base, and gives you 18-inch alloy wheels (vs. the 17-inchers on the standard Giulia). The Ti also provides dark gray oak interior accents and the availability of both Sport and Lusso (luxury) appearance packages.

Other adds included the Vesuvio Gray exterior ($600), additional leather interior trim ($995), the Ti Performance package ($1,200) and the Ti 18-inch Sport Package ($1,750). The Sport package adds more aggressive alloy wheels, paddle shifters, and aluminum pedals, while Performance supplied the active suspension and limited slip differential. The end result is a net price of $45,535 including applied offers.

We think we'd lease it. In talking with an Alfa dealer in suburban Washington, an advertised lease special on a $44,000-Giulia resulted in 39 payments at just over $500 per month, with roughly $7,500 out of pocket and a residual value of $21,239. At the end of that 39 months you have the option of returning the car to FCA or buying it for the residual. We think the Giulia, with an MSRP of between $40,000 and $50,000, is a screaming deal. And to buy your own 'used' car at the end of three years for $21,000? That's a crazy good deal.

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