The folks at Alfa Romeo rekindled America’s fancy two years ago with the supremely sporty but humbly appointed 4C Coupe and Spider before delivering a jaw-dropper just months ago in the Giulia, a bonafide performance sedan with such a finely crafted cabin it earns a 2017 Wards 10 Best Interiors award.

WardsAuto editors raved about the 5-seater’s materials, touchpoints and comfort quotient, as well as an overall interior design combining sportiness with Italian flair and a rethinking of the central infotainment screen.

“Hard to find fault just about anywhere in this vehicle with regard to materials,” says one judge. “Love the matte-finish wood, judicious use of piano black, contrast stitching and the metallic-edge window switches.”

Another judge beams: “The gorgeous wood trim draws the eye like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

The soft-hued, open-pore wood, which was included as part of a Ti Lusso trim package, generously adorns the center console and passenger-side dashboard and frames each of the car’s four door pulls. It also bookends the right side of an 8.8-in. (21.7 cm) widescreen infotainment system uniquely integrated into the center stack.

“This might be a first: The infotainment screen blends neatly into the instrument panel,” a judge observes. “The result is a screen that appears to be integrated into the overall design, rather than slapped in place just because the screen needed important real estate.”

Another judge adds: “Not only is the design groundbreaking, the low-gloss, translucent look of the glass is special.”

VIDEO: INSIDE AWARD-WINNING GIULIA

The lovely Giulia also boasts a flat-bottom, F1-inspired steering wheel with integrated push-button start and sport foot pedals, while its Roman influence is translated through performance seats with cannelloni-like comfort wafers.

The latest iteration of the Alfa Romeo badge, which recalls the brand’s hometown of Milan and the city’s onetime-ruling Visconti dynasty, adorns the steering wheel, driver and passenger head restraints and colorfully greets occupants on the touchscreen.

Behind the infotainment screen lies a wealth of information and connectivity, such as the current driving dynamics employed through the Giulia’s central controller, a La Scala-worthy Harmon Kardon premium audio system and frustration-free access to Bluetooth.

It is worth noting Alfa designed its own infotainment architecture for the Giulia, rather than using FCA’s well-established UConnect platform.

More Italian excitement lies ahead with the coming Stelvio CUV, but the Giulia interior has WardsAuto editors sufficiently smitten for now.

“I’m amoré with fair Giulia,” one star-struck judge declares.

jamend@wardsauto.com