They got back to me pretty quickly. Here’s the full text of the response. (Note that the bad unicode characters were in the original - I could have fixed them but I thought it was more in keeping with the ownership experience of Italian cars to retain them.)
Thank you for contacting the Alfa Romeo Customer Assistance Center.
It is wonderful to hear you are such an enthusiast of Alfa’s. I know it
is disappointing to not have a manual shift in this wonderful vehicle.
We are very proud of what this new QF offers.
The performance of today?s automatic transmissions has never been
better. The new record-setting N?rburgring lap time of 7:32 was set with
the automatic transmission. Giulia features an all-new eight-speed
automatic transmission, with available all-aluminum column-mounted
paddle shifters, and is designed for enthusiasts with gear shifts in
less than 100 milliseconds.
The eight-speed automatic transmission?s shift-by-wire improves safety
and comfort, while the integrated transmission control unit allows to
shift faster and more precisely than a professional driver (less than
100 milliseconds to initiate a downshift when increased acceleration is
desired) and enables nested multiple downshifts (such as 8th gear to 2nd
gear) thanks to the most modern adaptive shift strategies.
By virtue of this document, your opinion has been and will be noted by
Thank you again for your email. Should you require additional
assistance, please reply to this email message or call 1-844-ALFA-USA