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

Corporate.

Thank you again for your email. Should you require additional

assistance, please reply to this email message or call 1-844-ALFA-USA

(1-844-253-2872).