Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Like TV’s Bachelor, I had never believed in love at first sight. And maybe I still don’t, but I can confirm that lust at first sight is easy, and then with familiarity love can follow.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is perhaps the best looking four door car that has ever been built (to my eyes, yes) but then driving it you realise it is much more than just a pretty face as many Alfas have been in the past. It’s combination of speed and capability is amazing, and technically it may not be as competent as many of its major rivals, but none of the others do it with so much style and excitement.
Any run to 100km/h in less than five second is fast, and the Giulia QV will do that in a claimed 3.9 seconds which is hard to refute after a few quick runs. To do it with the sound of feel of a racing car is what makes the fast run special.
So, if you don’t have time to read on, this car is something special. Very special. If you want a very fast four door car and you have $150,000 to spend, forget the Germans and head to an Alfa dealer. Does anyone have some spare cash for me?
This car is all about the Quadrifoglio, the little four leaf clover on the front flanks. This symbol dates back to 1923 on Alfa Romeos and started life as a good luck charm and evolved into the symbol and its use came to signal the very fastest Alfa Romeo cars… and its placement something Ferrari copied horse later with the prancing when it set out to beat Alfa on the track.
The Quadrifoglio deserves its place on this car.
Alfa Romeo set out to do something special with the QV, so it took an already stunning car and gave it a few tweaks, some of which you can’t see but has a massive impact. One hidden treat is the use of carbon-fibre for the bonnet, roof and rear spoiler. They contribute to an overall drop in weight with the bonus of reducing the risk of damage in hail storms!
The front splitter sitting below the bumper is in naked carbon-fibre so you can see the beautiful weave of the material. The splitter moves lower higher speeds which adds to stability and gives the driver more control. It is subtle, but shows the attention to detail that Alfa has been willing to go.
Overall with all the weight savings, the QV tips the scales at 1585kg, which is similar to a BMW M3 and heaps less than the equivalent Benz or Audi.
The wheels are huge 19 inch numbers, 245 wide at the front and a massive 285 at the rear, which is all needed to control the power. 375kW is claimed from an engine that creates aural sex. The sound is staggering, you just want to drop a gear or two and go. It crackles and pops and then pushes the Alfa to 100km/h in less than four seconds, which is bloody quick.
The cabin is purposeful, functional and beautiful again. The seats are light weight and that means no niceties like heaters and cooler, but they grip and are great on long runs as well as short bursts. The rear seats are only for two and strangely for a small car there is plenty of leg room.
The centre console houses all the gadgets, specifically the button for Alfa DNA, which is Alfa’s chassis control system. Not that anything is lazy or leisurely in this car, but let’s start from the easy going point of view. A is effectively All Weather mode, so traction control is at its most alert, the gear changes are slowed and the shock absorbers are as soft as they will ever be in a focussed vehicle. D is for Dynamic, and everything is on edge, the engine screams a little louder and everything is sharper and designed to get you there faster. N is in between.
But then there is a button in the middle – Race. And this button does everything you’d expect, and I wish I had the time to fully explore on a track.
As for everything else inside, great. But honestly, I didn’t car about the infotainment system, SatNav or whatever… I just wanted to drive.
Which is what I did. It is no wonder the QV is winning awards for its performance credentials. The manic roar from the engine is matched with a seductive chassis that rewards the right input in a way that sedans should not.
It is constantly urging for more. The balance of the car is spot on, it will have a little understeer heading a tight bend, but no dramas, sort that out with all the power on tap. It is easy to engage the traction control in the tight ones given how much is there, but you still have to apply the power gently. If you are ham fisted and have too heavy a shoe, this car will bite, if you can gently caress it will reward like few others.
Take on the high speed corners and it sits flat and goes where it is pointed – quickly and without drama.
The front end is double wishbone suspension, which needs a little introduction. To me, serious cars do not use the venerable MacPherson strut which is a cost saving measure but not a performance focus. The double wishbone set-up allows for greater control of the front end, and yes you can get close with a strut, but you will never quite get there. The added bonus is the turning circle which is much better than by strut.
So Australia is a little different to Italy and Europe. Despite what our governments tell you, our roads are very ordinary. Potholes, undulations, poor camber and generally just poorly maintained roads have highlighted to flaws in many a fast car, especially those with stiff suspension. The Alfa handle all that was thrown as it and did so without drama. It holds its line soaking up the irregularities, but this is where chassis control systems come into their own.
Heading to some poor conditions, soften it out a bit and back off a fraction and all the dramas just disappear.
There was not a minute in this car I didn’t enjoy, and I found plenty of ways to head out for a drive. Milk? Yes, off I go. Football final in Gisborne? Sure…
It is hard for me not to talk about my lust and love of this vehicle. I knew I was going to like it, I just didn’t know how much I was going to like it.
I have started saving.
Giulia – the entry point at a humble $60k
Giulia Super – in petrol or diesel and starting at $65k with more equipment
Giulia Veloce – 2.0L turbo with more than 200kW and fast for $72k, just not as fast as…
Giulia Quadrifoglio – our test car and a serious weapon at any price. $150k is a bit eye watering, but worth every cent.
BMW M3 – A little clinical but still wow
Mercedes-AMG C63 S – Big on power and noise
Audi RS4 – Quatro is an ace, but wagon is tough
Jaguar XE 35t S – Cheaper and not as fast, but beautiful also