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Formidably quick, delicately agile and drop-dead gorgeous, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a car to truly love.

18 Apr 2019



There are certain cars that have become synonymous with its category, helping to define that particular segment. A compact front-engine, front-wheel drive hatchback with a souped up engine? You're immediately thinking of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the car responsible for spawning the hot hatch.

And when you think of a front-engine, rear-wheel drive compact sport sedan, your mind immediately conjures up the image of the BMW M3. Of course, multiple manufacturers have produced cars looking to emerge triumphant in this segment - the other significant player in the segment is the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, but Infinti has its Q50 Red Sport, and Lexus too has its IS F offering.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio looks to take the fight to the German stalwarts in the highly competitive compact performance sedan segment

It is into this highly competitive segment that Alfa Romeo is wading in with its new performance sedan offering - the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. How does it stack up with the big boys?

It's not that new, is it?

Well, yes. This car has already been available in the market for quite awhile, but we've only just had the opportunity to drive this particular high performance variant (we previously drove the Giulia Veloce).

You may already be familiar with some of the headline specifications - 503bhp and 600Nm of torque from the BiTurbo 2.9-litre V6 engine. Yes, the engine is related to Ferrari's own F154 V8 engine, but this particular V6 engine has been engineered specifically for the Giulia (so it's not just 3/4 of a Ferrari engine, so to speak).

The Giulia Quadrifoglio is beautiful no matter which angle you look at it

All that power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. 0-100km/h? 3.9 seconds. Top speed? 307km/h.

So yes, this is a mean machine, capable of frightening speeds. The engine is a sumptuous piece of kit - rev it past 3,500rpm and you are greeted with exhilarating acceleration and a wonderful noise.

The car truly comes alive in second to fourth gear - overtaking cars on the highway so instantaneous that it's almost disrespectful, and the car just goads you to hit the 7,300rpm limiter.

The 2.9-litre V6 engine sends 503bhp and 600Nm of torque to the rear wheels

We must admit, it doesn't quite match the C 63's V8 for sheer drama and outrageous noise (honestly, few engines in the market do), but it is every bit as usable and engaging as the engine in the M3. 

Right, it's powerful, but can it handle?

Honestly, making a car go fast in a straight line isn't particularly difficult, but making it go fast around corners is (insert cursory joke about muscle cars here). This is where the Giulia Quadrifoglio truly surprises.

The steering is pretty quick, and there isn't any free play at all, but the car doesn't feel nervous or sketchy. While there are more communicative racks out there, the Giulia impresses with its steering accuracy, nimbleness and the responsiveness of the chassis into corners.

At high speeds, the carbon fibre front splitter deploys to provide additional downforce at the front

Also, thanks to the car's even weight distribution, relatively light weight and grippy P Zero tyres, there's a rare poise and agility about the Giulia that stands it apart from its competition. It's a car that rewards you no matter if you are pushing it at 30% or 80%.

However, our favourite quality about the car is its ride. In the 'd' setting on the 'dna' selector (the 'Sport' setting, basically), the adaptive dampers firm up, throttle response sharpens, and the Giulia is fully capable of unleashing its ample fury.

And yet, hit the damper button and you can engage the soft damper setting, and it is actually this particular setting we enjoyed the most. You get all of the fury of the engine, and yet the car also soaks up small bumps in the road in a way that an M3 or C 63 could never do. This is a sport sedan that's genuinely comfortable and usable every day. 

In the 'Soft' damper setting, the car is delightfully pliant and comfortable

What about the rest of the car?

The other aspect about the Giulia that stands head over shoulders over the competition is the way it looks. Come on, just look at it. With it's sculptural and curvy sheet metal, aggressive front fascia, wide stance and dramatic rear, there's no denying the emotional appeal of the way the car looks.

You could never tire of just looking at the car, and we're pretty sure everyone that stopped and stared at us (fine, at the car, not us) could never tire of the Giulia's achingly beautiful design too. 

The 'dna' selector offers three sensible driving modes, as well as a 'Race' mode, which turns off the all electronic nannies

Move inside the car and that level of flair subsides significantly. The sitting position is spot on, the leather and Alcantara sport seats are comfortable, and there's a bunch of safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and front collision alert.

However, the rest of the cabin is, well, average at best. The infotainment system is simple and fairly bare, there's a mix of leathers and plastics that could do with better fit and finish, and the buttons and gear lever do come across as a little on the cheap side. Overall, it lacks the kind of quality and attention to detail you'd find in its German counterparts. 

The cabin is a sleek and simple affair, allowing you to focus on the joy of driving

So, is it the best in its class?

Parsing the Giulia Quadrifoglio's place in its segment has been difficult for us. Without question, we'd have this over the M3. It's more engaging, easier to drive, much more beautiful and an all around better driver's car than the Bimmer.

Would we have one over a C 63 S? We can't quite yet decide. We reckon with its much more supple and forgiving ride, effortless power and drop-dead gorgeous looks, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is the car that's easier to live with, the car that will make you smile more on a daily basis.

Yet, the AMG, with its absolute gem of an engine and more hooligan nature, is probably the car that will give you the greater adrenaline rush. Both cars are deeply emotional in their own unique way, and we keep going back and forth between the two. 

Achingly beautiful and a sheer delight to drive, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is an Alfa Romeo you can truly love

However, one thing is for sure - this Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is one hell of a piece of engineering. It's not perfect, but it demonstrates a level of all-around accomplishment, capability and poise that's deeply impressive and honestly quite remarkable.

Thank god we now have an Alfa Romeo we can honestly and truly love. 
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Car Information

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Price

: $375,000

Engine Type

:

V6 Bi-Turbo

Engine Cap

:

2891cc

Horsepower

:

375kW (503 bhp)

Torque

:

600 Nm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

3.9sec

Top Speed

:

307km/h

Fuel consumption

:

12.1 km/L

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alfa  alfa romeo  giulia  giulia qv  giulia quadrifoglio  sport sedan  m3  c63