Alfa Romeo claims that the new Giulia ‘Cloverleaf’ has lapped the Nürburgring a considerable 13 seconds faster than its main rival, the BMW M4. The new Italian super-saloon is said to have circulated the 12.9-mile lap in 7min 39sec, suggesting its sports-car-like chassis setup and turbocharged V6 make for a seriously compelling package – one that’s also a second faster than the Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren-Mercedes SLR on the Nordshleife.
Though the exact spec of the car that set the time is yet to be confirmed, we can assume it’ll have featured the Giulia’s optional electronically controlled active dampers. As standard, the car is suspended on double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, and features a ‘semi-virtual steering axis’ designed to maintain a constant caster trail in corners for more accurate steering. The car’s active aero bodywork can also generate as much as 100kg of downforce.
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Firepower is provided by a Ferrari-developed twin-turbocharged 3-litre V6, which is 78bhp more powerful than the M4’s twin-turbocharged straight-six unit. It produces a peak output of 503bhp, enabling the Giulia to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 3.9sec and on to 191mph – four-tenths quicker and 36mph faster than the electronically limited BMW.
Add this kind of muscle to a car that's 47kg lighter than the M4 – the Alfa weighs 1525kg, equating to a power-to-weight ratio of 335bhp/ton versus the M4's 288bhp/ton – and that lap time starts to make sense.
>Listen - Alfa Romeo’s 503bhp Quadrifoglio Giulia in action
Doubts have been cast over Alfa Romeo’s ability to build a high-performance, rear-driven super-saloon that could seriously mix the practicality of a four-door with the performance of a sports car. The Germans have been doing it for a long time, but Alfa Romeo hasn’t created a serious contender in this market for many years.
If the lap time is genuine (and so far we have little reason to doubt it), it confirms that Alfa is deadly serious about taking it to BMW and Mercedes. On paper and also now against the stopwatch, the Giulia looks like a real achievement.
>Read - More on the Alfa Romeo Giulia
At the Frankfurt motor show, Alfa Romeo also confirmed that the Giulia will be available in five colours: Competizione Red, Trofeo White, Vulcano Black, Vesuvio Grey and Montecarlo Blue. Italian pricing has also been revealed, with the car starting at the equivalent of about £53,000. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, but order books will open in 2016.