Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review – engine and gearbox

Alfa's first performance saloon in over a decade is a winner

Evo rating

Like many of the great Alfas of old the Giulia Quadrifoglio is powered by a V6. Its 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged motor might not have the reputation, or emit the same acoustics, as Alfa’s legendary Busso engine but it shares plenty of DNA with the V8 found in the front of a Ferrari California T. What more provenance do you need?

> Ferrari California T review - Is the California T a true Ferrari?

If you’re not impressed by the Marenello connection then the Alfa V6 has some notable figures to wow you instead. It puts out 503bhp at 6500rpm, revs to 7000rpm and produces 442lb ft of torque between 1800 and 5500rpm. It isn’t the revviest engine, but it delivers its performance in such a linear and manageable manner that you don’t lament the opportunity to stretch the motor beyond the conservative limiter.

In the UK there is no choice of transmission: an eight-speed automatic gearbox is all you get. Yes, it’s that same ZF unit that BMW, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Audi, Land Rover and Maserati use. Left hand drive cars can be ordered with a six-speed manual gearbox. The purists in the UK, such as us, might be left a little disappointed with not being given the option to select gears themselves.

If we’re being honest though, the automatic gearbox suits the Giulia better than the manual. We’re not just saying that to make ourselves feel better either; the notchy and long throw of the Giulia’s manual shift would take a lot of getting used to, whereas the fast, smooth shifts from the eight-speed auto are practically faultless. 

Drive is then sent to the rear wheels via a carbonfibre propshaft and electronically controlled limited slip differential, that can not only vary the amount lock across the rear axle, but can actively send torque to a certain wheel to create torque vectoring, too.

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