Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review - a truly great super saloon
Alfa's first performance saloon in over a decade is a winner
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio has all the ingredients to make it truly fantastic car; it looks great, its turbocharged V6 puts out 503bhp, it’s rear-wheel drive and it has a practical saloon body. But Alfa has disappointed us before with cars that, in theory, should have been wonderful, yet the reality was a very different story. The Alfa 4C was a perfect example of this.
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This time around though, Alfa has delivered on its promise. Its new Giulia supersaloon is a truly brilliant drivers’ car. Its engine has more than enough power to make it very fast, but it also manages to be smooth and linear. Its chassis is agile and alert, but the ride is remarkably comfortable too.
Not only is the Quadrifoglio a great attempt at a supersaloon, it leaves plenty of the German establishment with bloody noses. And this is from a company which hasn’t competed in this sector for at least a decade, and hasn’t produced a contender for the top spot since the 1960s.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio in detail
Performance and 0-60 time – Thanks to the use of of carbonfibre and aluminium the Quadrifoglio is reasonably light, and as a result it hits 62mph in less than four seconds
Engine and gearbox – The Giulia, like many great Alfas, is powered by a V6. The engine is teamed with a smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox
Ride and handling – Powerful turbocharged rear-wheel drive cars rarely feel as approachable and exploitable as the Giulia Quadrifoglio
MPG and running costs – Don’t expect the Quadrifoglio to be cheap to run, but despite being the expense it's almost certainly worth it
Interior and tech – The Giulia’s Achilles' heel, its interior. It isn’t awful, but the quality is somewhat behind its rivals
Design – Alfas are known for their pretty or bold exteriors. The Giulia isn’t the best example of this, but it's handsome and it oozes aggression
Prices, specs and rivals
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio starts from £61,595. That might seem like a lot but that does include an array of exotic carbonfibre body parts and components, an awful lot of power, a high-tech diff and plenty of Alcantara inside.
There aren’t many options, but the ones you might want to choose are expensive. Carbon ceramic brakes are a £5500 extra, although the strange pedal feel and odd low speed behaviour that comes with them could put you off spending that sum. What you will want to fork out for are the carbonfibre-backed Sparco bucket seats; not only do they look great, but they're some of the most comfortable and supportive seats in any performance car currently for sale.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio goes head-to-head with the performance saloon establishment. The Mercedes-AMG C63 S saloon undoubtedly feels more premium than the Alfa; its glitzy interior and supreme build quality are a step above the competition. But despite a two cylinder and 1.1-litre advantage, the C63’s 4-litre twin-turbo hot-V V8 produces the exact same power (503bhp) as the Giulia’s V6. The Merc does produce a lot more torque (74lb ft more than the Alfa’s 442lb ft), however the lighter, more agile Alfa beats the C63’s 0-62mph time of 4sec by a 0.1sec. The Italian car is also just that bit more satisfying to drive.
The BMW M3 has long been at the top of the tree in this sector, and even the slightly disappointing early versions of the current F80 model were good enough to just about beat the main competition. The current M3 might be down on power compared to the C63 and Giulia; its twin-turbo straight-six makes 425bhp (444bhp when fitted with the optional £3000 Competition Pack) and slower to 62mph (4.3sec and 4.2sec for the Competition Pack), but it has proved to be shaper, more precise, and more involving than the Merc, even if it’s a bit edgier at the limit.
The Giulia gives the M3 a real run for its money. When we pitted them together on some of our favourite roads in Wales and around our local track, Bedford Autodrome, the Alfa just nudged ahead of the BMW. The Giulia’s more supple ride and calmer nature meant it was predictable than the M3. The Alfa was also faster around the circuit, too, setting a time of 1:23.6 compared to the BMW’s 1:24.7.
Much like it’s German rivals, the Giulia is gaining lots of attention from aftermarket tuners – its forced induction system making it relatively easy for ECU tuners to find a little more power from its engine. As well as modifying the exhaust to make it the car loud the entire time, Celtic Tuning has managed to extract 585bhp and 489lb ft of torque from the Giulia’s V6. The whole package costs just £600, too.