Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review - a truly great super saloon
It was designed to compete with the BMW M3, and left with class honors – the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is masterpiece
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio has been a prominent figure within evo since it burst out onto the scene in 2017, and for good reason as quite simply, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a spectacular supersaloon.
The ingredients on their own make for interesting reading: rear-wheel drive, a 503bhp twin-turbo V6 engine, a (contextually) featherweight 1524kg kerb weight and an extremely focused chassis, but what really makes the Alfa shine is how each of these elements work together.
All of this excellence seemingly came from nowhere too, with Alfa Romeo enlisting a crack skunkworks-like team of designers and engineers to design almost every part of the Giulia from scratch without any real oversight – how Italian.
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 £64,900. 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.
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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.