There’s more than a hint of Ferrari in the car that Alfa Romeo hopes will put it back on the luxury map, writes Toby Hagon.
Alfa Romeo reclaims its luxury title with the Giulia Quadrifoglio
Few brands evoke the mystique and passion of Ferrari. It’s little wonder, then, that fellow Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo is quick to highlight that the brains behind its latest models previously worked for the supercar maker.
“Ferrari-inspired” is used liberally by Alfa Romeo when describing the Giulia, the result of a multibilliondollar investment that it hopes will put the company back in the luxury category. The five-model range almost perfectly aligns with German powerhouses such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
The rear-drive line-up stretches from the regular Giulia ($59,895) to the Giulia Quadrifoglio ($143,900) reviewed here. All share the same four-door body, although the Quadrifoglio, or QV, is bestowed with sports seats and has seating capacity for four rather than five. The cabin is a blend of leather with contrasting stitching and carbon-fibre touches, reinforcing the sports-luxury look of the svelte exterior. The reversing camera, though, is a let-down, using only part of the beautifully integrated 8.8-inch colour touch screen.
Beneath the sleek nose with its “shield” grille is a new 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo. Like the V8 in the latest Ferrari 488, it’s almost devoid of turbo lag; instead, it thrusts intently at any squeeze of the throttle.
Put that down to the generous 600Nm on tap from just 2500rpm delivering effortless performance across a broad rev spectrum. Rev it towards 6500rpm and there’s a full 375kW – more than many popular sports cars and enough to propel the vehicle to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds. But it’s a shame the bark doesn’t match the bite, with the quartet of exhausts emitting an enthusiastic deep drone interspersed with cracks and pops.
There’s lots to love elsewhere. Sticky Pirelli P Zero rubber ensures that power makes it to the bitumen. And despite the tyres’ low profile, the suspension is refreshingly compliant in its softest setting.
Wind the Alfa DNA Pro system dial to Dynamic or Race and it tautens but not uncomfortably, ensuring relaxed suburban running. The eight-speed auto, too, is smooth and intelligent, with elegant column-mounted manual-shift paddles.
Indeed, the Quadrifoglio lacks nothing in talent, backed up with excitement, pace and some Italian flair to separate it from its predominantly German opposition.
ENGINE 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol TRANSMISSION Eight-speed automatic POWER/TORQUE 375kW/600Nm 0-100KM/H 3.9 seconds FUEL ECONOMY (AV.) 8.2L/100km PRICE $143,900
The sleek console has the Alfa DNA Pro dial, which offers four drive modes