Mo­tor­ing

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.

Qantas - - Contents -

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

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