The Con­tenders

Automobile - - All - Stars 2018 -

The 2017 Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia Quadri­foglio was an early fa­vorite go­ing into the 2018 All-Stars com­pe­ti­tion. As con­trib­u­tor Chris Nel­son put it, “The Gi­u­lia blends some of the best char­ac­ter­is­tics from to­day’s per­for­mance cars: a hearty en­gine that shakes the car when you rev it, brakes that bite more vi­ciously than Mike Tyson, dreamy nat­u­ral steer­ing, a light­footed chas­sis with a lot of tire, and a rear end that gives you plenty of warn­ing when it’s con­sid­er­ing break­ing loose.”

Un­for­tu­nately, re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues that have dogged the Gi­u­lia since its launch sur­faced again. Had the check en­gine light re­mained off, the 505-hp Ital­ian sport sedan would likely have gone home with a tro­phy. Alas, the light went on, and into limp mode the car went.

Although the ex­cel­lent driv­ing dy­nam­ics and steer­ing feel make up for the wonky in­fo­tain­ment system and sparse in­te­rior—“Tons of fun to drive, with gobs of grip, a zesty gear­box, plenty of power, and that su­per-racy steer­ing re­sponse,” edi­tor-at-large Arthur St. An­toine said—the code throw­ing was a deal breaker. In fact, it wasn’t just one Gi­u­lia that lit up the CEL on us. It was two, as the re­place­ment car Alfa sent us suf­fered the same fate.

The is­sue, we’re told, is caused by the on­board com­puter mis­in­ter­pret­ing left-foot brak­ing as pedal mis­ap­pli­ca­tion, pre­sum­ably as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure against un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion. This ac­tu­ally makes the prob­lem a de­sign flaw rather than a qual­ity prob­lem, as a car with this per­for­mance en­ve­lope should not be pro­grammed to go into limp mode if the driver left-foot brakes, es­pe­cially while run­ning on race­tracks.

So the Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia Quadri­foglio is a great car with a huge as­ter­isk, which is a shame be­cause it’s se­ri­ously en­joy­able to drive when that CEL isn’t il­lu­mi­nated. — Kir­ill Ou­garov

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