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