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2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Alfa Romeo, Automotive, Test Drives

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There was once a period in the not-so-distant past that I thought automakers forgot about enthusiasts leaving us to choose from a selection of specialty-badge vehicles neutered with nagging safety nannies, lazy automatic transmissions, and lackluster driving dynamics. Fortunately, the automotive industry has awakened in the past few years to introduce one-off performance variations of their pride and joys of just about every car segment there is. In doing so, Alfa Romeo has come stateside to bring us an enthusiast-derived machine in addition to their low-slung 4C, the all-new Giulia Quadrifoglio, which undoubtedly celebrates us enthusiasts in many different ways with a taste of versatility and practicality.

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The new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the performance variation of the new Giulia compact luxury sports sedan, sports a Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter twin-turbo 90-degree V6 engine sending 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque through a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. The thrusting power sent out back is smooth and can be a handful when the new Giulia Quadrifoglio is put in its Race mode, one of the four drive modes on the DNA selector.

>> Get the best price on the Alfa Romeo Giulia from a network of local dealers now. <<

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DNA, what many of us educated to a level of scientific understanding will think of such as the genetic makeup of life, or the technical term Deoxyribonucleic Acid. Well, in Alfa Romeo’s nomenclature for the new Giulia Quadrifoglio, DNA is defined as three distinctive drive modes, Advanced efficiency, Natural, and Dynamic. The A mode is designated for efficiency with early shifts of the 8-speed auto and a more relaxed throttle mapping. Natural mode leaves the dampers in their relaxed state for a surprisingly smooth and well-mannered ride quality while the throttle and transmission all do their job to match your driving style with a quiet quad-tipped exhaust and quick-acting stability control. Dynamic mode allows a bit more rear end sliding but keeps all safety features alive. Where things get interesting and play to the tune that titillates the senses of enthusiasts is the Race mode. In Race mode, the stability and traction control get completely turned off as well as the forward collision and mitigation system. It’s just you, the ultra-sticky Pirelli P-Zero Corsa staggered tires with their low 60 treadwear, and an eager twin-turbo V6 at your beckon.

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In all, the performance of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is remarkable and makes you feel as if you have accomplished something major in life after spending a good 30 minutes to an hour hooning around. The Italian design and engineering go the distance to give enthusiasts something slightly different from the norm. In comparing the Giulia Quadrifoglio to something like the new BMW M3 or AMG C63S sedan you would give the Giulia the upper hand in overall feedback and communication with the road. In my humble opinion, the dynamics that communicate are a combination of the sticky P-Zero Corsa tires, (picking up just about every loose pebble, small rock, or grain-size road debris that they roll over), the extremely off-camber of the ultra-sharp steering rack’s turning angles, the multi-stage adaptive dampers, and the high-speed stability at the aid of active aero up front. The only pitfall of the Giulia Quadrifoglio is the turbo lag and the lack of a launch mode, which would potentially alleviate the lag. Even still, power braking out of the hole does little to remedy the turbo lag, which is also attributed to a bit of annoying drivetrain drone sounds when cruising at highway speeds while in 7th or 8th gear. In all, the twin-turbo V6 is a marvel when it starts turning above 2,000 rpm. One more mentionable for disappointment, apart from the extremely low treadwear rating of the sticky summer performance tires, is the steering camber doesn’t cooperate well when making slow sharp turns. The front-end, due to its aggressive turn-in camber, has the tendency to dance or notch itself out of balance almost into forceful understeer, much like how some older Corvettes were prone to do especially in cooler weather.

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Most of Alfa’s engineering in dynamics are surprising in the way in which the Giulia Quadrifoglio handles itself. The ride quality is among the best in its class in the Natural drive mode where you feel as if you’re driving or riding in a plush full-size luxury sedan. The lack of road isolation is one of the few giveaways that you are piloting a high-performance machine that is deserving of a long stretch of highway, some twisty canyon roads, or the track. Speaking of the track, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio belongs on a track to truly experience all that it has to offer. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble on the confines of public roads, especially considering the Giulia Quadrifoglio top speed of 190 mph. Shaving off that speed is an assured effort with the large 6-piston calipers clamping down on 14.2-inch cross-drilled rotors up front and 4-piston calipers on 13.8-inch cross-drilled rotors out back. The Giulia Quadrifoglio can be optioned with carbon ceramic brakes, which I assume will further improve its braking ability, which was noticeably substantial with the standard steel rotors after they heated up.

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Alfa Romeo has a lot of uncertainty as a brand in the USA among inquiring minds. While the brand lands under the massive umbrella of FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), Alfa offers something fresh and new for our side of the pond and it pays its merit in many good ways. As you can imagine, the Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio turns heads. Not only does it turn heads but it keeps onlooker’s undivided attention as they attempt to figure out what they are witnessing. Is it something from Tesla? Maybe it’s a new Audi that the latest edition of your favorite auto magazine forgot to mention. Better yet, with the manufacturer plates of my Rosso Competizione-colored test vehicle, onlookers may have mistaken the Giulia Quadrifoglio for a prototype undergoing rigorous testing by the way I was passing everyone and driving like a fool. Yeah, haters starting hating. Either way, anyone who straps behind of the wheel of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio will get attention whether they like it or not. Though, most of that attention is on a positive front as the styling of the Giulia is down right sexy with an unmistakable Italian flair. The traditional traits of the brand are found through the front-end grill and the few carbon fiber bits, including a featherweight carbon fiber hood, which adds to the appeal of one of the best-looking sedans in its class on the road today.

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The cabin of the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio exudes its sports appeal with carbon fiber trim, red contrast stitching throughout the soft-touch dashboard and heavily bolstered front heated seats, and a smallish flat bottom heated steering wheel. Overall, the interior quality is appealing at first glance. When you start to feel and touch different surfaces, you get a sense of lesser quality than some of the Giulia’s competition. While the front seats are ultra supportive and keep you in place when cornering, the rear seats are cramped for legroom and uncomfortable on long trips. It’s best that the new Giulia is designated as a two-person vehicle and use the back seats to carry around a couple short-legged adults or kids who don’t mind going for a quick rollercoaster ride. Trust me, they will ask you to keep driving with a big smile on their face, just as my 9-year-old daughter did. How can I say no? It’s only premium fuel being burned at the EPA estimated rate of 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined – gas station here I come again.

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What Alfa Romeo is doing better than the Germans is connecting the road in the palm of your hands. The large steering wheel-mounted shift paddles are welcomed as is the balance of the chassis (near 50/50 weight distribution) for the times that you want to slip the rear end out or exit an apex and have the need to make a shift. You’ll always know where to go for shifting gears. Overall, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is more connected to the road than the M3. Moreover, the Giulia Quadrifoglio, apart from the low-end turbo lag, is a bit more lively through the mid-RPM range up to its 7,000 rpm redline than the new M3. I will say, both the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63S sedan edges out the Alfa in the area of interior quality and overall fit and finish. The Germans somehow “feel” as if they are put together a bit better than the Alfa, but they don’t have the Giulia’s head-turning Italian style.

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Being fresh out of the gates for a high-performance compact luxury sedan, Alfa Romeo has done justice with the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Not only is it one of the best-looking vehicles on the road in my opinion, but it backs up those stunning Italian looks with the proper performance chops. There isn’t much to find fault in the new Giulia provided you are ready to pay the full price of admission starting at $72,000. My test vehicle is estimated to cost around $80,000 with its added options, which is pretty much on par with a comparably equipped BMW M3 and C63S sedan. Even though Alfa decided at the last minute to ax the available 6-speed manual transmission for the Giulia Quadrifoglio that we get on this side of the pond, I don’t think we will miss it much. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the manual in a future iteration of the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Either way, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a winner in my book, and you would be hard pressed to find such an original stunner out of the box on the roads of America. Here’s to wide open arms welcoming Alfa back. I can’t wait for their next move with vehicles like the forthcoming Stelvio and Stelvio Quadrifoglio crossovers.

>> Get the best price on the Alfa Romeo Giulia from a network of local dealers now. <<

>> Get the best price on the Alfa Romeo Giulia from a network of local dealers now. <<

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Giulia Quadrifoglio $72,000 / Giulia Quadrifoglio as-tested $80,000 estimated*
  • Engine: 2.9 liter Direct Injected BiTurbo V6 – 505 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm / 443 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles
  • Drive: Real-wheel-drive
  • Wheelbase: 111 in.
  • Total length: 182.6 in.
  • Total width: 73.7 in.
  • Total height: 56.1 in.
  • Headroom: n/a
  • Legroom: n/a
  • Cargo volume: 13 cu.ft.
  • Turning circle: n/a
  • Curb weight: 3,822 pounds
  • Fuel tank: 15.3 gallons
  • EPA Fuel Consumption: 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
  • 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds

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