In recent years, cars like the the Mercedes-Benz C63, BMW’s M3 and the Audi RS4 have led the way in the super saloon segment, but an enticing new contender has entered the fray for 2017. Feast your eyes on the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, or ‘QV’, a carbon fibre-loaded and heavily tuned version of the firm’s Giulia saloon, which packs a potent 510hp engine that has been developed in conjunction with Ferrari. With aggressive styling and performance, it would seem that Alfa Romeo has created a car that is more than capable of challenging the class elite. We recently spent time driving the Giulia Quadrifoglio on Irish roads to see if this is the case.
What is it like?
We love the elegant styling of the Alfa Romeo Giulia that we tested earlier this year (read our review here), and the Quadrifoglio gets an aggressive makeover with enlarged front air intakes, 19-inch alloy wheels, a carbon fibre front spoiler and boot lip and a wide rear diffuser that surrounds four large exhaust pipes. The bonnet and roof are also made from carbon fibre to shed weight, while a four-leaf clover adorns the front quarter panels, nodding to its high performance Quadrifoglio heritage.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio feels race focused as you step inside, with carbon fibre detailing on the dash, doors and below the centre console, along with leather stitching across the dashboard and steering wheel. The standard sports seats in our test car are extremely comfy and supportive, but there is optional upgrade to full Carbon fibre sports seats, which are an expensive but attractive addition. Alfa Romeo’s 8.8-inch display screen is controlled via a dial controller behind the gear lever and the system is very user friendly, but we’d love to see more options to display performance readouts. The interior feels high quality, but some of the plastics aren’t up to the plush standard of other cars in its class.
Beneath the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s carbon fibre bonnet is a turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine that has been designed in conjunction with some of Ferrari’s best engineers. With 510 horsepower going through the rear wheels, the Giulia Quadrifoglio can blitz from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds and go on to an eventual top speed of 307km/h, with a snarling V6 sound from the exhausts. It’s available with either a manual or automatic transmission, and our test car has the eight-speed-automatic transmission that shifts quickly with aluminium paddle shift levers located behind the steering wheel.
Out on the road, the QV is spine-tingling to drive with its standard adaptive dampers and especially when race mode is selected, which is the most aggressive driving mode. Race mode increases throttle sensitivity, adds heavier steering, deactivates stability control, adds active torque vectoring and loudens the exhaust note. The Giulia Quadrifoglio turns rapidly with well-weighted steering and enormous amounts of grip and poise, though you have to take caution on wet surfaces as the rear end likes to move. The QV’s huge brakes offer excellent stopping power, but they can be abrupt when driving in stop start traffic, but for the most part, it copes well with everyday driving needs
Yes, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is expensive with a starting price tag of €99,945, but so too is the competition (BMW M3 Saloon: €101,290). When you consider the sheer performance on offer and indeed the equipment, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio makes for a worthwhile investment. As standard, it has the aforementioned active suspension system, front and rear park distance control, Bi-Xenon headlights and Alfa Romeo’s Connect navigation and infotainment system. Fuel economy isn’t very good but that’s to be expected; we managed 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres of driving in fuel economy (circa 30mpg) when driving conservatively, however, you can expect frequent visits to the petrol pumps when you drive it with gusto.
Carzone verdict: 5/5
The Giulia Quadrifoglio may well be a brand new model vying for honours in an incredibly competitive corner of the market, but Alfa Romeo has delivered what is ultimately the best car it has made in well over a decade. Scintillating performance and power is met with a chassis that does it justice, and the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s eye-catching styling will make it a classic for years to come. It may well be expensive and the interior finish isn’t quite up to the standard of its rivals, but the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a driver’s car through and through, and it marks an exciting new era for Alfa Romeo as its new flagship saloon.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Prices from: €99,945
Price as tested: €103,795
Annual Road Tax: €750
Engine: 2891cc six-cylinder bi-turbocharged petrol