Recently we experienced the new Alfa Romeo Giulia which provides four-door class in a segment awash with German saloons and during that weekend with the Giulia diesel, I was most impressed. [read our thoughts here]
The fact that the Giulia is equipped with such a fantastic chassis, providing nothing but pure driving pleasure, I was eager to get my hands on its big brother, a brother that has massive amounts of charm, yet a brother that is a little out of control.
Italian cars, Alfa Romeo especially, should always ooze charm, character, performance and pedigree – a quartet that Alfa seemed to have forgotten about in recent generations.
However with the introduction of the Alfa 4C a few years ago [read our thoughts here] the maker started to reel in the forgotten foursome – a foursome that spans the history books – a foursome that is paramount in this Giulia Quadrifoglio.
By its name alone, this Giulia carries the weight of Alfa’s charm, character, performance and pedigree on its shoulders and despite ‘Quadrifoglio’ (meaning four-leaf clover) starting as simple ‘good luck’ charm decades ago, it tended up as a magical symbol, representing track success and race victories for Alfa Romeo and its drivers.
For any Alfa to carry the Quadrifoglio on its wings, it has to be something rather quite special, something that oozes the aforementioned quartet and this is one Alfa that justifiably carries the four-leaf clover with pride and passion.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio (QV) carries all that is put upon it very well indeed, so much so that I can confidently say it is the single best car I have experienced off-the-shelf in all the time I have been involved with the industry.
Folk often ask me “what is your lottery-win daily-driver” and well, for years, my answer was simple – Audi RS4 Avant was the usual reply but that answer changed towards the end of last year when I spent some time in the Range Rover Sport SVR.
Just a few months later my answer changed once again to the car pictured, a car that has reborn the four-leaf clover for the Italian brand. It is a car that is in no way perfect, but one with every piece of the jig-saw required to put it to the top of my lottery-win daily-driver list!
At a glance the Giulia QV is absolutely gorgeous and very different in its appearance to the entry level models, something that its rivals such as the BMW M3 or Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG struggle with.
Featuring the iconic ‘Trilobe’ grille the QV features an extensive use of carbon fibre to save weight in all the right places as the roof, bonnet, rear spoiler and sideskirts are constructed from the super-strong, ultra lightweight material.
If the vented carbon bonnet, rear diffuser set between a dual exhaust and bare carbon detail around the car isn’t enough to make the QV scream business the monstrous ceramic brakes tucked behind the equally massive retro inspired wheels on this model tested should certainly explain what this Giulia is about.
One unusual feature of the QV is the Active Aero splitter as the QV is the only saloon car in the world to feature this carbon appendix positioned under the front bumper which opens at speeds over 62mph, providing additional stability by increasing the downforce, especially in high-speed cornering.
Inside the Giulia QV is as special as the exterior with a plethora of carbon fibre, leather and alcantara materials – ok it may not be just as luxurious and well finished as some of its German rivals but what the QV offers is a no-nonsense approach – it is what it is and that’s what I like about it.
Raw carbon around the steering wheel, dash, centre console and door cards is flanked with black leather featuring red stitching and red leather whilst the front seats can only be described as sexy. The Sparco reclining racing seats are constructed from carbon with alcantara centres and black leather with red stitching.
Keeping man and machine in harmony is an 8.8” infotainment screen featuring 3D Navigation with Bluetooth and DAB along with a 7” TFT colour instrument cluster between the two dials in the speedo cluster.
The infotainment is managed by an intuitive Rotary Pad behind the gear lever whilst the instrument cluster can be utilised via steering wheel controls. The model tested featured the Sound Theatre by Harman Kardon audio upgrade with 900 W of power channelled to 14 speakers, including two surround sound speakers and one subwoofer.
For me this audio upgrade is a waste of money, in fact there really isn’t the need for any sort of infotainment inside the Giulia QV as it has one hell of a sound track in the form of its fire breathing 2.9 V6 twin-turbo engine.
Delivering 503bhp with 442lb/ft of torque the QV really is the complete package of charm, character, performance and pedigree! Essentially this engine is a Ferarri V8 with two cylinders chopped off , being designed exclusively for Alfa Romeo by Ferarri its made entirely of aluminium, it is immensely powerful, yet lightweight.
Combined to an automatic 8sp gearbox, designed to give the driver complete control the QV is light and precise, and combined with responsive steering, it offers extraordinary emotion and a driving pleasure that is unique in its category.
By nature, the twin-turbo set up delivers effortless and seamless power to the rear wheels of the QV and I still can’t get over just how well it can cover ground and gather speed never mind put all that power to the ground.
During my time with the QV I learnt quite early on that it demanded respect – though very forgiving when things got a little out of hand and easily corrected on our cold, greasy roads with the help of the DNA Pro system and its 50:50 weight distribution.
Alfa’s DNA Pro, thanks to interaction with the Chassis Domain Control, instantaneously adapts the cars behavior to the selected driving modes of which there are four – RACE, DYNAMIC, NATURAL and ADVANCED EFFICIENCY.
RACE activates the overboost function and enhances the exhaust sound for driving on track, DYNAMIC delivers sharper brake and steering-wheel response for advanced on-road driving whilst NATURAL is comfort suspension setting for perfect balance in your day to day drive and finally ADVANCED EFFICIENCY enables the engine to maximise energy savings and dynamic efficiency.
Chassis Domain Control is a ‘brain’ dedicated to vehicle dynamics, a module which integrates the actions of ESC, DNA Pro, Active Torque Vectoring, Active Aero Splitter, Integrated Brake System and Active Suspension, assigning specific tasks to each one of these devices in order to achieve the best dynamic performance.
Safety is always high on the agenda for car buyers and the Giulia QV offers everything you would need including Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection function, Lane Departure Warning, Cruise Control with speed limiter, Blind Spot Monitoring with rear cross-path detection and rear view camera with dynamic gridlines and parking sensors all available as standard.
Starting from £61,595 you could easily be enjoying 0-62mph in a mere 3.9 seconds with a real-world combined economy under normal driving of 30mpg – get along to Donnelly Group NI to see the Giulia QV first hand and spec one to your exact needs.
Well done Alfa, you have absolutely nailed it and I do hope I am fortunate enough to get another drive in the Giulia QV over a weekend or maybe even a week – if that happens keep an eye on our social media as I likely won’t be able to shut up about it!
Words & Photos: Graham Curry
[images must not be used in any way without prior written consent of the photographer]