The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is an exciting car to look at and even more exciting to drive"
"A world-class sports sedan worth of the storied badge and capable of going head-to-head with its rivals"
"The perfect balance of heritage, speed and beauty, making it the ultimate expression of Italian style in the automotive world."
I always thought that Alfa Romeo is the finest cars' brand in the world in terms of tailoring, detailing, and even driving experience. I made sure this time that Alfa Romeo is in a place where no other manufacturer can understand their inner policy of mechanics and design. As for myself, I grew up in an environment where European cars are quite the favorite and among the top, Alfa Romeo. In the GCC, the brand has been launched only recently, about four years ago.
I was in Balocco, Italy to get my hands on a very special Italian beast from Alfa Romeo, the Giulia. Although I had the chance to drive all of the Giulia variants, I will be telling you about the top-line version, the QV or Quadrifoglio.
What is the Giulia for those of you who don't know?
The official mark is that the Quadrifoglio engine is "inspired by Ferrari technology and technical skills." Fundamentally, it's a six-cylinder sister to the Ferrari F154 twin-turbo V8s that power the Scuderia's 488GTB and California T, and a cousin to the engine that powers the Maserati Quattroporte GTS.
An Alfa Romeo springs from the perfect balance of heritage, speed and beauty, making it the ultimate expression of Italian style in the automotive world. The new Giulia is no exception, combining the legendary Italian sense of proportions with simplicity and care for surface quality - this is the 'skin' that Alfa Romeo stylists have modeled with painstaking care on the mechanical parts.
In particular, the proportions are based on the technical architecture of the entire car: for Alfa Romeo the key elements were the 50/50 weight balance and rear-wheel drive. In order to balance the weights perfectly, the engine and the mechanical parts are arranged between the two axles. This is why the Giulia has very short overhangs, a long bonnet and front wings, a retracted passenger compartment 'settled' on the drive wheels and muscular rear wings which visually mark the point where power is unleashed onto the road.
All this translates into a very generous wheelbase - the longest in its category - contained in one of the most compact bodies. These proportions draw the dynamic shape of an ellipsis in plan view. Furthermore, the rounded angles and the enveloping pillars convey momentum to the car, creating a 'drop-shaped' profile that is reminiscent of the Giulietta Sprint, one of the most beautiful cars ever made.
A second aspect of Italian style is simplicity, which shrouds what is in fact one of the most complex creative processes in the industry: designing a car. It is up to style to conceal the long, complex work behind a simple, natural line that enhances elegant shapes and sophisticated Italian taste. This approach permeates the entire history of Alfa Romeo and is expressed via clean, streaming streaks as always. For this reason, the new Alfa Romeo Giulia boasts a strong identity drawn in a few simple strokes - a line gouged along the sides which marks the doors and envelops the handles and, naturally, the legendary trefoil nose, possibly the most famous, recognizable style element in automotive history.
Finally, Italian style is characterized by high quality surface finish, which means creating rich, harmonious reflections. The end result is the new Giulia, a statuesque shape reminiscent of a big cat just about to spring. The same inspiration is found inside the car. Everything is clean, essential and revolves around the driver, like the controls grouped on the small, direct steering wheel, designed to adapt to all driving styles. The driver's position was 'cut' as a fabric with a diagonal tunnel, a slightly undulated dashboard and cleverly oriented instruments which convey the impression of a tailor-made suit with handcrafted care and premium materials: carbon fiber, wood and fabrics are chosen for their visual and tactile pleasantness and assembled to make the human touch visible.
Last (but not least), a special mention goes to the front and rear light clusters of the Giulia that are made by Magneti Marelli in collaboration with Alfa Romeo. A combination of style excellence and technology, the LED rear light clusters enhance the rear end in a uniquely distinctive way. Similarly, design and ergonomics characterize the headlights, utilizing Xenon technology with a 35W module that increases light flux and light diffusion with energy savings to increase night visibility by 200 percent, compared to normal halogen headlights. Furthermore, they guarantee greater safety, because obstacles can be seen at least a second earlier, which is equal to an advantage of 28 meters of braking distance when travelling at 50 km/h. The headlights also use AFS technology, while the daytime running lights (DRL), cornering lights, sidelights and direction indicators use LED technology for better fuel efficiency and maximum performance.
State-of-the-art, innovative engines are another characterizing element of a genuine Alfa Romeo. For this reason, a unique engine in terms of technology and performance, destined to become the new benchmark of the brand, has been created for the Quadrifoglio version.
The six-cylinder turbo petrol tuned by engineers with Ferrari backgrounds, delivers 510 horsepower and torque in excess of 600 Nm for exhilarating performance: for example, it accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in only 3.9 seconds, and carries on effortlessly to its top speed of 307 km/h.
And, although the horsepower and torque values are exceptional, the unprecedented engine is also best in class in terms of emission levels (198 g/km of CO2) and is surprisingly cheap to run, thanks to its electronically controlled cylinder disabling system. And, like all next-generation engines, this six-cylinder is entirely made of aluminum to minimize the car's absolute weight, especially on the front axle, for a genuine Alfa Romeo roar.
50/50 weight distribution
A particular feature of the new Giulia is the astute management of weights and materials to obtain a perfect 50/50 distribution across the two axles. Achieving this was essential to ensure that the typical Alfa Romeo driving satisfaction was reached by tweaking the layout and arranging the heavier elements in the most central position possible.
The suspension system is as essential to ride optimization as weight distribution. For the Giulia, a multi-link solution that delivers top performance, driving pleasure and comfort has been chosen for the rear axle. On the front, a new double track control arm suspension with semi-virtual steering axis was developed to optimize the filtering effect and guarantee rapid, accurate steering.
This Alfa Romeo exclusive keeps the constant caster trail on corners and can tackle high lateral acceleration as a result of the always perfect footprint. In any situation and at all speeds, driving the Alfa Romeo Giulia with the most direct steering ratio on the market is natural and instinctive.
To obtain an excellent weight-to-power ratio (remarkably lower than 3), the Alfa Romeo Giulia combines extraordinary engine performance and ample use of ultralight materials throughout. For example, carbon fiber was chosen for the propeller shaft, the bonnet and roof and aluminum was picked for the engine, brakes, suspension (including front domes and front and rear frames), in addition to many other body components, such as the doors and the wings - the rear crossmember is made of aluminum composite and plastic. As a result, an unladen weight of 1,524 kg was achieved for the Giulia.
In order to decrease the total weight, the braking system was tweaked using aluminum elements and carbon ceramic discs, and the seats have a carbon fiber structural frame. But, despite all this weight optimization, the car boasts the best torsional rigidity in its class to guarantee quality over time, acoustic comfort and handling, even in conditions of extreme stress.
The passenger compartment of the Giulia offers the very best in terms of quality, safety, equipment and comfort with a specific, profoundly Alfa Romeo style element - the centrality of the driver.
Not by chance, all the main controls, including the start button, are incorporated in the steering wheel, just like in a Formula 1 car, while the human-machine interface consists of two simple, user-friendly knobs to adjust the Alfa DNA Pro selector and the Connect 3D Nav infotainment system.
The Connect 3D Nav of the Alfa Romeo Giulia (developed with Magneti Marelli) offers a sophisticated series of features and functions, including a next-generation HMI human-machine interface. The system is controlled by means of the rotary pad and by using the TFT 8.8-inch display integrated in the dashboard.
The rotary pad features an advanced voice recognition system and a gesture recognition system that allows interaction with the system simply by moving one's fingers on the pad. Connect 3D Nav also allows full connectivity with all mobile devices (mobile phones, smartphones, tablets with Apple iOS and Android operating systems). In addition to allowing phone calls using the Bluetooth connection in hands-free mode, the infotainment system plays audio contents from USB devices and smartphones via Bluetooth technology, in addition to managing the radio and the digital hi-fi audio system. Finally, the system implements navigation functions with high-resolution 3D maps. The system is quick to calculate routes and can be used even if the GPS signal is missing by exploiting Dead Reckoning technology. It also allows updating of the system's TomTom maps via USB and the viewing of driving system information.
Finally, the sophisticated Harman Kardon Sound Theatre system making its debut in the Alfa Romeo Giulia will satisfy even the most demanding of audiophiles, delivering superior, detail-rich audio output. The heart of the system is a 12-channel class D amplifier that ensures high performance but is compact at the same time. The amplifier distributes clear sound through a network of 14 speakers inside the car for superior listening quality. Logic 7 technology is used to achieve a surround effect from 5.1 high-resolution sources, as well as stereo playback. With this sound system, occupants can experience the premium quality for which Harman Kardon is famed.
As a further expression of the Alfa Romeo engineering culture, the design, the build and the choice of materials of the chassis and the suspensions are always perfect. As a consequence, it was decided that electronics should only be used to make the driving experience that's guaranteed by the excellent basic mechanics even more exhilarating.
This is demonstrated by the exclusive technical solutions present on the Giulia, like torque vectoring with a twin-clutch to allow the rear differential to control the torque delivery to each wheel separately, meaning that power transmission to the road is improved in low grip conditions.
So, the driving is safe and fun without the driver ever running up against invasive stability control systems. The Integrated Brake System (IBS) - the innovative electromechanical system that combines stability control - and a traditional servo brake for instantaneous brake response and record-breaking stopping distances in addition to the all-important weight optimization, pedal vibration reduction and braking performance - has been introduced on the new Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Together with an excellent Cx, a perfect balance of forces on corners and downforce behavior, the new model has Active Aero Splitter, a front system that actively manages downforce for higher performance and better grip even at high speeds. The new Giulia also features an updated Alfa DNA Pro that modifies the car's dynamic behavior according to the driver's selection - Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency (an energy efficiency mode included in the Giulia for the first time on an Alfa Romeo) and (naturally) Race (on high performance versions).
All of these state-of-the-art systems are governed by the Chassis Domain Control (CDC) - a technology developed jointly with Magneti Marelli - which acts like the car's 'brains' and coordinates all the onboard electronics. The system manages the action of the various features - such as the renewed DNA Pro selector, torque vectoring, Active Aero Splitter, active suspensions and ESC - and assigns specific tasks to optimize performance and driving pleasure to each one.
In more detail, the CDC adapts the ride in real time, making the DNA Pro mappings dynamic according to acceleration and rotation data detected by the sensors. Critical solutions are prevented and managed by informing the specific control units involved in the electronic system of the car in advance - chassis, powertrain, suspensions, braking system, steering, power steering and differential on curves.
Alfa is back in the game and the Quadrifoglio is downright remarkable! I felt that excitement; the Italian brand is back to its best with a powerful machine that revives the spirit and driving satisfaction it has been missing for quite a long time.
Pros: Smooth ride, uplifting handling, steering feel and feedback, exterior design, exhaust sound
Cons: Quadrifoglio could be pricey versus the rivals; interior quality needs more finishing
Rivals: BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C63, Cadillac ATS-V, Audi RS4
one word: exquisite
2.9L V6 twin-turbo, 505 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 600 Nm @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
8-speed auto / 6-speed manual, RWD
0-100 km/h: 3.8-4.0 sec, top speed: 307 km/h, fuel consumption: 8.5 L/100 km
Weight: 1,524 kg