2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio: A Place Among the Great Names of the Industry

Strong points
  • Aggressive but not off-putting style
  • Power is easy to exploit
  • Superlative handling
  • Sublime steering
  • Very civilized or insanely stiff car
Weak points
  • Very firm suspension, even in Natural mode
  • No manual gearbox in Canada
  • Maintenance costs promise to be high
  • Unproven reliability
  • Network of dealerships not very extensive
Full report

Italians rarely do half measures. Known for being hot-blooded and for having strong personalities, they have created some of the world’s most remarkable automobiles with all categories, nationalities and decades combined. Even today, names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancia, Bizzarini, Lancia, Maserati and Isotta Fraschini remind us that, at its heart, the automobile is a labour of love.

Alfa Romeo is among these legendary brands and the Alfisti, as the most dedicated, diehard Alfa Romeo enthusiasts are known, get emotional at the mere mention of the names Giulietta, Spider Veloce, Typo 33 Stradale, Alfasud, Montreal (oh yes, nearly 4000 units of the Alfa Romeo Montreal have been produced, but they were not imported to North America), Alfetta GTV6 and so many others. And now, the Giulia Quadrifoglio must be included among the most desirable Alfa Romeos.

A 505-horsepower sedan

The Quadrifoglio is a Giulia, but pumped up to 505 horsepower at 6500 rpm thanks to a twin-turbo, 2.9-litre V6 derived from the Ferrari California’s 3.9-litre V8. This engine generates a whopping 443 lb.-ft. of torque available between 2500 and 5000 rpm. The eight-speed automatic gearbox sends the horsepower to the rear wheels by way of a carbon fibre driveshaft (every Giulia, even those with a 2.0-litre engine, is equipped with one of these).

The driver can choose between four driving modes (Advanced Efficiency, Natural—or Normal if you prefer—, Dynamic and Race). This system is known as DNA at Alfa Romeo and its various driving modes are more aggressive than those found on the 2.0-litre Giulia—even Advanced Efficiency. Imagine the how confused the computer must feel when you ask it to temper 505 horsepower!

Dynamic mode is much sharper than in the 2.0-litre Giulia and, believe it or not, the (beautiful) sound of the exhaust may even start to get on your nerves on long drives. In this mode, the suspension becomes much firmer, but not as concrete-like as in the 4C. Test driven on a track, it turned out to be very permissive, but once it took control, it intervened with authority and is capable of greatly limiting your speed when exiting corners.

The Quadrifoglio’s DNA includes one more mode than in the 2.0-litre versions: Race mode, which may as well have been called “don’t-screw-this-up-or-you’re-done-for” mode. Select this one and you’ll deactivate all of the intervention systems. It’s driver versus 505 horsepower, and the almost feral exhaust sound leaves no room for interpretation.

As a colleague pointed out, an “Intermediate” mode between the D and Race modes would have been appreciated, but perhaps the marketing team wouldn’t have gone for the term IDNA. The automatic responds reasonably quickly even though it isn’t a twin-clutch gearbox. Fortunately, there’s a manual mode, and that’s how you have to drive a Quadrifoglio! Europeans will be lucky enough to have a true manual.

Photo: Alain Morin


If the 2.0-litre Giulia’s steering is impressive, what can we say about that of the Quadrifoglio? It’s ultraprecise, direct and the car goes where you want, when you want. The brakes are obviously up to snuff, and the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, 245/35ZR18 up front and 285/30ZR18 at the rear (which will cost a fortune to replace) are the reason why its handling is way better.

Although Alfa Romeo did not disclose how much this beast weighs, the estimate is around the near lightweight amount of 1630 kilos. A perfectly stock Quadrifoglio with an automatic gearbox did the Nürburgring in 7 minutes 32 seconds (7:39 with the manual), thereby eclipsing the times of the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 and Porsche Panamera Turbo. Alfa Romeo is promising a 3.9-second 0-100 km/h and a top speed of 315 km/h. Respect.

The Quadrifoglio sets itself apart from its less powerful sibling in several ways. Besides its more explosive engine, there are vents on the hood and two air intakes on the lower part of the front shield to direct air into the very visible radiators and two pairs of exhausts arranged at an angle. The rear spoiler, hood and lower front lip are made of carbon fibre (as is the top, so forget about a sunroof).

Photo: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Passion

As soon as you sit down in one of the sculpted seats (that bigger people won’t be too crazy about), it feels like an extraordinary car, if only because the start button is located on the steering wheel like in a Ferrari. This steering wheel is practically a work of art, combining Alcantara, leather, carbon fibre, aluminum and red stitching. It’s very beautiful, but that doesn’t translate to more legroom for the passengers in the back seats. Moreover, while the seatback can be lowered in the 2.0-litre, here, it’s fixed in the name of rigidity.

The test drive of the Giulia (2.0L) and the Giulia Ti (2.0L) brought to mind the BMW 3 Series more than once, and that goes double for the Quadrifoglio, which directly targets cars like the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S and BMW M3—but with a added dose of power. Some might even say that the Quadrifoglio is an M3 with a touch of passion. Quadrifoglio means four-leaf clover—and we’re in luck!

The Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio should arrive at dealerships toward the end of 2016 and the more sensible versions will follow in early 2017. Its price should be about USD$70,000, but we don’t know yet for Canada.

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