I’m possibly the last ‘journalist’ on the planet to get my mitts on the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, so allow me to start by getting the boring stuff you already know out of the way – this is the first rear-wheel-drive saloon car Alfa has built in almost thirty years, the infotainment is functional but has the aesthetic appeal of a Gameboy Color and the interior materials are a tad hit and miss, a bit like a Donald Trump spray tan. You’ll also know this is a car that changed the game by winning numerous car of the year awards and one that has been busy mopping up the blood and organs of BMW M3s and Mercedes-AMG C63s over the past 3 years. Such claims deserve to be qualified in the world of fake news. You’ll also know that Alfas are not famed for being reliable, but, any automotive aficionado will tell you you’re not really a car guy or girl until you’ve owned one.
Most of these aficionados are old enough to be my father – I am an insta scrolling, emoji spewing millennial that knows very little of Alfa Romeo other than being disappointed that the 4C left everyone feeling a bit…meh and that the gorgeous Brera was not something that inspired driving pleasure. Then the Guilia arrived and everything changed. I suddenly cared about Alfas.
I have driven every variant of the latest and greatest BMW M3/4 and Mercedes-AMG C 63 range, they live up to the expectations and allure of the badges that bestow their booties – spending just a few minutes driving these German machines explains why they can be found by the dozen across the globe from, London to Singapore and any affluent city in between. This only adds to the attraction for something new, something different that is not an evolution of a car that has been built for 30 years. Alfa started this project on an all new base platform named Giorgio – try thinking of a more Italian name. Then they went to Ferrari and managed to add a few of their best to the Alfa payroll including the chap that developed the chassis of the 458 Speciale…how’s that for an accolade on the CV, as well as the engineer behind Ferrari engines.
The results are apparent when driving and having a nose around the cabin. Inside you’ll find huge aluminum paddles that are straight Ferrari, as is the bright red steering wheel mounted starter button. On the move the dampers can be slackened off into a ‘mid’ mode when Race is engaged – this is a godsend that greatly improves traction when driving enthusiastically on undulating surfaces and mimics the effects of Ferrari’s ‘bumpy road’ damper setting which has proven itself to be industry leading and exceptionally effective. Then there is the engine which many claim is the V8 turbocharged motor from the old California T minus two cylinders. The answer is irrelevant, it is an incredible unit that manages to produce 503bhp and 443lb from just 2.9-litres. As a result it is a tad laggy, but all the more reason to use the paddles and mingle in the upper echelons of the rev range.
What is it like to drive? Well, it is an absolute riot, a hooligan in a sexy outfit that makes outrageous noises and makes you a better driver. What do I mean by that? Well, the Giulia QV will not bellow at its best until you put it into Race mode. Look around the cabin and you will not find a traction control or ESP off button – they both call it quits when you engage Race. You cannot hear the V6 howl unless you are in Race. This means you are completely on your own – no nannies, babysitters or Au Pair to slap you into line if you get greedy with the gas pedal, how un-German. The sound is addictive – I assure you that if you’re the sort of person interested in buying a Quadrifoglio, you’ll want to hear that soundtrack and put it into Race 7/10 times…the other 3 times will be when your angry wife/husband/mother-in-law is riding shotgun.
I had the Giulia in the bitter British winter. Not once did the temperature hit double digits, this meant the P Zero Corsa rubber was never in it’s optimal operating window and that you have no choice but to learn to respect the power and immense boost that will try to put you through a hedge and into field to graze with the local farmers cows.
Stick it in race, drop it into second gear and with anything more than half throttle above 3,500rpm you pull the giant paddle for third and an almighty crack accompanies the ZF gearbox changing into third. It is hilariously immature and makes you laugh no matter how mature you might think you are. It also explains why I was driving around with the windows down wearing all the clothes I own to battle frost bite – #WorthIt. Stop pratting about and the Giulia QV harnesses its mental asylum traits and becomes an unbelievably potent machine. 0-100 is done in 3.9 (I think it’s a smudge quicker) and it will not stop until it is passing supercars and Super Mario at 307 km/h (191 mph).
This brings me onto a point that I have been having Trump-like temper tantrums over. My inner stable genius tells me that modern cars must be safe, exploitable and accessible by anyone and everyone. This sensible approach makes the case for cars such as the Audi RS models and the latest generation of Mercedes-AMG E 63 and BMW M5 (yes, I know they are not competing with the QV). They have tremendous power (circa 600bhp) yet can be driven quickly all year round. However, that comes with drawbacks, you never feel alive, the hit of adrenaline is harder to achieve when adhering to any rules of laws of the road. They are King Cobras with Ribena in their fangs, not venom and you somehow feel that you’re not exploiting all that such cars have to offer. Why not quit the power race and make cars with less power that can fed through the rear wheels and command more skill from the squishy human behind the wheel? The Giulia is exactly that. In first, second and even third, traction is overwhelmed by torque, but it is manageable if you respect it. Skip the double espresso, the Alfa will have your pupils dilated, palms sweaty and breath heavy quicker than you can order your caramel frappuchino and it’s why you have to focus on every input.
The rear end is playful but you learn that the razor sharp steering is so quick that a few degrees of lock counteracts pendulum behind you. After fathoming the limits of your right foot you never feel like you’re not in control and it is rewarding as you know that you are working with the car, not fighting it. That is the beauty of the lunacy and the incredible chassis. There is a sense of achievement that is absent or simply unachievable in more powerful cars on the public roads. It is easy to see why such a car overwhelmed so many journalists and has it’s name stamped on so many awards trophies despite not being perfect. With a couple of tweaks on the interior, infotainment, grabby brakes at low speed and other idiosyncrasies, the Giulia QV will be even more attractive than it already is. No wonder BMW M and AMG are quaking in their boots…Bravo Alfa, Viva l’Italia.
The writer is completely wrong about the infotainment. The system could have been designed by Apple. It is some well integrated you hardly know it is there. But it is and it is widescreen and, with Apple CarPlay, a perfect blend of function and beauty. It is not a bolted on iPad. It is just what it should be.
The rest of the review is good. I have a Giulia, Ti, and this makes me long for a Quadrofoglio.
Hi Kent, thanks for taking the time to comment and congrats on your Alfa!
I have to disagree with you on this occasion. The car I drove had no car play, the city/town search was utterly shambolic, the scroll wheel felt horrible and lagged hilariously to any input. Then again, maybe these issues were specific to my car and you’re right about the integration being spot on. Having spent years driving German rivals I cannot overstate just how far behind the Alfa system is – something that is recognised and raised time and time again in a multitude of reviews. Use the latest BMW/Mercedes-Benz connected systems and I am sure you will agree. As my article highlighted, it is all forgiven when you drive the thing!
Absolutely loved this article. Also agree with Kent, having owned a Mercedes before, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the infotainment system.
Hi Dev, thanks for taking the time to comment!
Please see my response to Kent’s comment. This system cannot be mentioned along side the latest Mercedes-Benz systems – the graphics are on another level, as is the functionality and the breadth of connectivity. The Alfa system really does need to be updated. As I said to Kent, it is all forgiven when you drive the thing!
Ugh. The resolution of the screen reminds me of an old Acer netbook.
My 81 Gtv6 2.5 has an exhaust note I can simulate in my throat, but nothing other than Ferrari even comes close. Alfa Romeos don’t generally need radios…they are an entertainment system.
I do own a Guilia since they came back to USA. At first I was excited bc use to drive and alpha Romeo guilietta TDI in 90s, beautiful car. So I said I will get a guilia. Total disappointment . Sound system horrible even I have the upgrade one, electric problems non stop for 2 years , . On top of that a big headache for the service you have to wait a long time to get an appointment and after that you pay a lot of money that still don’t do a good job . I put brand new breakes 2 months ago and I still have a whistling noise when I use them. I took it back to Chrysler service on Ramsey jersey and they told me it’s normal I was wow thx. I called them back they told me is winter wait for spring . I’m sorry never alpha again. They have to work and train alpha technician and to keep it seperare from the Chrysler dealer bc it’s total headache and they will loose business soon, and alpha will never make it in USA. Thx
The ownership experiences I am hearing following my test of the car are certainly disappointing and it is you owners that know much better than I do from that perspective. It is a shame as they are such a joy to drive. I’m sure that Alfa are working to address the reliability and after sales experiences – I for one am rooting for them to sort it to match the joy they bring when the aren’t at the dealer! Let’s hope they manage to lure you back into their cars in the future!
Well I find these reliably comments very unusual and probably has some kind of conflict of interest attached along with grammar issues. I have had a Alfa Romeo Giulia for over two years now and no reliably issues what so ever.
Alfa Giulia QV owner here. I have a 2018 model that is now 9 months old. So far the only problem I’ve had is the infotainment system has crashed (and the restarted itself) a couple times during the nine months.
No mechanical issues at all. And I actually love the infotainment system. The 2018 model includes CarPlay, and no performance issues with it as experienced by the reviewer. I also have the upgraded sound system, and it sounds awesome! Note I work for a Music biz and I am picky about audio quality.
And yeah, the QV is just unbelievable to drive. If the little quirks of the car outweigh the joy of driving this car, well you shouldn’t buy it. But for those that love to drive, and really want a driver’s car, this is something special and rare. For those people, I can’t recommend it more highly. I love my Giulia QV.
Congrats on your car, great to hear you’re enjoying it without any problems!
I am happy you said that I have driven Italian cars all my life and I love them and when you sit behind the Giulia wheel as I asked one owner and he said that it makes him feel grand. If I could afford one I would definitely get it.
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I have a trefeo white giulia quadrifoglio! May I say this car is a blast to drive! For those who are more concerned about the audio or the infotainment being less efficient, well move on and buy yourself a predictable and played out M3 or C63! This car is a driver’s car, the emotions u feel when u drive this car come from power and precision not from small silly quirks that u guys complain about. For those who have this car and are not happy having one, u will never ever ever understand what being an alfasti is all about! Salute!
Hear Hear! Thats exactly what it is about! Love white QVs, might be my favourite!
Very nice review, just found out this website and I’m simply loving it! Good journalists and good writing. Well, about the car, I’m Italian with a long family passion for Alfas, so this is the kind of car I’ve dreaming for at least 10 years, since I’ve got my driver license. The Giulia is so superb and stunning.
PS: “Viva l’Italia” not “Viva Italia”!
Hi Filippo, thanks very much! I hope you’ll come back for more. And thanks for the correction :)