New Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

Category: Performance car

The 2024 Giulia QV is as thrilling as performance cars get but some rivals are plusher

Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio front cornering
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio front cornering
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio rear cornering
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior dashboard
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio boot open
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior driver display
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio right driving
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio front driving
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio front right static
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio rear right static
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio grille detail
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio alloy wheel detail
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio badge detail
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio rear badge
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior front seats
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior back seats
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior driver display
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior detail
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior detail
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio seat detail
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio front cornering
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio rear cornering
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior dashboard
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio boot open
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior driver display
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio right driving
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio front driving
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio front right static
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio rear right static
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio grille detail
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio alloy wheel detail
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio badge detail
  • Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio rear badge
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior front seats
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior back seats
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior driver display
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior detail
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior detail
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio seat detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Few car makers have a performance motif as evocative as Alfa’s four-leaf clover. The Italian manufacturer puts it on only its most potent models, and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio more than earns its right to wear it.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio (aka the Giulia QV) is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulia executive saloon, but gets a 512bhp turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine. That means it’s capable of 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 190mph.

What's more, the Giulia Quadrifoglio gets bespoke suspension, quicker steering and larger brakes in an effort to make sure it corner and stops as well as it goes.

So, does the Giulia Quadrifoglio (Italian for four-leaf clover, in case you were wondering) have what it takes to beat the best performance cars? Read on to find out how we rate it against the likes of the Audi RS4 Avant and BMW M3...

Overview

To drive, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is about as good as performance saloons get, yet it’s comfy enough to make life as enjoyable for passengers as for drivers. It’s pricey, though, and some performance car rivals beat it for interior plushness and practicality.

  • Wonderful engine
  • Agile, involving handling
  • Pliant ride
  • Interior quality disappoints in places
  • Inconsistent brake feel
  • Race mode switches of stability control
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

First and foremost, an expensive performance car has to be great to drive, and the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV absolutely ticks that box. Its 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine is one of the reasons why, delivering razor-sharp accelerator responses with hardly any lag, despite being heavily turbocharged.

At our private test track, we clocked 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds. That’s quicker than the 4S version of the all-electric Porsche Taycan managed and just 0.1 seconds behind the BMW M4 (essentially a two-door version of the M3).

The Giulia QV's eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox dithers a little at town speeds, but transforms once you start to press on, providing finger-click-fast manual changes via the tactile aluminium paddles mounted on the steering column.

The responses of the engine and gearbox get more relaxed in the Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency modes, so the car definitely feels at its best in Race mode (although that automatically switches off the stability control).

The car sounds best in Race, too, barking loudly as the revs rise and crackling violently when you change up through the gears. Its soundtrack is far more charismatic than the bassy but flat engine note of the six-cylinder M3.

By contrast, the M3 and the Audi RS4 Avant have the advantage when it comes to braking. While the QV stops well enough (the optional ceramic brakes provide monumental retardation from high speed), they feel a tad vague when you first press the pedal.

There’s nothing wrong with the way the car handles though. It feels light, poised and nimble when you turn in to a bend, and the quick steering is alert but never nervous.

Alfa Romeo Giulia image
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At the same time, the adaptive suspension can be made softer or stiffer to suit the bumpiness of the road independently of the drive mode selected, and its firmest setting all but eliminates body roll during quick cornering. If you want to chase lap times, an M3 is grippier and even faster through high-speed bends, but that doesn't make it more fun.

When the Giulia Quadrifoglio was updated for 2024, Alfa Romeo replaced the previous electronic torque vectoring system with a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential. As a result, while it was possible to break traction at the rear and steer using the accelerator with the previous set-up, doing so feels more natural, predictable and enjoyable in the updated car.

Then there’s the ride. If you think a performance car will be too firm, think again. You can feel the QV's big tyres following road imperfections, but the adaptive suspension system that helps it stand bolt upright in corners can – at the press of a button – be made supple enough to take the sting out of potholes and cushion you from rough sections of road.

What’s more, the 2024 tweaks lessened the car’s tendency to fidget over scruffy sections of road when the softer mode is selected. In fact, the only thing to blot its copybook as a cruiser is a bit of wind and road noise at motorway speeds – the RS4 is better in this regard.

Driving overview

Strengths Blistering acceleration; accurate, perfectly weighted steering

Weaknesses Auto gearbox can hesitate when driven gently; brakes feel a touch vague

Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The Alfa Romeo Giulia QV’s standard-fit electrically adjustable driver’s seat is set low and allows you to adopt a sporty, hunkered-down position. What's more, it's matched with a highly adjustable steering wheel, which has a pleasingly slim rim and is placed nicely in line with the pedals and seat.

It's also worth noting that – for a hefty premium – you can have carbon-fibre framed sports front seats, which are brilliantly supportive. They're worth the extra if you can find it, because otherwise the interior looks a little too similar to that of the significantly cheaper Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce.

As with the rest of the Giulia range, the QV places a crisp-looking 12.3in digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel. It's not as customisable as the display in the Audi RS4 Avant, but it adds a track-optimised QV mode to the usual Evolved, Relax and Heritage settings (Heritage hat-tips the analogue dials in the Giulia of the 1960s).

Raw woven carbon-fibre trim adds visual appeal, but while the material quality of the interior and its controls won’t have you feeling short-changed, they can’t match the classy feel of those of the RS4 or BMW M3, let alone the Porsche Taycan.

On the other hand, there's no faulting how easy the QV’s controls are to use, not least the central dials dedicated to the climate control system. Adjusting the settings is a breeze on the move.

Plus, the infotainment system is far less distracting than the ones in the RS4 and Taycan because, in addition to an 8.8in touchscreen, you get a rotary controller located on the centre console. 

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring are included as standard, and we like the Performance Pages feature, which shows turbo pressure, power output, a track timer and the temperatures of the main mechanical components in real time (useful if you take your car on a track).

That said, the system is not perfect – the display is a bit dim and muddy, it’s not graphically rich and it’s slower to respond to inputs than the M3's.

Interior overview

Strengths Controls are simple to use; digital driver’s display looks good and works well; rotary controller makes infotainment less distracting

Weaknesses Infotainment graphics are a little dated; material quality not quite up there with the class best

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The Giulia QV is just like a standard Alfa Romeo Giulia when it comes to space and practicality. That means it's not the easiest of saloons to climb into, with a fairly low roofline and low-set seats, but once you’re in, it caters fairly well for four adult occupants.

The front sports seats are quite wide, and elbow and shoulder room are good. There are plenty of cubbyholes to stow your odds and ends, including a sizeable space under the centre armrest, plus a pair of cup-holders in front of the gear selector.

In the back, too, there’s a reasonable amount of leg room – fractionally more than in the BMW M3 – and there’s room for feet under the front seats. Head room is merely okay, so if you frequently carry six-footers, you might want to consider the Audi RS4 Avant (although it's nowhere near as exciting to drive).

We were able to fit six carry-on suitcases into the Giulia QV’s boot, whereas the RS4 and M3 will take seven cases each with room to spare.

Handily, though, Alfa Romeo gives you a 40/20/40 split folding rear seat as standard, with release levers in the boot. You’ll need to give the seats a bit of a shove to fold them down, but it’s still less of a faff than walking around to the rear doors to reach the catch.

Practicality overview

Strengths Supportive and highly adjustable sports front seats; decent interior storage; slightly more rear leg room than in an M3

Weaknesses Six-footers will find rear space adequate, rather than generous; narrow door aperture and low roof hampers access

Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio costs a little more to buy outright than an Audi RS4 Avant or BMW M3 but at least it offers a comparable amount of standard equipment.

As a result, there’s no need to go crazy on the options list: 19in alloy wheels, xenon headlights and cruise control are all included.

Expect high servicing costs and frightening fuel economy, though. The Giulia QV averaged just 23.5mpg in our Real MPG tests, and in our experience, the RS4 is more fuel efficient.

Looking further down the line, it's expected to depreciate at a similar rate to the M3, which helps keep PCP finance rates competitive. Make sure you check for the best prices on our New Car Deals pages.

As for safety, automatic emergency braking technology (AEB) with pedestrian detection is fitted as standard, along with blind-spot monitoring, a lane-departure warning system and rear cross-path detection to alert you to approaching cars when reversing.

In addition, Euro NCAP awarded the standard Alfa Romeo Giulia a full five-star safety rating back in 2016. It outperformed the Audi A4 in the adult occupant protection test, although there were a few issues noted that weakened child occupant protection. Note, though, that the Giulia's rating has expired and was done when safety tests were less stringent than today.

We don’t have reliability data for the QV specifically, but the regular Giulia performed poorly in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey coming 23rd out of 24 executive cars surveyed. Alfa Romeo as a brand finished 31st out of 32 manufacturers featured.

Costs overview

Strengths Likely to hold value as well as the BMW M3

Weaknesses Poor reliability; pricier to buy outright than direct rivals

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Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior driver display

FAQs

  • No, the engine in the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a V6, but it's turbocharged, which helps it produce more than 500bhp.

  • The engine in the Giulia Quadrifoglio is derived from Ferrari’s F154 unit, which is found in models such as the F8 and SF90. However, in the Quadrifoglio it has two less cylinders.

  • The Giulia Quadrifoglio can officially accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.9sec, while at our test track we managed 0-60mph in just 3.7sec. Top speed is 190mph, so it's by far the quickest variant of the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £78,315
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Nearly new deals
From £36,998
RRP price range £78,315 - £78,315
Number of trims (see all)1
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 32.8 - 32.8
Available doors options 4
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £2,829 / £5,951
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £5,658 / £11,902
Available colours