Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
An expensive performance saloon lives and dies by the way it drives and, in this regard, we’d argue that the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is one of the best performance cars you can buy.
Its 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine is an undeniable highlight of the Giulia QV experience, delivering a razor-sharp accelerator response with hardly any lag, despite being heavily turbocharged.
If one aspect of the car disappoints, it’s the brakes. There’s no problem with their stopping ability – the optional ceramic brakes in particular provide monumental retardation from high speed – but they could be richer in feel.
The brakes are initiated via electronics rather than hydraulics, so as you press the pedal, the initial response is a tad vague, unlike the more traditional set-ups of the Audi RS4 and the M3.
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.
Its 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 when cornering at speed. If you want to chase lap times, an M3 is grippier and even more agile in high-speed bends, although not necessarily more fun.
Alfa Romeo has fitted the Giulia QV with a clever differential on its rear axle that helps prevent power being wasted through wheelspin. Of course, if you want to break traction at the rear and steer using the accelerator, that’s possible too.
In doing so you’ll discover that, despite its enormous power output, the car’s chassis is forgiving once you get past an occasional hesitancy for the differential to lock up in low gears. This is not an issue in the M3.
Then there’s the ride. If you think a performance car will be too firm, think again. You can feel how the Giulia QV's tyres follow road imperfections, but the adaptive suspension system that helps it stand bolt upright in corners can – at the flick of a switch – be made supple enough to take the sting out of sharp ridges and cushion you from rough sections of tarmac.