First Drive

2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

New range-topping Alfa Romeo Giulia sees return to form for the Italian firm, but falls short of its powerful German rivals. Hemal Mistry reports

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglia

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is the 503bhp performance version of the Italian company's new compact executive saloon.

Built-on a lightweight rear-wheel-drive chassis, the Giulia is the first of a new generation of Alfas and is said to offer class-leading performance and handling.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio is pitched against German performance saloons such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63.

What’s the 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio like to drive?

The Giulia Quadrifoglio is fitted with a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. It also features a clever active torque vectoring system, which monitors and controls the amount of power being sent to each rear wheel to improve grip in fast corners.

Press the red ignition button on the leather-clad steering wheel and it ignites the Quadrifoglio’s engine to a burbling idle. It might not sound outright soulful, but it's sweet enough that you soon find yourself dabbing the accelerator for the sake of it. And it's a seriously strong engine, capable of dispatching the 0-62mph dash in 3.9sec on its way to a top speed of 190mph.

Leaving the automatic gearbox to its own devices allows for smooth changes, or you can select them manually using steering wheel-mounted paddles. Shifts are faster when you do this, although they also become more jerky. Then again, some people will probably like this because it adds to the sense of urgency when you're accelerating hard.

A rotary driving mode selector lets you choose from four settings: Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency, and Race. Selecting Dynamic, sharpens up the responses of the accelerator pedal and gearbox and stiffens up the suspension. In this mode, the Giulia is very responsive to steering inputs and delivers its power urgently. In corners the Giulia comes alive, with light but precise steering and minimal body roll.

Even in the wet, the Quadrifoglio feels assured. As well as the torque vectoring system, it has an Active Aero Splitter at the front, which helps it stick to the road, better aiding performance and grip at high speeds.

We'll need to wait until we drive the Giulia in the UK to confirm how comfortable its ride is because this drive was restricted to Alfa's test track in Italy. That said, with the car in its more comfortable Natural driving mode and using far gentler acceleration, the once savage V6 settles down nicely, and road and wind noise are largely contained.

What’s the 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio like inside?

As the range-topping Giulia, the Quadrifoglio isn't stingy on the equipment front. Our car’s standard two-tone leather and Alcantara trim give the interior a lavish feel.

However, some of its switches feel a little cheap, which is something you wouldn’t say of its German rivals.

The driver’s seat is positioned fairly low, but it is easy to adjust to find a comfortable position; the steering wheel is height and reach adjustable, too. The Giulia is spacious enough up front, and has enough room in the back to seat two adults, with only the tallest of passengers likely to struggle with head room.

The 8.8in infotainment system seems a little buried in the dashboard, and it’s not that easy to read. However, the system itself is fairly easy to navigate using its rotary control dial, even if it lacks the polish of BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI infotainment systems.

Should I buy one?

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a fast and dynamically capable car, which demonstrates that the Italian firm has rediscovered some of the magic it was once well known for.

However, this rapid compact executive saloon enters an already congested market, with some seriously stiff competition, headed up by rivals, such as the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C 63.

In truth, it doesn't feel as classy as either of those cars, but if you're prepared to put up with a few rough edges in exchange for greater exclusivity, it's well worth considering.

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What Car? says…

Rated 3 out of 5


Rivals

BMW M3 – read the full review

Mercedes-AMG C 63 – read the full review


Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Engine size 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbocharged petrol

Price from Β£55,000 (est)

Power 503bhp

Torque 443lb ft

0-62mph: 3.9 seconds

Top speed 190mph

Fuel economy 33.2mpg

CO2 output 198g/km