The Alfa Romeo 4C is the car you run off with for a weekend, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is the one you marry, because you will never get that lucky again.
Alfa Romeo has its legions of loyal fans who stood by it when things weren’t going so well, now they can confidently assert that Alfa Romeo are producing cars that deserve passion and loyalty, justified by the sheer exhilarating performance of the Quadrifoglio.
Quadrifoglio stands for the four leaf clover emblem that Ugo Sivocci painted on his Alfa Romeo RL in which he won the
Targa Florio race in 1923. It has become their symbol for automotive quality and passion that Alfa reserve for their proudest creations. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a four door saloon, an attractive one, but the quality lies hidden below the surface. The Quadrifoglio is a lion masquerading as a lamb.
Fiat Chrysler have invested over €500 million in new engines, signalling their strategy to increase competition with the well known German car brands. Alfa Romeo is a core part of Fiat Chrysler’s ambitious five-year €48 billion turnaround plan. This is immediately apparent on driving the Quadrifoglio the first time, it is sensational. But first let’s look at the specs. It has a 2.9 V6 bi-turbo engine with 510bhp and 600Nm, an eight speed automatic gearbox, accelerates from 0-62 in just 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 191mph. Combined fuel consumption is 34.4mpg rising to 49.6mpg for extra urban, which is impressive for such a powerful car. They disactivate one of the four cylinders when not needed to conserve fuel.
Beneath the hood there are a large amount of actions being performed that transform you into a racing superstar. The Quadrifoglio has a Chassis Domain Control system that alters the torque, front aero, braking, and suspension to get the very best performance out of the car. Take the front aero, a carbon shelf under the front bumper that extends over 62mph improving downforce and stability, especially on curves. It has rear wheel drive with a front mounted engine and the weight is distributed 50/50 so the balance is superb. The torque to the two rear shafts is optimally assigned, thanks to an electronically controlled differential with two clutches, which means that the traction is unbelievably impressive for a car at this price point. The differential can assign 100% of drive to either wheel!
The twin turbo V6 engine in the Alfa is closely modelled on Ferrari’s 3.9 litre twin turbo V8 and you can hear that in both dynamic and race mode. The eight speed automatic gearbox is barely detectable in A mode but super fast in Dynamic mode, let alone Race mode, where the Ferrari ancestry is clearly discernible in the shrill scream of the engine. Race mode gives you staccato shotgun explosions from the exhaust and power to gladden the boy racer buried deep within us.
The body is a mixture of high strength steel, with the wings and doors in aluminium and the roof and bonnet in carbon fibre. There are many carbon fibre touches in the interior too, such as the doors, dash, console and steering wheel. Alfa Romeo now come fifth in What Car’s reliability test beating all other European and American cars, the top four are all Japanese, relegating worries of resale value to the past. The interior is pretty luxurious with the sweeping leather shelf above the dash, carbon fibre touches and carbon shell sports seats by Sparco that keep you rock steady in the turns.
It has the normal drive mode DNA settings found in the Giulia, only as in Spinal Tap it gives you one more for the Quadrifoglio, eleven instead of ten, the Race button. In Race mode it throws off the saloon car mask and reveals itself as a supercar. A were-wolf in sheep’s clothing. The engine sputters and roars as you accelerate, it screams as you brake, it’s an Italian opera, a symphony of pistons, leather and carbon fibre. Yes, I’m ranting, but drive this and you’ll be monologuing like a Marvel super villain, just before you get taken down. It is an exceptional drive, the performance is intoxicating, it’s just that good.
The DNA setting is more than a gimmick, I used it constantly according to the traffic and my mood. “A” (eco mode) for errands and long roads, “N” for towns and Dynamic for country roads and for pleasure (it sounds lovely in Dynamic mode). Race mode is strictly for showing off the engine sound, or the track, it’s seriously for supercar action only.
The power of that V6 turbo engine and the dynamic traction make this car so agile and nimble, you feel like a ballerina on steroids, able to leap anywhere with the simple decline of your foot. It’s hard to be objective about this Quadrifoglio, it is seductive, beguiling you with flawless efficiency. The steering is tight, you can feel the road direction in minute detail, video game perfect, defying real world physics. The balance for a front engine car is unreal. You point it round a corner and it somehow shifts gravity, as if pulling the road up to form a curved bank beneath you, pivoting on a sixpence. The rear wheel drive is harmoniously balanced giving you lots of power and exceptional traction, but you can slide it if you get it just right.
Alfa Romeo is showing that they know how to build cars, the Ferrari connection helps too. It’s about Italian flair and style, instilling an emotional connection between car and driver, pursuing passion and pleasure, making driving not just a chore but more of a journey. This is their strength and their niche and should bring a lot more fans into the Alfa Romeo fold.
That in the end is what makes this car the all round winner and best car in its category. It can be the family saloon, or a grand tourer, but it can also be a genuine supercar when required. And it does all three well, it may not turn every head, but it turns those that know something about cars. The admiring glances you get from automotive fans warms the cockles nicely. Oh and yes people really do let you through in traffic, Alfa gets respect that some other car manufacturers just don’t. A gentleman’s car, it doesn’t shout loud and flash, but it has the flash under the bonnet. This is a supercar for grownups and I would love to see a convertible version.
We also took the Quadrifoglio along to an Excellence Group event et Emsworth Polo grounds, a private and exclusive venue in Windsor, with a plethora of supercars, including Aston Martin, Jaguar, Bentley and Ferrari, where it attracted many admirers, both for its looks and reputation.
In summary this car looks pretty good, but it is the performance that is simply ground breaking. Alfa Romeo has invested €5 billion to create a range of cars that will compete with BMW, Mercedes and Audi. The Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio is the result of this extreme research and development. Essentially you are getting a high performance supercar for the price of an executive saloon. If you want a car that conveys professionalism on the outside but offers superlative performance then this is the best car in its bracket. You swiftly get used to incredible road holding, balance and speed, supplied by the formidable drivetrain and suspension. If it’s performance and passion you are after, the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio is the one to fall in love with.
Starting price is £61,000 and my version had options totalling £3,355.