Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Love at First Sight
After a soft launch back into the Canadian market with the 4C Coupe and Roadster, Alfa Romeo is bringing the mid-size Giulia here with three trim levels, including the halo Quadrifoglio model.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Beautiful styling and over-the-top performance make this a desirable premium sports sedan.
- What’s Worst: The electromechanical brake system is touchy.
- What’s Interesting: Four-leaf clovers adorn the upper front fenders as a symbol of good luck.
It was love at first sight when I was handed the keys to the brilliant Trofeo white 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.
Perhaps its that sense of intrigue with the legendary Italian brand that is just starting to get a foothold in the Canadian market again after an absence of nearly 20 years.
As a youngster I remember seeing Alfas on our roads and thinking to myself how beautiful they looked and sounded.
It’s no different today as the Giulia Quadrifoglio stands out in any crowd, drawing glances wherever it goes.
Some people have a presence when they enter a room; the Giulia Quadrifoglio has one on the road.
For some admirers, it’s the Quadrifoglio name that adds to the exotic nature of the new Alfa.
Quadrifoglio actually means four-leaf clover, hence the green clover symbols that adorn the upper fenders of the car. They have been included on many of Alfa Romeo’s high-performance models since the 1920s as a symbol of good luck.
Now you’re not likely to see many Alfa Romeos in your day-to-day commute, as the dealer network in Canada is still relatively small. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is starting from scratch again with the Alfa brand in North America.
In all, there are just 12 retailers in Canada stretching from Victoria B.C in the west to Quebec City in the east.
With the Giulia, a mid-size premium performance sedan, Alfa Romeo brings us three trim levels with the Quadrifoglio being the halo vehicle of the bunch.
Prices start at $48,995 for the base Giulia, jumping to $50,995 for the Giulia Ti and then $87,995 for the crème de la crème Quadrifiglio that we tested.
It’s quite a price jump, but when you consider key pieces of the vehicle come from big brother Ferrari, things begin to come into focus. Drive the Quadrifoglio and you realize this is not just another luxury sedan, but something special.
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Power comes from a 2.9-litre twin turbo V6, which is essentially a Ferrari V8 minus two cylinders.
But who’s to know as the unique Alfa power plant pumps out 505 hp and 443 lb/ft of torque, enough to take the car from 0-100 km/h in about 3.9 seconds through an eight-speed automatic gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels.
The Quadrifoglio handles the twisties as well or better than any of its competition that includes the likes of the BMW M3, Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 and the Cadillac ATS-V.
Crafted at a plant in Frosinone, Italy, the Giulia Quadrifoglio has near perfect 50:50 weight distribution, segment leading torsional rigidity and the most direct steering ratio on the market thanks in part to Giulia’s new rear-wheel drive architecture.
The 2017 Giulias are the first of a new generation of vehicles using the new platform and the Quadrifoglio as the halo car is a testament to the motorsports history of the Alfa brand.
Climb into the cabin of the Quadrifoglio and you’re greeted by beautiful looking performance leather Alcantara seats and a carbon fibre Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel (a $600 option) that fits your hands like a glove.
The bright red engine start button is on the steering wheel, a la Ferrari.
One of the first hints that this is a special car is found on the centre console where the Alfa Romeo DNA Pro drive mode selector is located.
From that selector you can set the car up to match your driving pleasure, even boasting a Race mode that turns off stability and traction control, leaving the driver in complete control of the action.
Other modes include Natural for everyday use, Advanced Efficiency that uses cylinder deactivation (from 6 to 4) when power isn’t required and Dynamic, which delivers performance with near instant accelerator response and reduced gearshift times.
Feeling at one with the car is what makes the Giulia Quadrifoglio a driver’s delight. Steering weight and feel is superb and power seems nearly instantaneous with little turbo lag perceptible.
The cabin is beautifully finished, quiet a speed and comfortable for front seat passengers. Pull those seats forward and rear seat legroom is adequate as we found during an evening outing with friends for dinner.
Although this is an extremely likeable car, the Giulia is not without its negatives.
The wide doorsills may look nice from a design standpoint, but they are difficult to climb over when exiting the cabin— I can just imagine the messy pant legs in winter.
The navigation and infotainment system is finicky to use, certainly in comparison to FCA’s own Uconnect system that we encountered in our next test vehicle, a Pacifica Hybrid.
Lastly, the brakes have a strange feel and I found it difficult to brake smoothly without coming to a jolting stop at low speeds. Perhaps it’s a case of practice makes perfect on this front.
These quibbles aside, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a car I would love to have parked in my garage.
Beautiful styling, superb performance and racecar DNA from an iconic Italian automaker combine to make the Giulia Quadrifoglio a halo car for Alfa Romeo.
2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
BODY STYLE: Four-door mid-size premium luxury sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 2.9-litre 24-valve twin turbo V6 (505 hp, 443 lb/ft of torque) with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
CARGO CAPACITY: 339 litres.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 13.8/9.6/11.9 L/100 km city/hwy/combined.
PRICE: $87,995, as tested $97,340 including $2,495 destination charge.
WEB SITE: www.alfaromeo.ca