Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
By Bill McCarthy
A beautifully styled saloon with explosive pace, but without the huge spoilers and air scoops associated with with some other hot performers, Alfa’s firecracker Quadrifoglio throws down a huge challenge to its sporty competitors, particularly the Germans in the shape of M Sport, AMG and RS.
Okay, it does have spoilers, air scoops, carbon bits and pieces and bright shiny trim, but in an altogether more subtle manner.
Like many Alfas it is impossibly good looking in its Competizione red livery, dark alloy wheels and familiar Alfa shield grille, with the four tail pipes and the seemingly innocuous four-leaf clover logo, or Quadrifoglio, that gives it its name, a clue to the power lurking under the bonnet.
It also features LED rear light clusters with dark lenses plus glossy black front and rear badges, deeper bumpers
Performance is outrageous from the six-cylinder 2.9 litre beast which delivers 510bhp and an astonishing 600Nm of torque. It can it 60 mph in under four seconds and on to a racetrack-devouring 191mph. True supercar performance.
Startling performance, but there is much to it than that. A full-sized family saloon with superb driving dynamics, a comfortable ride in normal circumstances and practical with a huge boot split folding rear seats to increase the alread spacious 480 litres.
This Quad model has a more heavyweight, muscular look with stunning dark 19-inch alloy wheels with (optional) yellow brake calipers, lowered suspension and deeper bumpers front and rear.
The interior too is a delight, echoing the sport theme with leather/Alcantara powered seats with contrasting stitching, sports pedals and gearshift and with carbon fibre materials to complement the soft touch finish.
The finish to doors and dash, leather seats and ambient lighting giving the vehicle a real upmarket feel, with plenty of head and legroom, despite the sloping roofline.
Centrepoint is a resdesigned dash featuring the 8.8-inch Alfa Connect with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, plus DAB radio, 3D Nav, MP3, Aux-i and Bluetooth.
Major controls can also be selected by touch or the rotary controller on the centre console, while he neat multi-function steering wheel which also has a novel touch with the starter button.
But the big appeal of the Quad is performance, taking a smart, large saloon from early £30k price tag to almost double that at around £65k for hair-raising performance.
Mated to a super-slick eight speed dual clutch transmission, the V6 roars into life under hard acceleration. The 60mph sprint is dismissed in under four seconds and its about then you have to start putting the brakes on, before you’ve really got going.
To cope with all the power, the adaptive suspension does what it says on the tin, together with accurate and responsive steering keeping the car straight and true, particularly on sharp bends. It’s a riot to drive and selecting the steering wheel paddles on heightens the thrill. Given that it is rear-wheel drive, which the purists will love, traction and stability are remarkable.
Calm it all down and the V6 roar recedes to a burble and the suspension adapts to new driving conditions for that trip to the supermarket, school gates or lengthy motorway journey.
Considering the power under the bonnet, economy is not too shabby either with around 28mpg.
Such a powerful car needs plenty of safety kit and it is packed with safety features including ADAS an autonomous driving system which allows the driver gives to surrender control of the accelerator, brakes and steering under certain conditions.
The idea is the electronic systems gives greater comfort on long journeys, but the driver must continuously remain in control, always keeping their hands on the steering wheel.
Other kit includes lane keep and active blind spot assist, active cruise control, traffic sign recognition and intelligent speed control, traffic jam and highway assist and driver drowsiness alert.precision of the steering.
This Alfa is a winner in so many ways, power, pace, practicality, packed with standard kit, impossible good looks, and yes, even half decent economy. A real firecracker of an alternative.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Mechanical: 510bhp, 2891cc, six cylinder bi-turbo charged petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8 speed auto gearbox
Max speed: 191mph
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Combined mpg: 27.2
CO2 emissions: 202g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/unimited miles