Alfa Romeo returns to its competition roots with this car, the Giulia Quadrifoglio. In many ways, it’s the ultimate Italian super saloon.
Over the last decade, there’s been regrettably little from the Alfa Romeo regarding powerful sports cars and super saloons. At the launch of the Milanese marque’s important Giulia saloon in 2016 though, we saw a car that represented just that. The Giulia Quadrifoglio.
This model certainly has a proper engineering CV. Its V6 engine is inspired by a Ferrari V8 – and it was developed by an ex-Ferrari engineer too, Philippe Krief, the man behind the Maranello brand’s much admired 456. The Quadrifoglio (or ‘Cloverleaf’) badge is one the Italian maker applies only to its most focused models. And its use is certainly justified here. In early 2020, this model was lightly revised – and that’s the car we’re going to look at here.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Driving Experience
The engineering of this car hasn’t changed in this lightly updated form. Under the bonnet lies a 2.9-litre petrol V6 Biturbo that’s essentially a cut-down version of the 4.0-litre V8 used in Maranello’s 488 GTB. It develops a thundering 510bhp. Which at the time of this test was an output matched only by the upgraded and much pricier ‘S’ version of this model’s other most obvious rival, the Mercedes-AMG C 63. This Alfa storms to 62mph in a 3.9s time that identically matches that Merc. Should you find yourself a track or a stretch of unrestricted autobahn, it’ll keep powering on up to 190mph.
Alfa’s thrown all the performance technology it has at this halo model, though interestingly, not its Q4 4WD system. Not for our market anyway. In lieu of that, ‘Active Torque Vectoring’ helps get the power down through the bends. ‘Active Suspension’ varies the damping and ‘Alfa Chassis Domain Control’ connects the different systems to deliver the best set-up as the car is being driven. There’s also an ‘Alfa Active Aero’ system that alters the angle of the front splitter. Helping this model scythe through the air more cleanly. Plus the ‘DNA’ drive modes system gets an extra ‘Race’ setting for tyre-smoking starts. Other markets get a manual gearbox option but an 8-speed paddleshift auto transmission is mandatory for the UK.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Design and Build
The Giulia’s sleek design complements the Quadrifoglio’s sporty appearance. The facelift update includes LED rear lights with dark lenses, glossy black front and rear badges, and unique 19-inch wheels with black aluminum calipers. The car also has a powerful rear air diffuser and black gloss window surrounds.
At the front, piercing bi-xenon headlamps give the car some serious overtaking presence. And at the rear, there are LED tail lamps, plus a sports exhaust with quad tail pipes. The stuff you can’t see is more important though. Namely the use of ultra-lightweight materials in this variant’s structure, including carbon fibre for the bonnet, roof, front splitter, rear spoiler and body inserts. As well as aluminium for the doors and wings.
Inside, with this revised model, there’s a new 12.3-inch instrument screen. As before, the centre console has been adapted to offer greater tactile and visual impact, while also providing more storage space. A redesigned leather trimmed steering wheel and gear stick are standard and customers can choose to option red or green seat belts. The cabin is set apart with sports seats upholstered in a leather-and-alcantara combination. The dashboard and the door panels are also wrapped in stitched leather and there are carbon fibre inserts around the fascia. Plus you get aluminium kick plates and an ambient lighting set-up for a classy feel after dark. Otherwise, it’s the usual Giulia interior package. Design is centred around the driver and the main controls grouped together on the small steering wheel.
The 8.8-inch center-dash touchscreen features connected services and a new interface design. Only on Quadrifoglio models, the center display shows performance data like component temperatures, torque delivery, turbo pressure, and power usage. It also includes digital chronometers for measuring acceleration and speed, giving the driver real-time performance and vehicle status information.
When it’s time to take a seat in the rear, taller folk might find access hindered a little by the swept-back roofline. Still, the rear door opens decently wide. Once inside, you’ll find that there’s a decent amount of back seat space by class standards, with plenty of space to push forward your feet beneath the front chairs. Out back, there’s a 480-litre boot.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Market an Model
This Quadrifoglio variant, as you’d expect from its exalted price tag (around £75,000), comes with its own unique specification. That encompasses 19-inch alloy wheels, Bi-xenon headlamps and dark-tinted rear windows. The car features black aluminum brake calipers, quad sports exhausts, and a sports bumper with an ‘Alfa Active Aero’ system. ‘Active Torque Vectoring’, ‘Active Suspension’, and ‘Alfa Chassis Domain Control’ improve the car’s performance while driving.
Inside, the car features a leather and alcantara combination upholstery, carbon fiber dash trim, individual rear seats, and a red starter button on the steering wheel. The ‘DNA’ driving modes controller has a ‘Race Mode’ setting. The car also has an 8.8-inch ‘AlfaConnect’ center-dash infotainment screen with built-in navigation, ‘Apple CarPlay’/’Android Auto’ smartphone-mirroring and an 8-speaker DAB audio system. It also has a rear view camera and an alarm.
The updated model includes advanced driver assistance systems such as Level 2 autonomy. The safety features include Lane Keep assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Control, Driver Attention Assist and Traffic Jam Assist and Highway Assist.
The car comes with a 3-year warranty, 3 years of AA Contact support, and the option of an ‘Easy Care Servicing Plan’ covering labor, parts, and fluids. Insurance is expensive, in group 46.
The Cost of Owning a Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
The Quadrifoglio super saloon variant has a cylinder deactivation system that improves its fuel efficiency. Its WLTP figures are similar to a Mercedes-AMG C 63. The car has a ‘Advanced Efficiency’ ‘DNA’ system driving mode for better fuel consumption. The car also has a fuel consumption display and an ‘Efficient Drive’ eco-coaching system that grades the driver’s fuel efficiency.
We can’t help being reminded here of another car developed by a premium Fiat Group brand with Maranello assistance, the Lancia Thema 8.32, known popularly as the ‘Thema Ferrari’ and produced between 1984 and 1994. That car used a 3.0-litre V8 that developed around a third of the power boasted by this Giulia Quadrifoglio. Time has moved on – and how.
You could argue that this top Giulia doesn’t offer anything you can’t already get from a rival Mercedes-AMG C 63 and in some ways that’s true. But this Alfa delivers its performance in an even more beguiling way – and of course it’s much rarer. One for collectors we think. If you are interested in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio enquire now.