Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio: long-term test review
It’s far from perfect, but I’ve already set aside the Giulia’s drawbacks and have fallen for the Alfa’s charms, both dynamically and in the detail. I admire it every time I drive it, which is a recipe for a great relationship.
I’m not the type that’s prone to grand displays of affection. Just ask my girlfriend. But I’ll make an exception for the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio I’ve started running on our fleet, because I’ve already entered into a whirlwind romance with this Italian sports saloon. It’s fantastic.
There are some things that the Alfa Romeo doesn’t do well, but I’ve been able to see past these points for now, because the Giulia is so good when it comes to what I like in a car, I don’t mind.
When the world goes all-electric, we’ll miss engines like the Alfa’s 503bhp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6. It blares and barks and is rev-hungry for a turbo motor. It gives the car character, and this is what I’ve fallen for. And on that subject, even if you covered the badge, I think I’d know this was an Italian car. There’s that age-old cliché of passion and soul when it comes to Italian vehicles, and it’s partly true here.
I won’t go into great detail as to how the Giulia Quadrifoglio drives, because that’s a known quantity, and we love it here at Auto Express. It genuinely cuts it with BMW M, Mercedes-AMG and Audi RS models on merit, and that’s not always been the case with even the most focused Alfa Romeos. The fast steering, that engine and the detailing are all brilliant.
OK, so you’d have to cover the nice Italian flag insignia in the carbon-fibre centre console, too, but the green-and-white stitching, glossy carbon fibre, cool aluminium shift paddles and subtle badging inside make the Giulia feel special and highlight to me that it’s something a little exceptional.
For £73,999 you’d expect so as well, which does serve to highlight some minor flaws, such as the infotainment. Even though it’s been updated over the original car with this facelifted model, it still isn’t a rival for the best in the business. But it works, I can get Radio 4 and my phone connects quickly every time I get in the car, so it meets a minimum standard for me.
I’ve already pushed its practicality with a trip to the Lake District over the Easter bank holiday, and while my passengers felt there could have been a little more room in the rear, the 480-litre boot took lots of luggage, even if the boot lid does clang shut with a vibration when you slam it.
These drawbacks disappear once you get moving, though. That soundtrack reels you in and on some superb and surprisingly quiet Lakeland roads I really discovered what I love about the Giulia Quadrifoglio. The motor, steering and chassis are all perfectly suited to each other. It’s a great road car, balancing just the right amount of control when it comes to the ride in Dynamic or Race mode, and offering a level of forgiveness with the active suspension in its softest setting that made the long journey north from Buckinghamshire feel like a simple, short hop.
This is where the Alfa Romeo bucks the traditional national stereotype. In the past you might have had to make compromises dynamically for either the styling (I think it looks brilliant, by the way – especially in this spec, with Misano Blue paint, grey wheels and yellow brake calipers), or one element of the package might have overshadowed the others, but that’s not so here.
It offers something different to German rivals, which are very competent technically, but maybe not quite as full of personality; and the Giulia in all forms has always felt different to the very British Jaguar XE.
I never get tired of jumping into it, the sunlight glinting off the bare carbon fibre of the bonnet’s construction, just visible from the driver’s seat. After just over 1,400 miles in the car, I keep discovering these little points, which I’m really enjoying.
Less so the average fuel economy, which at 24.9mpg is not so great when I’ve covered many constant-speed long journeys, but that is to be expected given the performance on offer. I expect that fuel economy figure to drop quite considerably once I get the Giulia on track, which I’m hoping to do this summer, to really explore its true colours.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
On fleet since:
2.9-litre twin-turbo v6, 503bhp
227g/km / £520
Misano blue metallic (£700), 19-inch dark five-hole alloy wheels (£550), black seats with ice and green stitching (no cost option)
Group: 46 Quote: £1,278
None so far
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