Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review - an all-time great and surefire future icon
It was designed to take on the BMW M3, but stole our hearts along the way – the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is masterpiece
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio has been a prominent figure within evo since it burst out onto the scene in 2017, and for good reason as quite simply, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a spectacular supersaloon.
The ingredients on their own make for interesting reading: rear-wheel drive, a 503bhp twin-turbo V6 engine, a (contextually) featherweight 1524kg kerb weight and an extremely focused chassis, but what really makes the Alfa shine is how each of these elements work together.
All of this excellence seemingly came from nowhere too, with Alfa Romeo enlisting a crack skunkworks-like team of designers and engineers to design almost every part of the Giulia from scratch without any real oversight – how Italian. It went through a (very) light update in 2020, the only notable updates being an improved digital interface, an optional Akrapovic exhaust and properly-finished gear selector, but the fundamentals remain.
Yet not only is the Quadrifoglio a great attempt at a supersaloon, it leaves plenty of the German establishment with bloody noses. And this is from a company which hasn’t competed in this sector for at least a decade, and hasn’t produced a contender for the top spot since the 1960s.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio: in detail
- Performance and 0-60 time – Thanks to the use of of carbonfibre and aluminium the Quadrifoglio is reasonably light, and as a result it hits 62mph in less than four seconds
- Engine and gearbox – The Giulia, like many great Alfas, is powered by a V6. The engine is teamed with a smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox
- Ride and handling – Powerful turbocharged rear-wheel drive cars rarely feel as approachable and exploitable as the Giulia Quadrifoglio
- MPG and running costs – Don’t expect the Quadrifoglio to be cheap to run, but despite being the expense it's almost certainly worth it
- Interior and tech – The Giulia’s Achilles' heel, its interior. It isn’t awful, but the quality is somewhat behind its rivals
- Design – Alfas are known for their pretty or bold exteriors. The Giulia isn’t the best example of this, but it's handsome and it oozes aggression
Prices, specs and rivals
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio starts from £68,995. That might seem like a lot in isolation, but the rivals have accelerated way past that entry-price, and in the Alfa's case does include an array of exotic carbonfibre body parts and components, an awful lot of power, a high-tech diff and plenty of Alcantara inside.
- BMW M3 v Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio – which is the sports saloon king?
- BMW M3 v Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio – which is the sports saloon king?
There aren’t many options, but the ones you might want to choose are expensive. Carbon ceramic brakes are a £6000 extra, although the strange pedal feel and odd low speed behaviour that comes with them could put you off spending that sum. What you will want to fork out for are the carbonfibre-backed Sparco bucket seats at £3250; not only do they look great, but they're some of the most comfortable and supportive seats in any performance car currently for sale. That new Akrapovic exhaust system is also £3250, and there's also a new carbonfibre roof option for £2000, uprated sound system at £950 and the Alcantara/Carbon steering wheel at a very reasonable £400. All-in, a fully loaded Giulia will slip just underneath the £84k mark, making it much less expensive than a similarly specced M3.
The next generation Mercedes-AMG C63 S saloon is still in the works, but very controversially will do without its V8 engine and utilise the turbo-four and electric rear axle combination AMG revealed in ealy 2021.
The BMW M3 has long been at the top of the tree in this sector and the new G80 Competition is no exception. Now producing the same power as the Alfa, its key disadvantage is a weight penalty over the featherweight Giulia, but hits back with a superb chassis and real engagement. Its engine and transmission do lack the Alfa's crispness, and the styling is a turn off for some (ok, most) but the M3 v Giulia rivalry has never been closer.
Much like it’s German rivals, the Giulia is gaining lots of attention from aftermarket tuners – its forced induction system making it relatively easy for ECU tuners to find a little more power from its engine. As well as modifying the exhaust to make it the car loud the entire time, Celtic Tuning has managed to extract 585bhp and 489lb ft of torque from the Giulia’s V6. The whole package costs just £600, too.