We’ve driven our share of Italian exotics over the years, and wringing those high dollar hot rods out around a race track, is truly one of the best parts of this job. But what about an Italian sport sedan? One that brings level of exotic performance and passion to the traditional European sport sedan. We think this Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is that car. Now, we have a chance to prove it!
The traditional European sport sedan segment is a tough one to break into. Sure, American and Asian brands like Cadillac and Lexus have been able to make some headway, but all entrants eventually get compared to BMW. That’s how it has always been, and probably how it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. So, that’s where Alfa Romeo finds itself with the 2017 Giulia.
Having already sampled the full Giulia lineup a few months back, this time around we’re focusing on the high-performance Quadrifoglio version with some track time at Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah, Georgia.
But first a quick refresher on what got us here to this point. 2015 saw Alfa return to our market for real, with the two-seat 4C. 2017 brings a more mainstream offering, the Giulia sedan, which Alfa hopes will have greater appeal.
The footprint of this Italian Stallion is very similar to its Teutonic rivals; having the same wheelbase as the Audi A4 at 111.0-inches, and overall length very close to the BMW 3-series.
Its exterior design is sporty but not overwrought; with proportions that directly portray its rear-drive architecture and 50:50 weight distribution.
The hi-pro Quadrifoglio further broadcasts its performance intentions with carbon fiber for the hood, roof, side sills, active front spoiler, and rear spoiler; as well as 19-inch wheels over Brembo brakes.
But the real headliner of this act lies beneath that hood. It’s only the most powerful engine ever crammed into a production Alfa, a Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that whips up 505-horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque.
Filling out the Quadrifoglio bill is an adjustable performance suspension and Race mode added to Alfa’s DNA drive modes.
So, off to the track we go…
First impressions, well steering is much lighter than you might be expecting. In fact, the whole car feels very light. And that turbo-6, incredibly responsive.
So when you combine the super-sensitive steering and throttle, it makes for a fun but challenging ride; as it feels a bit edgy and unpredictable, much like a true Italian exotic. You have to stay on top of, and a bit ahead of this car when you’re behind the wheel, and we like that.
The transmission is an 8-speed ZF automatic. Gears go by quickly, and sometimes it seems to shift right when you’re really making good power. But those shifts are very fast with little drop off before the next gear starts pouring on the steam. Bonus points for well-placed paddles shifters too.
Take it out of Track mode and go with Dynamic mode, things are a little more slow to respond and predictable.
Brakes were very strong throughout our track days, we’d only wish a touch more feel and a stiffer pedal. But our test car did not feature the available Carbon Ceramic upgrade.
In straight line testing, with launch mode engaged, the Quadrifoglio is eager to please. A smooth launch was not as torquey as expected, but it enables you to get away cleanly with limited wheel spin before the power really starts coming on.
We hit 60 in a swift 3.8-seconds, and completed the ¼-mile in 12.0-seconds flat at 120 miles-per-hour. Things are pretty muted in the cabin, but those you pass on the track or on the street will get a great taste of Italian exhaust note.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 17-City, 24-Highway, and 20-Combined. That makes for an unfortunate Energy Impact Score of 16.5-barrels of oil burned annually with CO2 emissions of 7.5-tons.
Needless to say, this is a pricey piece of performance machinery, starting at $73,595. But if your performance needs are not as great and you’re just looking for a little Italian style in a 4-door, base Giulia’s are available for as little as $38,990 and you can even add all-wheel-drive.
The 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a bold entry into a segment that can use some fresh blood. You may have noticed we resisted saying it goes head-to-head with a BMW M3 or any other hot shoe 4-door. That’s because we think it deserves its own, unique spot on the maxed-out sport sedan stage. Will it generate hordes of fans? Well, that’s probably wishful thinking. Still, this Ferrari-flavored sedan makes a clear statement about the thrilling benefits of going-fast the Italian way.
Engine: 2.9 liter
Torque: 443 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.0 seconds @120 mph
EPA: 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.5 tons/yr