UK Drive: The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio remains a superb sports saloon

Alfa Romeo has tweaked its hot Giulia model in-line with the rest of the range, but can it improve greatness? Ted Welford finds out

Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio

What is it?

Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
(Alfa Romeo)

Few cars have been quite so universally praised in recent years as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

This sports saloon was a solid return to form for this Italian manufacturer, which while renowned for its sporting models in the past, seemed to have somewhat lost its way in more modern times.

But while the driving experience was frankly superb, the all-round package fell short of the mark – lagging behind rivals from BMW and Mercedes when it came to interior quality and technology. It’s something Alfa Romeo has worked to improve on this latest car, but does it succeed?

What’s new?

Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
(Alfa Romeo)

Essentially this is an update aiming to bring the Giulia closer to its competitors. Following on from revisions to the standard saloon model, the latest car gets a new infotainment system, which while housed in the same 8.8-inch screen, is much better to use than before.

Alfa Romeo has also worked to improve quality – removing some of the alarmingly cheap materials found in the predecessor with much more premium-feeling materials that certainly bring the Giulia closer to the quality you expect from a car of this price.

What’s under the bonnet?

Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
(Alfa Romeo)

But one thing that hasn’t changed about the Giulia Quadrifoglio is its engine.

And thank goodness for that as this is one of the best on offer today – a mighty 2.9-litre biturbo V6 petrol unit that develops 503bhp and 600Nm of torque. It’s characterful, vocal and a sublime asset to this saloon.

An ultra-quick eight-speed automatic gearbox makes you question why you’d ever want to change gear yourself, while all that power is sent to the rear wheels (there’s no ‘safe’ all-wheel-drive system here). The sprint to 60mph takes just 3.7 seconds, while Alfa Romeo says the Quadrifoglio is capable of a top speed of 191mph.

What’s it like to drive?

Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
(Alfa Romeo)

The Giulia Quadrifoglio is one of those cars that really keeps you on your toes for sure, as with all that power being delivered to the rear wheels, it can be a handful at times – not least when we tested it in winter.

But this all adds to this Alfa Romeo’s character – it’s not safe and sensible, but superbly involving, entertaining and agile, with perfectly-judged steering,

Another thing you’ll be struck by here is just how comfortable it is. Leave it in the ‘N’ setting, which is best for everyday driving, and it’s impressive just how compliant the ride is. And while that engine might be lairy and vocal when you ask it to be, if you want to cruise, it’s happy to do that – and is now noticeably improved by additional driver assistance kit, such as adaptive cruise control.

How does it look?

Alfa Romeos are all about glamour and the Giulia Quadrifoglio combines that perfectly with the aggression expected in a performance car.

It’s perfectly sculpted, with its trademark Alfa triangular grille, offset number plate and swoopy profile making it truly look the part.

Design-wise, not a lot has changed as part of the latest update, but you now get tinted LED rear lights and new gloss black badging. We’re not quite sure such changes were strictly necessary, but it certainly doesn’t detract from the overall look.

What’s the interior like?

Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
(Alfa Romeo)

As we mentioned earlier, it’s really the interior where the Giulia has changed. On face value, you might question what alterations have been made if you saw it next to a pre-facelift model, but spend some time in it and you quickly appreciate the updates.

The 8.8-inch media screen can now be operated by touch as well as as with a rotary controller, with new menus and displays making it far better to use. The steering wheel and gearstick are now leather rather than hard plastic, too, while a redesigned centre console provides greater storage, as well as a new wireless charging plate. The quality has certainly improved, though it still lacks that ultimate finesse you get on rivals like the Mercedes-AMG C63.

What’s the spec like?

Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
(Alfa Romeo)

Prices for the Giulia Quadfiglio certainly aren’t cheap, and start from £67,195 for the standard car, though the price can quickly skyrocket if you aren’t careful with the options list. Some stunning carbon-backed seats look the part, but add another £3,250 to the cost, while an Akrapovic sports exhaust will set you back similar.

Standard equipment most certainly isn’t sparse, though, as the Quadrifoglio comes with features such as Bi-Xenon headlights, electric leather and Alcantara sports seats, and lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels included.

Verdict

Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
(Alfa Romeo)

We hazard a guess that anyone who bought a pre-update Giulia Quadrifoglio couldn’t have cared less about the quality and technology misgivings, but instead were doing so just for the magical way that this Alfa Romeo looks and drives.

The Italian marque knew the positives needed no finessing, so it’s instead the cabin that’s had an overhaul and it’s most certainly for the better. While it’s still not quite as ‘premium’ as the offerings the German brands can muster, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a better all-round package than ever, and remains so exhilarating behind the wheel that you just won’t care if the BMW and Mercedes have a slightly nicer dashboard.

  • Model: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
  • Price as tested: £71,300
  • Engine: 2.9-litre biturbo V6 petrol
  • Power: 503bhp
  • Torque: 600Nm
  • Max speed: 191mph
  • 0-60mph: 3.7 seconds
  • MPG: 27.2mpg
  • Emissions: 191g/km CO2

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