It’s said one isn’t a true petrol head until one has owned an Alfa Romeo. Why? Because historically, Alfas have been as blissful to drive as excruciating to own. Apparently, grinding through the ying and yang of it all makes for a well-rounded enthusiast. At Classic Car Club, we welcome the blissful bits, but bollocks to the broken ones.
Enter the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the latest edition to enter the Italian manufacturers resurgence in the USA. She’s a rare beast – the only one for sale in America, actually – and she’s bristling with Italian looks and Ferrari DNA. That’s quite a pedigree. So, what are CCC’s first impressions? Eccezionale.
Without laboring the point too much, let’s just say it’s a rather fetching sports sedan. Unlike a lot of Italian objects we love, the Quadrifoglio isn’t a radical departure of what a sports sedan should look like, meaning there are no Countach spoilers on the hood, no Ghibli exhaust pipes pointing skyward. No Bertone 90-degree angles, no Zegato stacked lights. What we have is responsible design that creates beauty through restraint.
Take note of the athletic bulges on the hood, the chain link fencing required to keep terriers and manhole covers from being sucked into the massive, Ferrari-reminiscent air intakes and the shield-like grill, an homage to its retired pensioner, the elegant and quick Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA.
È bello da vedere.
It’s as beautiful as it is simple. Sparse. Flowing. Tailored. Modern. The Quadrigolio keeps it all neat and tidy and never shouts. But sculpted black leather seats with contrast red stitching and carbon surfaces remind you you’re in something on the sharper side of a quarter mile.
Its new, so full opinions haven’t been formed, but jeez, it’s fast. The E39 M5 is a bit of a legend at Classic Car Club. For many years, we labeled it the best sport sedan ever made. The only car in our estimation to parallel it is the Tesla P85/90D, nearly 20 years later and it’s the prog rock technology in it that puts it over the edge. But the Quadrigolio seems to be an early contender, and that comes from the spirit of the drive, not the whizbang of the dash.
The first thing one might notice is the light hug of the seats and the minuscule diameter of the steering wheel. These, with the rest of the Quadrifoglio trim upgrades are little allusions to speed. The Alfa jumps off the line and shuffles to 60 in just 3.6 seconds and will keep pulling past 190 miles per hour. Revs climb wonderfully for a big sport sedan. Shifts come from massive paddles mounted behind the wheel and they come quick. Maybe not as quick as in some of our supercars, but faster than a sedan would ever need to. The downshift sports a signature “honk” blip, just like our Alfa 4C. The steering rack is noticeably tight. Just 2.25 turns lock to lock. Despite the tight rotation, the spindly wheel in your hand feels perfect and steering is both sharp, yet a bit of a flat spot at top dead center means the car will track beautifully and not get too edgy for everyday driving.
After a few minutes of acclimation to the controls and inputs, the power, steering, transmission and ultra grippy feel comes together with symphonic perfection.
Under the hood is an aluminum block, twin turbo V6. The Alfa team are fast to tell you it’s the engine out of a California with two cylinders lopped off – a story as sexy as it is irrelevant. What does matter is it produces a very pleasing and respectable 505 cavalli that are on tap and happy to trot at the slightest whiff of throttle. The throttle response is instant, long and winding. Once the speeds get hectic, the Brembo brakes up front pull the reigns on the Alfa, bringing it to very quick stop that leaves the driver held up by the shoulder strap, not the seats.
For the few miles we’ve experienced in the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio, we would say it’s a wonderful new Italian machine that looks as good as it performs, while still presenting a four door sedan that can transport the family or clique, and do the weekday deeds, while still making the weekend drive incredibly memorable and exciting.
Ben Fatto, Alfa Romeo.