In 1907, the Italian Prince Scipione Borghese won the grueling Peking to Paris motor race in a crimson red car. The red colour of the Princes’ car went on to become Italy’s international racing colour, with the Alfa Romeo cars that dominated motorsport the 1920s and 30s all being painted in dazzling red.
Then in 1923, the Alfa Romeo factory driver Ugo Sivocci painted a four-leaf clover on his Targa Florio race car for luck and he went on to win the race, but sadly died later that year. From 1924, the Alfa Romeo factory racing cars were all adorned with the green cloverleaf and as the century progressed, performance versions of Alfa Romeo’s road cars received the same honour. This rich motorsport history was encapsulated in the Competizione Red Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio that I recently had the pleasure to drive.
The heart of the Giulia Q is the brilliant 2.9 litre, twin turbocharged V6 engine. In my notes I described the engine as ‘elegant’ and more than one person commented how good it sounded, whether they were inside or out of the cabin. It’s less rambunctious than a V8 engine, but you can still encourage some pops and raspiness on aggressive upshifts while you are chasing the revs to the 7,400rpm red line.
Maximum power available is 375kW at 6,500rpm and torque of 600Nm between 2,500-5,000rpm. This is good for a 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 307km/h, which is ample to keep you properly entertained even though there is some turbo lag on initial take off. The official combined fuel consumption is 8.2L/100km and for my week enjoying all the Giulia had to offer I used only 11.7L/100km.
Twisting through my favourite set of corners, I felt the Giulia was stable and took all that I threw at it in its stride and even when I cornered aggressively the rear wheel drive was not keen to get its tail out. Of course, this statement only applies when you are in Dynamic, Natural or Automatic drive mode, hold the mode selector for a little longer and you will discover Race mode, which engages Drift mode for the torque vectoring and turns the ESC off. Now this relatively sedate family sedan becomes a beast, great for when you just need to enjoy a drive by yourself to forget all of your troubles.
The Alfa Active Suspension also changes character as you move around the drive mode dial. Natural mode is very comfortable for highway driving and when you switch to Dynamic and the ride becomes firmer, but not uncomfortable. Dynamic mode also livens up the exhaust and it felt as though I could downshift earlier in the 8-speed automatic gearbox using the large Aluminium column mounted gear selectors.
The optional tri-coat paint sparkled majestically in the sunshine and the carbon fibre highlights add to the athletic look of this Giulia. There is more carbon fibre under the paint as well with the Quadrifoglio getting a carbon fibre roof, hood and driveshaft as weight saving measures. From a looks perspective I prefer the back of the Giulia with its substantial rear diffuser and quad exhausts and also because I don’t like that the that the number plate at the front is not centred.
The motorsport elements continue throughout the interior of the Quadrifoglio with 2×2 twill carbon fibre surrounding the door levers, across the dash, centre console and even around the USB port at the front of the centre console. The carbon pairs well with the red stitched dash and door trims and the sporty steering wheel with its red start button. I did notice though that if the sun hits at a certain angle it can glare off the brushed metal shroud that is around the gear selector. The other downside in the cabin was with four of us in the car on a day with only a 30o Celsius temperatures, the air conditioner could not get cool enough.
On the plus side the leather and Alcantara seats were comfortable, even on long road trips. Both front seats are heated and have power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat cushion height front and rear, side bolster support, 4-way lumbar adjustment and manual front seat extension. The driver gets three seat memory positions for storing your perfect driving position once you have found it.
There are a lot of storage options available in the Giulia cabin, starting at the front of the centre console there is a storage cubby with a removable rubber mat, one 12V outlet and one USB port. The two cup holders also have a removeable rubber mat so it is easy to clean up any small spills in them. I liked that there is a slot for the key fob to be stored next to the gear selector. The glovebox is cooled and felt lined to prevent rattles and the front door cubbies are large enough for a drink bottle, but you need to lie it down to fit in. Under the leather arm rest there is another USB port, a USB-C port and AUX inlet plus wireless charging for the key fob and for your compatible mobile phone.
The high mounted 8.8-inch touch screen is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which require wired connection. Other media sources include AM/FM, DAB, USB and Bluetooth, so you can enjoy your music on the 900-watt harman/kardon premium audio system with 14 speakers on that relaxing drive. The voice control worked well for changing between these audio sources and for making phone calls, but it was not available for setting a destination on the satellite navigation. I was also happy to see that the silhouette on the voice control button was androgynous looking, rather than masculine like many other car companies.
The outer rear seats are heated and have adequate leg room for adults, but headroom is limited. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but in reality there is only enough room for two car seats and the central seat can be folded down as an arm rest with two cup holders at the front of it. Rear passengers get two central air vents with manual direction and open/close function and two USB ports under the air vents. The drink bottle cubby in the rear doors is only large enough for small drink bottles and the transmission tunnel is bulky.
The boot has power assist for easy opening and can be operated from the key fob, a button in the cabin and under the boot lid and it is closed manually. The boot is a reasonable size and goes back a long way and fits the weekly shop, or if you have a pram as well, a small shop. There is a cargo net with four tie down points and lights but no hooks and under the boot floor there is a tyre repair kit. For more storage space the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split folding mechanism.
Active driver aids include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking. I found that the steering assist could only be set below 100km/h, but does remain active above that speed. It did drop out a few times though while I was driving on the highway. Other safety features include a standard rear view camera with front and rear parking sensors, auto headlights, auto wipers and six airbags. All current 5-star ANCAP (2016) safety rating for the Alfa Romeo Giulia only applies to 2.0 litre petrol and 2.2 litre diesel engine variants built from November 2016.
All new Alfa Romeos come with a 3-Year, 150,000 kilometre warranty that includes 24-hour roadside assistance as well. The service interval for the Giulia Quadrifoglio is 15,000km or 12 months, whichever occurs first. The service costs for the first five scheduled services is $5,245, as calculated using the Alfa Romeo Australia website.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is priced competitively at $138,950 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs and as tested with tri-coat paint in Competizione Red ($3,650) this Giulia was $142,650 plus above costs. Visit your preferred Alfa Romeo dealer to experience this crimson and glover heritage for yourself.
|The glorious V6 engine||Air conditioning not cool enough|
|The carbon fibre elements||Front number plate is not centred|
|Comfortable seats||Only has a 3-year warranty|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.