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Car Review

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

£75,920
910
Published: 12 Mar 2024
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Oh boy, it's good. Really, properly world-class good. At a time when the Mercedes-AMG C63 has never been less sure of itself, and the M3 has never been uglier, this is an absolute lungful of fresh air. 

Aren't all V6s a bit dreary?

The engine doesn't bellow, and its exhaust doesn't emit anti-social firecrackers on the over-run. But it's still a fascinating and urgent force. The torque curve is out of bed good and early, but it doesn't fully shake off lag until 3,000rpm or so. From there on it's keen and zingy towards nearly 7,000, with a predictable and direct delivery. The sound changes with revs too – it's burbly at low revs, takes on a sharp rasp as it swings past 4,000, then gets more harmonious again for the vivid upward trajectory.

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Power is enough for 0-62 in under four seconds and a top speed beyond 190, and the eight-speed autobox's ratios are sensibly stacked. You can shift yourself via big metal paddles, another giveaway that several people who worked on this powertrain have done time at Ferrari.

How about the handling?

The chassis has that same F-word: feel. Lightweight, communicative, alive. The steering's super-direct without being nervous, the springing is supple, and there's always full disclosure of the state of grip. And absolutely everywhere: under braking, on turn-in, and at the apex, you sense where it's 60, 70, 100 kilos plus lighter than the competition. That's a huge bonus. 

Quicker corners have it working with wonderful balance, seeming to operate by power of thought alone. In tighter ones it's super-lithe in the way it pivots through. On the way out, the QF's best trick is the way you can confidently lean on it without a fear of blind snappiness. Only now, when it does let go it's that bit more predictable, because of how progressively the limited-slip diff locks up. 

Race means ESP is off and the dampers and powertrain on full aggression. It's too much for almost any road, even though a button lets you soften the damper programme. D is dynamic, N the normal. And A supposedly stands for advanced efficiency, but it also recalibrates the powertrain, ESP, dampers and torque distribution to give you the best chance of keeping your heartbeat down on a wet greasy day. We... didn't bother with it much.

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(Anyway if you want 4WD – or indeed a tailgate – the Stelvio Quadrifoglio gives it to you, at a surprisingly small loss of dry-weather dynamics.)

Is it comfy enough to use every day?

This Giulia is firmly sprung of course, and yet it avoids getting banged about by deep craters, and it takes the edge off smaller sharp bumps too. It's the comfiest super-saloon, and obliging and refined in day-to-day running. Or at least it is once your foot has learned to accommodate a brake pedal that's over-keen at town speeds. And we think it's a pity that the 'bumpy road' button doesn't quite engender the same magic carpet feeling that you get in a Ferrari when you tap the same toggle. 

On the motorway it runs true and steady, and the new piloting system works well, guiding the wheel smoothly around most motorway curves.

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