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Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio – long-term review

Is the Alfa Giulia the best handling car in its class?

Specification:
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Engine:
2891cc V6 turbo, RWD, 503bhp, 369lb ft
Claimed MPG:
34.4mpg, 189g/km CO2
Performance:
0–62mph in 3.9secs, 191mph
Weight:
1524kg
Price:
£61,000 OTR/£73,505 as tested

For last month’s Awards issue, I spent a lovely crisp autumn morning zig-zagging across the Wiltshire/Oxford border on some surprisingly quiet and well-sighted roads in order to refamiliarise myself with the McLaren 720S Coupe. 

Having zipped up and down the same slice of glorious dry road to affirm and calibrate my judgments, I concluded that the 720S is still one of the most capable, unbelievably quick and transcendental supercars ever created. 

But, having driven the Giulia up to the location, and with an hour or so of daylight left, I was intrigued to see how the super-saloon would fare on this same specific bit of British B-road.

Now, although the QV was launched with a lot of BMW M3-baiting track-enthusiast marketing bumf, for a keen driver, I believe that the Giulia really shows its true colours and shines far brighter than its competitors on the UK’s craggy rural roads. 

It’s the inherent suppleness that’s incorporated in the chassis, allowing the car to absorb and flow with the road when working in harmony with the direct, sharp steering. On the same strip of tarmac, the 720S’s front wheels were getting continually knocked side-to-side by bumps, would follow ruts and generally feel wider. The Giulia chewed through compressions, felt lithe and with that angry V6 soundtrack and aggressive manual shifts in Race, I found it more involving and rewarding to go fast in.

See, unlike the McLaren that blows you away with its broad ability and crazy, crazy speed, the Giulia thrills by making the process that’s involved in going fast more communicable and relatable to the driver. Something that for me the McLaren does a bit too clinically.  

After an hour or so of driving the same road, I was full of elation at how wonderful this car can be at providing joy through the act of driving. I really didn’t think it could get much better. Which it obviously couldn’t, as it quickly got worse. 

A few days later, the ‘Check Engine’ light started to come on again. And again. And again. So it’s been limping around in ‘Normal’ again. Plus, one of the 14 speakers (part of the £950 Harmon Kardon upgrade) rattles so badly it sounds like it’s physically decaying. Oh, and the TPM system doesn’t like the cold – it bongs thinking there’s low pressure when it’s reading fine. Gah!

So I haven’t seen the Quadrifoglio for over a week as it’s gone back to Alfa to be fixed. Again. Now, please excuse me while I go and scream very loudly into the middle distance for a very long time.

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