Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

We take the latest version of Alfa Romeo’s hot saloon for a spin – on track, and on the road…

How time flies. I first got behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Giulia way back in 2017.

It was clear then that it was a serious rival to those all-conquering executive expresses from the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Perfectly proportioned, sleek and lightweight, it was the first rear-wheel drive sports saloon in the Alfa Romeo range since 1992, when the Alfa 75 took a bow.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

Aggressive head on, more athletic and feline from the side, and blessed with a pert rear, it boasted impressive driving dynamics.

Originally offered with a selection of diesel and petrol engines, there’s now just a 2.0-litre petrol turbo on offer, along with a potent 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 in the range-topping Quadrifoglio.

Things have moved on in other ways. The range was priced from £29,550 at launch. Now it starts at £40,000.

The big news for 2024 is that Alfa Romeo has updated the flagship Quadrifoglio, addressing some of the car’s few issues.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

For instance, there’s now a mechanical limited-slip differential, while the suspension at both ends has been tweaked.

There’s also active aerodynamics with a carbon fibre front splitter. When activated, it controls the quality of air flow under the vehicle, to increase stability and performance.

An awesome Akrapovič exhaust system is also available as an optional extra, if the basic system isn’t quite loud enough for you.

Styling tweaks include new adaptive triple-element LED matrix headlamps that adjust the light beam to suit different driving conditions and avoid dazzling oncoming drivers, while dark five-hole 19-inch alloy wheels are standard.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

Inside, the car’s previous analogue dials have been replaced by a slick new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. There’s also more carbon fibre and Alcantara.

At the heart of Quadrifoglio (Italian for four-leaf clover) is the same V6 with power upped to 512bhp at 6500rpm. Enough to fire it to 62mph in just 3.9 seconds (stunning for a rear-wheel drive saloon) and on to a top speed of 191mph.

As before, it’s paired with a punchy eight-speed automatic transmission, while torque is the same (600Nm or 443lb ft). However, the price tag has soared. It now costs £78,315 (up from £59,000 in 2017).

These changes for the Quadrifoglio are a last hurrah for this elegant sports saloon. Without even a hint of hybrid assistance, its days are sadly numbered.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

Alfa Romeo UK recently gave us an opportunity to drive the new Quadrifoglio on track – and on the road.

The Quadrifoglio is old-school, in a refreshing way. It’s simple to carry out everyday tasks, such as selecting drive modes on the ‘DNA’ dial down in the centre console.

As ever, Normal is fine for everyday driving, AE is best left for motorway runs, Dynamic is fine for blasts on twisty roads, while Race is best left for track driving.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

You sit low in the cabin, the Sparco sports seats hug your body, the starter button is positioned on the steering wheel and there are two big aluminium paddles.

I started off in Dynamic mode for a few soft laps of a short circuit at Bicester Heritage in Oxfordshire. This mode firms up the dampers, but the car still feels compliant.

Thanks to the new mechanical limited-slip differential, changes to the suspension, plus its already superb weight distribution, the Quadrifoglio is now far more predictable than the original, especially at the rear, giving you confidence to push on.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

There’s also impressive traction in the dry, but it clearly needs to be treated with caution – as with any powerful rear-wheel drive saloon – on slippery surfaces.

It’s always a treat to have the freedom to find the limit of a hot car, and I found the Quadrifoglio is surprisingly forgiving on track, such is its poise, agility and balance.

Switch to Race mode and things get more brutish. The combination of all that power, a raucous V6 soundtrack, angry dials, zero ESP and traction control, plus the suspension in the firmest setting, result in serious thrills.

Apart from a rearward twitch once or twice when planting my right foot too early out of corners, it’s blisteringly fast and entertaining.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

After a couple of cooling-off laps, it was time to take to the roads. And the Quadrifoglio is a joy to drive relatively sedately too, though the firm and noisy Dynamic mode can be a little tiresome on poorer surfaces.

Push it on more challenging roads and there’s little body roll, while the fast steering rack works wonders.

So, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is now more rewarding than ever, but it’s still not perfect. It’s snug in the back for taller passengers, thanks to those sports seats, while the small, dim infotainment screen is still a disappointment.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio review

However, the Quadrifoglio is one of those cars that can be forgiven for its shortcomings because it’s so special overall.

If ever a car had ‘future classic’ written all over it, this is it. And even though it’s expensive, it’s competitively priced compared to its German rivals, which include the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C 63 or Audi RS 4.

Verdict: The updated Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is, quite simply, one of the world’s best sports saloons. With its blend of performance, driving dynamics, elegance and comfort, it’s better than ever.

Alfa Romeo UK

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