The super sedan playground has always been a German establishment. For decades, the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C 63 and Audi RS 4 rule the space with their iron fists. Penetration is impossible, seemingly.
Then in 2017 came a visitor from a relatively small company. The Germans took notice, the world took notice, the status quo was challenged and the super sedan space opened up to a fourth member.
Just like that, out of nowhere, the Italians have disrupted the Germans’ game. A hiatus of over two decades in this space did not dampened Turin’s spirit in creating a world-beating high performance sedan. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a serious piece of machine. The Italians however, see it as a product of passion and culture.
A small team of dedicated designers and engineers came together with the common goal of building a super fast sedan complete with flair, drama and emotion. And this desire led to an approach that is a very different to that taken by the Germans. The M3, AMG C 63 and RS 4 feel like go-fast versions of the standard car on which they are based. In contrast, the Giulia Quadrifoglio feels like the car that Alfa set out to build first, then from it lesser versions forming the standard line-up were derived.
The ingredients are key to what makes the Giulia Quadrifoglio so special. A Ferrari-derived twin-turbocharged V6, lightweight 1524kg dry weight, super rigid chassis with aluminium subframes and rear-wheel drive. All stuffed underneath a tastefully sculpted body.
Speaking of which, Alfa Romeo design is lusty and while it may not be the prettiest work by the company to date, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a handsome looking car. Contoured sheet metals mix in with sporting details to form a restraint yet aggressive look, the latter hinted by those massive front bumper intakes, bonnet and side vents, a deep rear diffuser and a host of carbon fibre detailing.
When drapped in the new green hue called Verde Montreal as seen on our test car, this thing really pops and turns heads everywhere it goes. Also be sure to option up those QV 19-inch forged wheels seen on our tester for that true Alfa looks.
Unlike the rigid straight lines found in the cabin of the German cars, the Alfa’s interior has flowing curves like the exterior. It’s a nice place to be in, so soothing and calming that you almost forget you’re in a $150k super sedan. The largely monotone cabin is an understatement compared to those vibrant, racy German interiors.
That said, the steering wheel with that big red engine start button is a pleasure to grab hold of. Those fantastic looking aluminium paddle shifters behind the wheel are also a joy to use. There’s liberal use of carbon fibre and Alcantara throughout, giving it a sporty feel.
But the highlight is none other than those front bucket sport seats made by Sparco. With full carbon fibre back covers, they look a million bucks. They give a truely faultless driving position, yet they’re so supportive and comfortable you won’t miss the standard Giulia seats.
Based on a Giulia, the Quadrifoglio can accomodate five with decent room front and back. With a boot space of 480 litres, the car is as practical as it can be for a sports sedan.
A minor update in 2020 saw the infotainment system upgraded with a quicker processor, better apps and new graphics. The screen is now a touchscreen, though you can still operate it using the centre console controller, which itself has also been slightly tweaked. Despite the updates, the tech is still lacking the Germans big time. For instance, the screen size is painfully small and there’s no fully digital instrumentation yet.
But you don’t buy the Giulia Quadrifoglio for interior eye candies. This is a car designed to shake up the fast luxury sedan segment with the way it drives. And it’s absolutely brilliant at it.
The engine is the beating heart of it all. The 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 is the product of an ongoing powertrain development collaboration between Stellantis (Alfa Romeo’s parent company) and Ferrari. Constructed entirely out of aluminium for lightweight, it features a 90-degree angle between cylinder banks and uses both port and direct fuel injection. There’s also cylinder deactivation where the right cylinder bank is shut off at low load to improve fuel efficiency.
With a peak power of 375kW @ 6500rpm and 600Nm of torque spread between 2500-5000rpm, all channeled to the rear wheels via an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, the Giulia Quadrifoglio sprints from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds. Top speed is rated at 307km/h.
While those figures trial those of the M3 and AMG C 63, the Giulia Quadrifoglio has more to offer than being just a one dimensional hot rod. The engine is relaxed and civilised on cruise, with a nice and progressive build up of power just off idle. Prod it and it takes on a very different character. The show of force is truly fascinating once it revs past 3000rpm, where the engine note goes from burbly to raspy, and where the full of whack of torque translates to a burst of forward thrust as the tacho frantically swings around the arch to the 7000rpm limiter.
Traction is managed beautifully to the rear wheels, with a hard launch not feeling like it’s going to bite every time. It’s thanks to an electronically controlled limited slip differential keeping things tidy at the rear axle not just during acceleration but also around the bends. Not only it can vary the amount of lock across the rear axle, it can also send more torque to the rear wheel with more grip to help rotate the car around a corner, effectively creating torque vectoring.
The handling is wonderfully progressive. Yes, there’s big power going to the rear, there’re massive brakes and the steering is razor sharp, but everything blends and works so nicely together. The car feels like a very cohesive and well balanced package. It’s such a joy to put through corners, as all it does is obey your every input and power forward.
Perhaps, the most impressive is just how supple the Giulia Quadrifoglio feels around town. Unlike its firm riding and uptight rivals, the hot Alfa is as comfortable and relaxing as any regular midsize family sedan. In the softer damper setting, the ride is superbly smooth and compliant. Even in the harder sport setting the ride is far from harsh.
This makes the Giulia Quadrifoglio a pleasingly good daily driver. You just have to get used to those sticky brakes which can be a little hard to regulate for a smooth stop, especially when they’re cold. Oh, watch out also for that low front bumper as it’s too easy to scrap that exquisite carbon fibre lip.
The Quadrifoglio is not a car you buy for fuel efficiency but if you care you’d be looking at around 12.5L/100km on the combined average. This is far thirstier than the brochure’s 8.2L/100km. Granted, it runs on RON 95 octane fuel, not the more expensive RON 98 that the Germans chew on.
Design & Comfort
Performance & Handling
Equipment & Features
- Fast yet approachable
- Beeming with passion
- Not the most updated tech
- Sticky brakes
- Drab interior
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is different to its rivals in the sense that it feels like it’s been put together by a group of people that are very passionate about cars and driving. It’s not the car’s aim to fit in a certain market category or clock the fastest acceleration time, but it surely is designed to serve up spades of driving pleasure, interaction and engagement.
The appeal of the Giulia Quadrifoglio lies in the progressive and linear manner in which it delivers performance. It’s brutally fast and capable, yet it’s so liveable. This unique balance, coupled with the car’s indelibly beautiful styling, is what sets the Alfa apart from the competition.
2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio pricing and specification
|Price (Excl. on-roads):||From: $151,700|
As tested: $164,900
Premium paint – $3650
19-inch QV wheels – $1300
Sparco carbon fibre seats – $8250
|Warranty:||5 years/unlimited kilometers|
|Warranty Customer Service:||5 years roadside assist|
|Country of Origin:||Italy|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Engine:||2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol:|
375kW @ 6500rpm, 600Nm @ 2500-5000rpm
|Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg):||231.5|
|0-100km/h (s):||Claimed: 3.9 / Tested: 4.0|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 8.2 / Tested: 12.5|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||58|
|Body:||4-door sedan, 5 seats|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4,639/1,873/1,426/2,820|
|Tare Mass (kg):||1,620|
|Boot Space (L):||480|