Gina Baksa continues her West Country road trip testing Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio 2.9 V6 super-saloon.
As the man from Top Gear says: you can’t call yourself a petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa. And he’s right. The Giulia Quadrifoglio 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo sitting on my driveway is actually on loan, but I’m pretending this 510hp racing saloon is mine for the week. Low slung, aerodynamically built for speed, the Giulia Quadrifoglio looks gorgeous.
She’s a refined yet muscly super-saloon – all 1580kg of her – in sharp Competizione Red with matching sports bumpers and an impressive grille and iconic Alfa badge. The Giulia’s large Quadrifoglio (4-leaf clover) badge is also very visible on the front wings – Alfa’s racing car motif since 1923.
At certain angles the Giulia Quadrifoglio could fool you into thinking she’s a regular saloon; certainly, her rear view with tidy haunches are unremarkable – but side-on she reveals her racing pedigree. The roof fin above the rear window, the angled cats’ eyes vents on the bonnet and above the wheel arch, and the gorgeous (optional) Brembo yellow callipers inscribed with Alfa Romeo. And of course her pistols-at-dawn four-way sports exhaust.
As I slide into the black leather and Alcantara Sparco Carbon shell sports seats – an extra £3250 should you so desire – the luxurious fit-out is apparent. Leather-wrapped dash and door panels, flat-bottomed carbon fibre steering wheel, also bound with leather and Alcantara, feels soft yet robust to the touch… my hands fit snugly, and the column-mounted paddles are well positioned, as are the wipers and indicators. Cool, smart and functional with eye-catching white-green stitching around the doors and dash.
Heating and ventilation dials are easy to use and clear, and kick in fast – a must in this recent UK heatwave. There’s no brake lever, rather an electric brake button that you press while pushing on the brake pedal. And I’m happy to say all my luggage is safely tucked away in the capacious boot which fits two large suitcases – and more – with ease. Seemingly I can never travel light…
One press of the red start/stop button and the Giulia Quadrifoglio V6 bursts into life and is rearing to go. I’m keen to test the automatic 8 gears on this beauty as we rev up out of town towards the M3 and Bournemouth via the New Forest. I thought I’d miss the 4C Spider’s throaty growls, but was happy to hear the Quadrifoglio’s bite also kicks in with a ‘phoop phoop’ as we rise through the gears on acceleration. She does a hugely impressive 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds – faster than the Spider and a dream on the motorway. I lament British speed limits but it’s just as well in a car of this power and calibre. Her top speed is 191 – oh for a race track!
Double wishbone front suspension gives the Quadrifoglio a comfortable ride. Not too hard, not too soft and I felt very supported and safe. At lower speeds, the Quad fairly glides along and is a smooth quiet ride on her 19-inch alloys. I had lots of compliments – mainly from older former Alfa drivers who recognised the badge and legacy. Some lamenting that they’d switched to Japanese models and could no longer afford the Italian marque.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio V6 gives solid, good road holding with adjustable seats and steering wheel. Although the seat is a bit long for me – especially so when I raise it higher. So my little legs have to stretch a bit. This is a car very much designed for men – or taller folk. Dynamic, Race and Normal mode are available: Dynamic allowing the exhaust to fire off in spectacular style. I didn’t try Race as wasn’t insured for this mode, but I’m sure it’s impressive. Having to watch my speed I welcomed the electronic display as well as the clock face.