The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is priced from $93,990 in Canada, $75,250 in the US.
Stirring, jarring, and exciting – and this is only with respect to the Quadrifoglio’s styling.
The Giulia, with or without the four-leaf clover, is the most engaging premium midsize sedan to drive.
I’m willing to bet that you’re only here because there’s a curiosity that looms within just ahead of selecting your next high-performance midsize premium coupe or sedan. Shopping in this semi-niche segment of vehicles is extremely exciting as all of these vehicles promise luxury, technology, design, and, above all, serious performance. I’m here to say that the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is the most tantalizing of them all.
With about $90,000 in your pocket, cars like the BMW M3, Audi RS 5, Mercedes-AMG C 63, and Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing all come into play. Except for the latter, the other cars are very typical – the Caddy is something else and available in only extremely limited numbers. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is somewhere in the middle where it’s a rare sight but not part of a shortened production run, and nowhere near as common as the Germans.
This is reason enough, in my opinion, to jump on the Alfa. Though I’m not a fan of the current AMG C 63, I will admit to loving the M3 and RS 5 but only for specific motives: The M3 can be fitted with a manual transmission and the RS 5 Sportback is gorgeous.
Exotic to all
Setting aside the “H-pattern” transmission, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is a cracking stunner. Even the base $50,000 car looks exotic, far FAR more so than any run-of-the-mill 3 Series. In Quadrifoglio guise, it’s Ferrari exclusive. Take a gander at the photo gallery and, if you can stomach it, watch my video. The QV is brutish, beautiful, special, and compact.
Even if you’ve only ever spotted one Giulia since its 2017 introduction, one gaze in the Quadrifoglio’s direction, and it’s immediately clear that this is not a “normal” car. It sends this message without an overly aggressive front end, over-the-top aero, and monstrous wheels. Every addition to the Giulia is purposeful, such as the active aero front splitter, or downright invisible like the carbon fibre roof and hood. This car’s rear end is the most visually impactful with the quad tailpipes and large diffuser, but even so, it all fits wonderfully well together.
If there’s one thing constraining about the Alfa Romeo, it’s that opting for a colour other than Alfa Rosso or Rosso Competizione, is risky. Misano Blue, Ocra GT, and Verde Montreal are epic shades, but an Alfa should be red…
Minimal distractions; one frustration
The 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’s cabin is a far less emotion-creating affair. Much of it is relatively simple and unadorned. There are two exceptions, however. The main one is the engine-start button located on the steering wheel, though it’s standard in the regular Giulia. The other, or others, are the steering-column-mounted paddles. The massively bolstered seats are neat too.
The letdown onboard is the infotainment system. The recently added 8.8-inch touchscreen is often unresponsive, slow, and working some of the menus is tedious. The reverse camera’s resolution is poor and the image display size on the screen is small. Details they are, it is true.
Connected to your being
What really matters about the Giulia Quadrifoglio is the drive. All of the Giulia’s most direct competitors are competent road machines but the Alfa Romeo reaches further and deeper than the others. Regardless of your biases, the Giulia Quadrifoglio will communicate with you if you allow it to. Personal connections to cars are becoming rare. As cars get heavier and controls become more digitized than ever, feeling at one with an automobile is all but a completely forgotten feeling.
The Giulia responds to inputs as though it was nearly alive. It’s agile and alert no matter the driver’s skill level. The relatively extensive use of carbon fibre (roof, bonnet, drive shaft) and the rewardingly direct steering ratio remind the driver that they matter. Above all, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is not intimidating.
RWD, fast, but never intimidating
And this is despite the presence of the twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6. It delivers 505 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 443 lb.-ft. lb.-ft. of torque from 2,500 rpm. With the standard ZF 8-speed automatic transmission sending all the power to the rear wheels only, the Quadrifoglio still manages to reach 60 mph or 97 km/h in only 3.8 seconds.
This car is very fast but like a Civic Type R or even a Mazda MX-5, everything is balanced to perfection. Never, even under heavy throttle, does the Giulia feel out of sorts. The active suspension plays an important role as does the Alfa’s perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The chassis’ configuration features a double-wishbone front and multilink rear layout which, with the adjustable dampers, provide the driver with a comforting sense that everything is always under control.
Obviously, an over-exuberant right foot will put the Giulia sideways but, in the right hands, the car’s precise and responsive steering, and powerful brakes, give the driver the necessary tools to right a wrong. And the connection to the driver will warn him or her that’s it’s happening immediately.
True driving enthusiasts should enquire
In my opinion, there are two types of shoppers for cars in this segment. There are those who want to show off and drive fast in a straight line. Then, we have the ones who crave complete driving performance, appreciate lineage, and pedigree, and understand what the cars represent. Although it’s difficult to overlook a BMW M3 for all of these reasons, especially when fitted with a manual transmission, the 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is still a superior driver’s car.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio will also always be rare, exotic, and achingly beautiful. I am tempted to point out its one flaw and that is that it is not offered with AWD. If it was, it would be better suited to four-season driving however it would not be as enthralling to drive. Thus, as is, it is the best-driving four-door sedan in the world.