Alfa Romeo, long the heart and soul of the European auto industry, has returned to the U.S. marketplace with a vengeance following a nearly 20-year hiatus. The first model to return to North American soil was the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Sport Coupe. On the heels of the 4C Sport Coupe was the introduction of a convertible version – the 4C Spider. Both 4C models are two-seaters that were inspired by the timeless 33 Stradale.
Now there’s a luxurious ultra high performance four door sedan that’s ready to challenge the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in their respective categories. It’s the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia, which will come in three models: the base Giulia; the Giulia Ti; and the halo model and flagship, the Giulia Quadrifoglio.
The 2017 Giulia lineup marks the resurgence, or rebirth, of the Alfa Romeo marque. It is the first of eight all-new Alfa Romeos that will make their debut through 2020, embodying the brand’s La meccanica delle emozioni (the mechanics of emotion) spirit. The Giulia nameplate alone enjoys a 55-year history of Alfa Romeo’s iconic, lightweight, performance sedan tradition, as well as more than 105 years of brand history, leaving its legendary mark on global road courses.
All Giulia models fall into the premium mid-size sedan marketplace and display seductive Italian design cues and old-world craftsmanship. Both the base model Giulia and Ti model draw their motive force from an all-new, all-aluminum 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that delivers a class-leading standard 280 horsepower along with 306 lb-ft of torque, making it capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in just under 5.1 seconds, and of reaching a top speed of 150 mph. The transmission for both cars is an eight-speed automatic transmission with available column-mounted paddle shifters that sends energy to either the rear wheels or to all four through an available innovative Q4 all-wheel drive system.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio showcases Alfa Romeo’s performance and motorsports background knowledge with power coming from a Ferrari-based 2.9-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, bi-turbo, direct-injected V6 engine that cranks out a best-in-class 505 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, along with 443 lb-ft of torque in a range from 2,500 to 5,500 rpm. The Quadrifoglio travels from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and holds the Nürburgring record as the world’s fastest production four-door sedan with a lap time of 7 minutes and 32 seconds. It is Alfa Romeo’s most powerful production car ever. Q4 is not available for the Quadrifoglio, and it sends power to the rear wheels only, through an eight-speed automatic transmission with available column-mounted paddle shifters.
The Giulia boasts a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution for segment-leading torsional rigidity and the most direct steering ratio on the market, thanks to its all-new rear-wheel-drive architecture.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio features unique advanced technology including a four-mode Alfa DNA Pro drive mode selector that adds Race mode, a torque vectoring differential, high-performance Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear brake caliper system, Quadrifoglio-tuned adaptive suspension, Quadrifoglio instrument cluster with 200-mph speedometer, cylinder deactivation system, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, vehicle alarm and high-performance bi-xenon headlamps offering auto-leveling technology, adaptive cornering and headlamp washers.
Other available ultra-high performance options that further optimize Alfa Romeo’s 191-mph sedan’s lightweight design and track-proven capabilities include ultra-lightweight carbon fiber shell Sparco racing seats that provide maximum lateral support during extreme cornering thanks to more aggressive bolstering, while still managing to provide comfort for long road trips They are also the designed to be the lightest in the segment.
The Quadrifoglio also has an ultra-high-performance Brembo carbon-ceramic material (CCM) brake system features six-piston front and four-piston rear aluminum monoblock front brake calipers with two-piece 15.4-inch front and 14.2-inch rear CCM rotors. The CCM rotor design yields a 50-percent weight reduction compared to cast iron discs, further reducing unsprung mass to improve handling, while enabling a 60-0 mph stopping performance in an impressive 102 feet.
“The all-new Giulia is not just a new car, but an entirely new benchmark that represents the next chapter in Alfa Romeo’s rich 105-year heritage,” said Reid Bigland, CEO of Alfa Romeo. “With an all-new lightweight platform and class-leading power and handling, the all-new Giulia delivers on the pedigree of incredible technology, race-inspired performance and Italian design and
In terms of its exterior design appeal, the Giulia is penned with passion, showcasing high performance along with functional and seductive Italian flair. Its proportions are muscular, while reflecting and lightness and simplistic elegance. The bodywork sheathes its class-leading technical layout with the finesse of Alfa Romeo heritage. Up front, a large signature “shield” grille is elegantly sculpted within the front fascia forming the “Trilobo,” an iconic Alfa Romeo design signature. The grille, which appears with Alfa Romeo’s all-new logo, is flanked by all-new bi-xenon projector headlamps, which include an adaptive front-lighting system (AFS) while LED daytime running lights provide a recognizable appearance. Below, a segment-exclusive active aero front splitter helps the Giulia Quadrifoglio achieve best-in-class aerodynamics and actively manages downforce via a front carbon fiber splitter for optimal stability at any speed.
In profile, the Giulia’s side proportions highlight its weight balance and seductive Italian design. Alfa Romeo designers provided the Giulia with extremely short overhangs, a long hood and front fender proportions, plus a passenger compartment positioned between muscular rear fender forms delivering a “settled” look over the drive wheels marking the point where power is transferred to the road.
Taut lines, including the sculpted character line along the bodysides, mark the doors and envelop the handles while naturally leading back to the legendary V-shaped nose. Rounded angles and enveloping pillars draw from Alfa Romeo’s rich design heritage and recall the “drop-shaped” profile reminiscent of the Giulietta Sprint, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Short overhangs and deck lid further emphasize the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’s pronounced rear fender forms and road-holding stance.
At the rear, elegantly shaped tail lamp features are drawn horizontally highlighting the performance sedan’s width, while LED rear light clusters further emphasize the Giulia’s use of advanced technologies. As with the front, the rear of the Giulia Quadrifoglio also manages airflow with its integrated diffuser, which aids in channeling air and providing added stability at high speeds and cornering downforce.
Short overhangs and deck lid further emphasize the Quadrifoglio’s pronounced rear fender forms and road-holding stance. Elegantly shaped tail lamp features are drawn horizontally, highlighting the performance sedan’s width, while LED rear light clusters further emphasize the Giulia’s use of advanced technologies. Finishing off the rear is a sport, dual-mode exhaust system with quad tips that delivers a familiar and delightful Alfa Romeo exhaust note.
The designers gave the Giulia an organic, “ellipsis” overall appearance contributing to the all-new sedan’s timeless character. Massive Brembo brake calipers with available staggered-fitting 19-inch Dark Gray five-hole design wheels that hark back to the brand’s stylistic heritage contribute to the Giulia’s no nonsense high performance image.
The interior is built around the driver, focusing on elegant simplicity incorporating essential performance elements. The Giulia’s high level of craftsmanship begins with an asymmetrically styled instrument panel wrapped in ultra-premium leather and Alcantara, and highlighted by authentic carbon fiber, aluminum elements as well as accent stitching. The Formula 1-inspired steering wheel features a thick-rim profile that transmits the chassis’ direct-steering feel while grouping the vehicle controls and the red engine start button. Behind the steering wheel, the Giulia displays a full-color 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) cluster flanked by two large white-on-black face analog gauges.
At the interior’s center is an all-new 3-D Navigation that provides an intuitive, yet sophisticated series of features, including a high-resolution 8.8-inch widescreen display with real-time vehicle performance pages and telemetry, plus 3-D graphic navigation. The all-new and ergonomically located Alfa Rotary Pad offers a gesture recognition system that allows the driver to interact with the 3-D Navigation system simply by moving fingers on the pad.
My primary test vehicle was a 2017 Giulia Quadrifoglio with an exterior finish of Rosso Competizione Tri-coat (competition Red metallic) and a Nero (Black) interior. I was also able to do a short stint in a Giulia Ti finished in a Montecarlo Blue metallic with a black interior. Giulia and Giulia Ti go on sale in January 2017 with an MSRP of $37,995 and $39,995 respectively. The Giulia Quadrifoglio goes on sale this month with an MSRP of $72,000. Add $995 for each for Destination and Delivery. Add an additional $2,000 for AWD.
The U.S. press launch was staged at Sonoma Raceway (still referred to by many as Sears Point Raceway) and took on an unusual format. Journalists were shuttled to the track from the Napa Valley’s Carneros Inn by bus. Hot laps came first in the rain on a slick track, followed by a marketing and product presentation. Next came a track “chalk talk” outlining the course and rules. This was followed by a familiarization session with each journalist driving, accompanied by a driving instructor. With an approval from the instructor, journalists were allowed to circuit the track solo in three lap sessions. A road trip up the coast and back to the track for lunch came next, followed by more track time if desired, or short local drive loops in various Giulia models, and a final drive back to the Carneros Inn for an evening reception and dinner.
My hot lap was piloted by Fabio, the driver who broke the Nürburgring record for the world’s fastest production four-door sedan with a lap time of 7 minutes and 32 seconds. An e-ticket ride to be sure, in the rain, on an exceptionally slick track surface, but in complete control.
Journalist track sessions in the wet precluded being able to set the drive mode to race – no more than Dynamic was allowed, which was plenty under the conditions. Acceleration is blistering, braking is sure and positive and handling is incredible.
Switchgear is intuitive and optimally positioned for ease of operation. The ride quality is firm and adjustable, but both comfortable and supportive. I chose to run in Race mode for my on road driving jaunts, which delivered the most pleasing throttle and shift points, not to mention the most melodious exhaust note – especially when rev matching during downshifts.
Bottom line, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is my pick of the litter for optimum performance and is a definite winner, though the Giulia Ti is no slouch and may be enough to satisfy non-racers. The Quadrifioglio certainly surpasses the Alfa Romeo 4C and 4C Spider for its superior performance, ease of ingress and egress and added comfort and convenience as well as utility. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz beware – Alfa Romeo is back in a big way and is a force to be reckoned with.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Base Price: $37,995 – Giulia / $72,000 – Quadrifogflio
Price as Tested: $38,990 – Giulia / $72,995 – Quadrifoglio.
Engine Type and Size: Ferrari derived 2.9-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, biturbo V-6, with side-mounted Gasoline Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 505 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 443 @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
Transmission: Electronically-controlled eight-speed automatic with column mounted paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Front-mounted engine / Rear-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Double wishbone with semi-virtual steering axle.
Rear – Alfa Link design with patented vertical rod.
Active Damping – Standard on Qudrifoglio, included with Performance Package on Ti.
Steering: Rack and Pinion with Variable Electric Assist.
Brakes: High Performance Brembo system on Quadrifoglio with optional ultra high performance Brembo Carbon Ceramic Material System (CCM).
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Corsa P255/55ZR19x8.5” front / P285/30 ZR19x10” rear mounted on five-hole alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 111.0 inches
Length Overall: 182.6 inches
Width: 73.7 inches w/o mirrors
Height: 56.5 inches Giulia and Giulia Ti / 57.1 Giulia Q4 &Ti AWD/ 56.1 Quadrifoglio
Curb Weight: Not listed
Turning Circle: Not given
Fuel Capacity: 15.3 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: Not yet certified.
Drag Coefficient: 0.32 – Quadrifoglio
0 – 60 mph: 3.8 seconds – Top-speed 191 mph