2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV Review
Alex Rae’s launch-based 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV Review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: Worth the wait, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV lives up to expectations on the race track, but it’s not the complete package inside.
2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV Review
Pricing From$143,900+ORC Warranty 3 years, 150,000km Safety 5 star Euro NCAP Engine 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol Power 370kW at 6500rpm Torque 600Nm at 2500-5000rpm Transmission eight-speed automatic Drive rear-wheel Dimensions 4639mm (L); 2024mm (W); 1426mm (H) Weight 1585kg Fuel Tank 58 litres Thirst 8.2L/100km combined cycle
What is it?
The Giulia Quadrifoglio (translation: four-leaf clover – the little badge on the front guards) is a high performance rear-wheel drive sedan based on Alfa Romeo’s new Giorgio platform and the car is aimed squarely as a competitor to the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S. The Giorgio project took 33 months to complete – a short time considering its complexity – and the Giulia is the first car we’ve seen built on the platform. Also based on the platform is the upcoming Stelvio SUV, a larger sedan, two sports cars and two more SUVs.
The platform allows for both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive as well as either a manual or automatic transmission, but locally we only receive an eight-speed automatic rear-wheel drive model.
On paper, the Giulia Quadrifoglio appears a legitimate competitor to the German powerhouses:
Mercedes-AMG C63 S
375kW at 6500rpm
317kW at 7300rpm
375kW at 6250rpm
600Nm at 2500-5000rpm
550Nm at 1850-5500rpm
700Nm at 1750-4500rpm
The C63 has a little more torque, but it’s heavier, and the marginally lighter M3 has 58kW less power. So, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV has the best power-to-weight ratio, is priced near the more affordable M3 and will win the (as claimed) 0-100km/h sprint by 0.1-0.2sec. There’s not much in it then, except the Giulia Quadrifoglio holds the current Nurburgring Nordschleife production sedan lap record of 7min 32sec and comes with some good kit.
The heart of the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 which makes a tremendous noise out of a dual-mode Monza exhaust. It was designed by Ferrari engineer Gianluca Pivetti and given it’s bore, stroke, unique turbo layout and 90-degree V-angle which is identical to that of the Ferrari 488 GTB. It would seem elementary to conclude it’s the same engine sans two cylinders. Alfa Romeo is quick to assert the engine features cylinder deactivation – something the Ferrari does not – and it is purely ‘Ferrari inspired’. Okay.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio achieves its light weight (1585kg) in part because of the Giorgio platform architecture but also because of the abundance of carbon fibre bits. There’s a carbon fibre bonnet, roof, side skirts, rear spoiler, prop shaft and rocker cover. There’s also a carbon-fibre front splitter which actively manages downforce between speeds of 100-230km/h. Carbon fibre features throughout the interior and there’s the option to add carbon-fibre ceramic brakes and carbon-fibre Sparco bucket seats. Unfortunately the carbon-fibre bonnet and roof aren’t available raw and unpainted.
The Giulia QV rides on lightweight composite 19-inch alloy wheels and the rubber is specially developed Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres which have been matched to the QV’s dynamics. Brakes are Brembo 6-piston front and 4-piston rear over 360mm front and 350mm rear rotors. There’s also plenty of electronic trickery with a computer controlled double-clutch differential controlling the amount of power delivered to each wheel.
The Giulia QV arrives this month and will be joined by a full family line-up of Giulia models which will be followed by the company’s first SUVs, including the Stelvio.
What’s the interior like?
Sitting in the Giulia is terrific. The adjustable driver’s seat is mounted low and can be set to just about any position, which is further complemented by a tilt-and-reach adjustable steering wheel and a driver-centric cabin layout. The seats are clad in leather and Alcantara and feel nice to the touch but the seats, especially in the rear, don’t have a particularly luxurious feel, or the sort of fit and finish you’d find in premium brands like Audi and Mercedes. The steering wheel has a chunky and sporty feel in the hands but it’s the red Ferrari derived push to start button on the steering wheel which really looks good.
The interior is minimalist and follows driver centric design principle with carbon-fibre and dark plastic used in abundance to flow around the infotainment screen and down the centre console. Being accustomed to seeing an array of buttons and panels it’s a bit odd at first sitting in a car that appears so simple. But it works in removing the fussiness some car interiors could do without, although the quality of the hood lining, door cards and some dash plastics aren’t quite up there with some other premium european vehicles. But in saying that, the addition of thick leather, extra panel padding and the usual premium finishes, would see the car put on a few extra pounds.
The infotainment features an 8.8-inch screen and is controlled by a rotary dial controller mounted on the centre console. The control-dialer works well and the infotainment software, during our short test, seemed to work well, although it doesn’t feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Connectivity is by Bluetooth and there are three USB ports – two upfront and one in the rear – and all windows are automatic up-and-down. The door compartments are good for maps and papers only (no drink bottles).
The rear seat isn’t terribly comfortable but it is roomy enough for adults, although the low-set front seats minimise foot room. The roof is set high so there was no issue fitting my 6ft-tall body in and then getting out of any of the seats and there’s also one USB charging port and elastic pockets on the back of both front seats.
What’s it like on the road… er, race track?
We only had a few laps around Sydney Motorsport Park at the local launch and there was no road-driving component, so driving impressions are limited until we conduct a comprehensive road test.
The brain of the driving experience is the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s DNA Pro modes (Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency and Race) and each mode affects transmission, throttle and engine parameters. The mode is selected via a rotary dial and a 7.0-inch colour dash screen supplies relevant information according to the self-explanatory drive modes. We’ll prepare a full technical explanation of this system in the next week or so.
The DNA system removes individual buttons for engine, steering, transmission or other adjustments, and instead promises a tailored and best suited experience according to what the driver wants. On the track there was indeed a noticeable variance between modes, although Dynamic and Race were best suited. But, trying to stay alive on a race track meant we didn’t get much time to fiddle with settings. Shame.
On the track, the 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 is a screamer but it needs to be worked hard to extract peak power. This is not a bad thing, for the sound it produces higher up in the rev-range is intoxicating. The peak 600Nm of torque is available from 2500rpm, and while this doesn’t sound particularly high it does mean that if you’re caught in too high a gear the engine can feel lethargic, but once it hits around 3500rpm there’s a tremendous amount of power and torque being poured on in a steady stream. That said, it doesn’t feel any quicker than its rivals in a straight line, if anything, the Germans feel more rapid due to the early power delivery. But it’s the in-gear acceleration (as long as you’re in the right gear) that’s this Giulia QVs main party trick.
The Giulia doesn’t feel as large or hefty to move about as its size might indicate and it’s easily coerced into the smallest progression of oversteer without ever feeling like the rear is going to break away completely. There’s no fussiness about the suspension either (although most cars feel good on a smooth race track), particularly in the rear, and the chassis does a good job of communicating and connecting car to the driver. The steering is well weighted without feeling too overworked by electronics, and turn-in was quick and accurate through a progression of corners.
The eight-speed automatic transmission shifted precisely and smoothly and the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters have a nice tactile feel. The ‘box also held gears without shifting up and would shift down at almost any request with seemingly little thought to self preservation.
Overall, the on-road manners appeared to be good but were difficult to discern on such a short drive, so we’ll report back with a complete run down in our week-long road test.
What about safety features?
Alfa Romeo Giulia hasn’t been ANCAP rated yet but has scored a 5 star Euro NCAP rating (ANCAP will adhere to Euro NCAP testing methodology from 2018, and until then tends to adopt Euro NCAP scores, so, expect the Giulia to receive a 5 Star ANCAP rating). It rated 98% for adult occupancy (highest ever recorded for a car), 81% for child occupancy, 69% for pedestrian safety, and 60% for safety assistance.
Standard safety features include eight airbags, Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Brake and pedestrian recognition, Integrated Brake System, and Lane Departure Warning.
Pricing and Equipment
The Giulia Quadrifoglio starts at $143,900+ORCs and comes equipped with an 8.8-inch colour infotainment screen with reversing camera, 7.0-inch dash cluster screen, keyless entry and ignition, dual zone climate control, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, parking sensors front and rear and LED DRLs (daytime running lights), 19-inch forged alloy wheels, Monza exhaust, carbon fibre bonnet, roof, rear spoiler and active front splitter, adaptive front lights with automatic high beam, leather and Alcantara seats, bespoke steering wheel, carbon-fibre bits inside, Alfa DNA Pro drive modes, active suspension, torque vectoring, tyre pressure monitoring and a Harmon/Kardon sounds system.
Why would you buy one?
Simple, you want to say to your mates that you own the current Nurburgring lap record holder… The Giulia QV harks back to a an era when owning an Alfa Romeo meant you were a ‘driver’… hopefully this new car is a little more reliable than the old ones. You could tread the well-trodden path of buying a German performance car at this end of the price range, but the Giulia QV now offers something a little bit different, a little bit more raw perhaps. And that’s good news indeed.