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- Highs Kick-ass twin-turbo V-6, agile handling, svelte styling.
- Lows Questionable reliability, limited in-cabin storage space, no manual transmission.
- Verdict Although it's not short on flaws, the Giulia Quadrifoglio's blistering performance and joyful handling make it one of our favorite cars.
Alfa Romeo may be unfamiliar to many Americans, but its beautifully curved and brutally powerful Giulia Quadrifoglio is a kick-ass way to kick-start awareness. Based on the superb Giulia sedan, the QF (for short) boasts a 505-hp twin-turbo V-6 and countless track-focused modifications. While both variants serve different masters, their impeccable ride quality and precise handling were primary reasons that we named them 10Best winners. Enthusiasts will appreciate the QF’s rousing exhaust note and communicative chassis but may question the automatic-only gearbox as well as Alfa’s build quality and reliability. Still, this sexy sports sedan is worthy of a centerfold and guaranteed to arouse your—ahem—senses.
What's New for 2018?
The Giulia Quadrifoglio enters 2018 without any cosmetic or mechanical changes. However, Alfa has upgraded its standard features to include a Harman/Kardon sound system and forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking (both were options in 2017). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are new for 2018 and standard on all Giulia models. These updates also increase the Giulia’s starting price by $1700.
- Giulia Quadrifoglio RWD: $75,295
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Implanted with a rhapsodic twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 and an exquisitely calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission, the rear-drive-only Giulia Quadrifoglio is a riot to pilot. The Italy-built, Ferrari-derived engine produces a spine-tingling timbre that shames most rivals. Too bad a manual transmission isn’t available on the U.S. version, and several mechanical glitches we experienced have reminded us of Alfa’s infamous reliability issues. The QF’s boosted mill generates 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, which makes more stallions than the BMW M3 or Cadillac ATS-V. The Mercedes-AMG C63 S almost matches the QF with 503 horses, but its glorious twin-turbo V-8 has a greater torque reserve (516 lb-ft). The QF needed a mere 3.7 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph, as did the V-8–powered Mercedes-AMG C 63 S. Every Quadrifoglio is fitted with adaptive dampers and a set of 19-inch wheels wrapped in super-sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber. While we were surprised at the Alfa’s capability on the track, its docile damping and notable isolation from harsh impacts during daily driving were equally disarming. Even in zestier drive modes, the ride quality wasn’t compromised.
EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the Compare Side-by-Side tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Alfa’s cosmopolitan interior successfully incorporates race inspiration and rich influence. A satisfying driving position promotes spirited romps, but some cheap plastics and cumbersome access points are reductive. Inside, our test car was composed of leather surfaces and faux-suede accents. The attractive front seats were supportive without being restrictive. A pair of racing-oriented Recaro buckets are available, but they lack the power adjustments and heating elements of the standard set. The flowing dashboard and circular design scheme carry over from the regular Giulia, and the Quadrifoglio adds copious carbon-fiber trim. Too bad the shift-knob casing felt chintzy and the plastic panels below the hip level were shoddy. It’s hard to criticize a car that looks so good and drives so well, but the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a lackluster travel companion. Its interior cubby space is limited, and its cargo space is compromised by a back seat that doesn’t fold down. Apart from narrow door pockets, a reasonably sized center console constitutes front-row storage. Likewise, back-seat passengers are limited to small door pockets and seatback netting. Somehow Alfa forgot to include a fold-down armrest back there, too.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Giulia Quadrifoglio’s standard 8.8-inch infotainment screen is easy to operate and responsive to inputs. The center screen is controlled by a rotary knob on the center console that also functions as a touchpad. The lack of touch functions might seem foreign, but the physical controls are effective and intuitive. Although Alfa’s Information and Entertainment System has a few flaws, it includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Too bad a mobile hotspot is still not available.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
For more information about the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.