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- Highs Racy styling, throaty exhaust sounds, sharp handling chassis.
- Lows Checkered reliability, no manual transmission offered, turbo lag.
- Verdict Despite its flaws, the Giulia Quadrifoglio excels in its quest to dominate the sports sedan competition.
The 2020 Giulia Quadrifoglio takes the already delicious dish that is the Giulia sports sedan and adds a liberal helping of Italian seasoning to boost its profile and its performance. With a 505-hp twin-turbo V-6 under the hood, the Giulia Quadrifoglio has the muscle to keep pace with the Audi RS5 Sportback, the BMW M3, and the Mercedes-AMG C63. Handling is razor sharp, too, which makes the Quadrifoglio a joy to pilot on twisty roads and racetracks; these modern Alfas serve as our benchmark for steering feel. Unfortunately, this Italian stallion's reputation for poor reliability came true during our 40,000-mile test of a 2018 model. Even so, it barely tempers our excitement for driving such a focused sports sedan.
What's New for 2020?
As with its non-Quadrifoglio variant, the high-performance Giulia receives a host of updates for 2020 to help it better compete with sports sedans from Germany, Japan, and America. An all-new touchscreen infotainment system is now featured prominently on the dashboard while updated interior materials adorn the center console for a more premium look and feel. Additional driver-assistance features are now offered, including a semi-autonomous driving mode. An even hotter, 540-hp Giulia Quadrifoglio GTA variant is coming in limited numbers for the 2021 model year, but it remains to be seen if Alfa Romeo will offer that model outside of Europe.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We wouldn't add much to the Giulia Quadrifoglio's spec sheet as it's very well equipped right from the start, with desirable features such as in-dash navigation, blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, and a 15-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system. We would add the Active Driver Assist package, though, to unlock the Giulia's new driver-assistance tech. Automatic high-beam headlamps, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a semi-autonomous driving mode are all included for $2000.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Implanted with a rhapsodic twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 and a well-calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission, the rear-drive-only Giulia Quadrifoglio is a riot to pilot. The Italian-built, Ferrari-derived engine produces 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, and a spine-tingling timbre that shames most rivals. Too bad a manual transmission isn't available, and several mechanical glitches we experienced have reminded us of Alfa's infamous reliability issues. The Giulia's engine contains its excitement when cruising at low rpm and in top gear. Applying the throttle below 3000 rpm results in a hint of hesitation, but then the twin turbos spool up and power builds in a whirlwind of acceleration and a ripping exhaust note. It's a spectacular sensation that is simultaneously exotic and intoxicating. Its eight-speed automatic gearbox is decisive and quick to swap gears in its sportier drive modes. A supple chassis is a willing partner in your desire to engage in high-spirited hijinks. Every Quadrifoglio is fitted with adaptive dampers. While we were surprised at the Alfa's capability on the track, its perfect damping and notable isolation from harsh impacts during daily driving were equally surprising—and welcome. Even in zestier drive modes, the ride quality wasn't compromised. And then there's the sensational steering setup: the thin-rimmed steering wheel feels like a blast from the past, with feather-light effort, communicative feedback, and pleasingly quick response. The synthesis of these traits is what separates the Quadrifoglio from its main rivals.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Giulia QF and its supersedan rivals are virtually tied atop the EPA ratings, with the Alfa earning 17 mpg city and 24 highway. The version we tested on our 200-mile fuel-economy route beat its highway estimate by 2 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Alfa's interior successfully incorporates race inspiration and rich influence. A satisfying driving position promotes spirited romps, with an interior composed of leather surfaces and faux-suede accents. The attractive front seats are 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 amounts of carbon-fiber trim. We fit four carry-on suitcases in the QF's trunk, which is average for this class. 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 cargo netting on the back of the front seats.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The infotainment system's center screen is controlled by a rotary knob on the center console or by touching the display itself. The 8.8-inch display is overshadowed by the asymmetrical bezel that surrounds it, but the dashboard ledge above blocks glare. The new interface is customizable and intuitive, but a few of the on-screen icons are too small to be easily activated while driving. Still, Alfa's system has a wealth of features and comes standard with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto; a 15-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system is also standard.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The high-performance Giulia has not been crash-tested here in the U.S. However, the swoopy sedan has standard driver assists such as automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring plus a slew of available equipment. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Alfa Romeo provides an average limited and powertrain warranty. Its corrosion protection is also average, but its complimentary-maintenance period is shorter than BMW's.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles