Alfa Romeo's fast sports saloon receives minor updates but stays one of the most engaging and entertaining cars in the class

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To the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, then: launched in 2017, very mildly revised in the spring of 2024, and still among the best sports saloons on sale in our eyes.

Few car makers inspire such unwavering loyalty and enthusiasm from those who purchase their products as Alfa Romeo – and fewer have been so guilty of taking such passion for granted in the recent past.

There have been a procession of plain-handling Alfas, continuing to this day in the form of the latest Tonale crossover.

But in among the range all still lies one of the most entertaining cars launched in the past decade. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is a brilliant handling, fine riding, accelerative and responsive sports saloon of the best kind. Good enough to compete - perhaps still beat - the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63.

Alfa says it’ll be all-electric by 2027. So the Giulia Quadrifoglio might be the high point its combusted cars go out on.



alfa romeo giulia qv review 2024 02 panning side

The Alfa Giulia is certainly a relatively light, advanced and powerful saloon offering the kind of material construction, suspension technology and powertrain sophistication that not only brought the Quadrifoglio into the compact executive super saloon segment in a particularly strong position, but which has allowed it to remain competitive with its German rivals for years thereafter. There’s an argument that, given a Mercedes-AMG C63 is no longer V8-powered, the Giulia is more competitive than ever.

The car’s underbody construction is predominantly steel, with aluminium and composites used in places to save weight. All Giulias have aluminium suspension arms and subframes, cast aluminium suspension towers, aluminium doors and wings and a carbonfibre driveshaft.

ESP is sensitive in its most imposing mode but can be progressively knocked back until it’s all off

The Quadrifoglio version adds a carbonfibre bonnet, and there’s an optional carbonfibre roof, as well as a carbonfibre front splitter with active aerodynamic functions.

Alfa Romeo quotes a kerb weight for the Quadrifoglio of 1660kg. In 2017 we weighed the car at 1700kg on MIRA proving ground’s scales, making it considerably lighter than the Mercedes-AMG C63 of the time, if less than the BMW M equivalent – though that car’s replacement, the latest M3, is 1805kg, so the Giulia is now respectively even more feathery than it used to be.

Holding up the other end of the Alfa’s power to weight ratio is a twin-turbocharged V6 which, following a 10bhp boost early in 2024, makes 513bhp at 6500rpm and 443lb ft from 2500-5000rpm – the same in the regular Quadrifoglio as in a 100th anniversary edition launched in 2023.

Alfa’s engineers described the all-aluminium unit as being ‘inspired by’ Ferrari’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8. The fact that the motors share identical – and slightly oversquare – cylinder bore and stroke measurements, an identical 90deg bank angle, very similar compression ratios and turbochargers supplied by IHI would all suggest the relationship is closer than they let on.

At launch that motor drove through a torque-vectoring rear differential which had a pair of clutches that could send 100% of drive to either rear wheel. In 2024, though, that became a straightforward mechanical limited-slip differential, a likely cheaper alternative but one said to be more predictable and linear in operation than the cleverer unit.

Other features include adaptive dampers, double-wishbone front suspension, a weight-saving ‘by-wire’ electromechanical braking system and a Magnetti Marelli central electronic chassis management computer, the function of which is to make the car’s various secondary electronics work in harmony.

All UK cars come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, 19in alloy wheels offered in two different styles and carbon-ceramic brake discs as options. Over the years we’ve tried the car with and without those.


alfa romeo giulia qv review 2024 13 binnacle

There was a time when you would have expected an Alfa Romeo to have an idiosyncratic driving position, partly due to the swap to right-hand drive and partly due to Alfa not thinking hard enough about such things.

No such dramas today. The Giulia’s seating position is straight and can be near or far and low or high. It has a perfectly sited steering wheel of brilliant size and girth, and which extends further than that of any rival. It’s even pretty round, by the standards of the class.

I’m happy enough to see carbonfibre trim inside a car like this, but better still is the fact that you can see the bonnet is made of it from inside the cabin

If you’re looking for the last word in infotainment and connectivity, you’ll not find it here, but as time goes on that bothers us less. There’s a modest-sized touchscreen with an additional tunnel-mounted rotary controller, which talks to smartphones, has navigation and messaging and handsfree calling and, honestly, what more do you need? The heating and ventilation dials are straightforward too.

There are fewer features and lower-quality graphics than in the latest (particularly German) opposition. Somehow, though, not too much of that matters.

Materials are fine. There’s carbonfibre in here that looks and feels like the real deal, with quality leather and stitching, but there are some retrograde plastics masquerading as metals, too, which gives the air of an interior from half a decade ago if you’re comparing it to the latest German solidity. A clichéd finding, perhaps, but still true.

Rear accommodation is acceptable, and this is a Giulia Quadrifoglio, so you can live with the fact it’s not better.


alfa romeo giulia qv review 2024 22 engine

There’s a reason that the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’s interior foibles seem as petty as they are, and it’s to do with the way the car drives. The V6 fires to a purposeful, if not spiteful, idle, with the impression that air is being moved around in gruff amounts.

It's no AMG V8, but neither is AMG’s latest offering. So notch up another win for this old stager.

The handbook warns you to expect ‘instability’ when selecting Race mode, but it’s actually referring to the action of the selector and not to the car’s handling

If you twist the DNA drive mode selector to D (for dynamic), it increases the exhaust woofle, sharpens the throttle response and affects which gear the transmission opts to put itself in.

On part throttle, mind, there’s an occasional hesitancy: sometimes it gives you more than you ask, sometimes less, but it’s very slight and only just enough to prick your consciousness.

The eight-speed auto’s movements are nicely matched, although at anything more than a gentle cruise we found we wanted to take charge ourselves via the column-mounted shift paddles.

Do so and the Alfa fairly flies. In our 2017 road test, in good perfect conditions and on new tyres it hit 60mph from rest in under four seconds. As a two-way average, with two people aboard and fully fuelled, there’s still nothing wrong with the 4.5sec the car returned in our hands. It’s unlikely the extra 10bhp added at the start of 2024 will make much difference.

Turbo lag becomes negligible once you have 3000rpm or so wound on, and the V6 runs to a soulful 7300rpm, with a noise that’s smoother than V8s and more engaging than BMW’s straight-six.
Its gearbox operates with greater smoothness than that in most alternatives, too. The Giulia mooches through gears with the ease of a tight torque converter auto, and is arguably better for it.

It also stops well, even on worn P Zero Corsas and in the wet, although brake pedal feel as you come to a halt could be improved. Initial feel is good, as is retardation, on carbon ceramics or otherwise, but often after you stop you have to adjust pedal pressure to prevent the Giulia creeping forwards.


alfa romeo giulia qv review 2024 24 panning side

Here’s what continues to impress us most about the Alfa Romeo Giulia: it’s a sensational car dynamically – and if you’d spent any time around Alfa Romeos during the previous decade, you wouldn’t have seen that coming.

For a start it rides well. Not in a lolloping, loping way, nor in a keyed-down, brittle way, but with a blend of impeccable body control and a deft ride that is still the equal of anything in the class It’s like Ferrari or (pre-Chinese) Lotus had set out to make a compact executive saloon.

Optional carbon-ceramic brakes resist fade admirably, even after a solid five or more dry laps

There’s multi-state control for the adaptive dampers, so as you put the engine into angry mode you can still pop the suspension back to a softer setting – and you’d probably want to on most British roads.

On a good smooth surface the Giulia is fine in its firmest mode, while on broken surfaces it’s ideally planted in its softer mode.

If anything, its ride and handling blend feels most like that of a sporting Jaguar (which we mean entirely as a compliment), so it is set up beautifully for British roads.

The steering suits our roads too. It’s quick to steer, at 2.25 turns between locks, but there’s no hint of nervousness, and although there are more feelsome racks in the sports car world, the Alfa’s firm rim means that its messages filter through to the driver better than they do in almost any of the competition.

The Giulia is pleasingly balanced, too. Thanks to a very even weight distribution it resists overloading its front tyres, while the rears can be exploited by the car’s ample power.

In good conditions there’s a lot of traction; in poor conditions very obviously less so. But all the time the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a car of rare poise and ability. When we first tested the Giulia we found that its differential ‘didn’t hook up as cleanly as a conventional limited-slip differential’, so that’s what it now has. It remains a precise cornering tool but there’s certainly a cleaner, quicker and more predictable hook-up of the rear wheels under accelerative cornering.



alfa romeo giulia qv review 2024 01 cornering front

Initially Alfa Romeo aimed for a quietly punchy value offering with the Giulia Quadrifoglio, which it tasked with doing a reputational reconstruction job for the firm. At launch it undercut a Mercedes-AMG C63 and the equivalent BMW M3 Competition and several years later while it now costs nearly £80,000, so too – at least - do the rivals.

The Alfa is also refreshingly free from a vast options list. Pick an exhaust, some wheels, maybe the carbonfibre roof, a colour, and you don’t get much more choice than that.

Alfa undercuts its German rivals on showroom price but fares marginally less well on residual value over three

It’s also holding its value rather better than predicted. Even at seven years old, early Quadrifoglios (at the time of writing, March 2024) still command more than £30,000, a little under half their new cost.

The Quadrifoglio comes with a 58-litre fuel tank, which is slightly smaller than some of its rivals offer, but the 35.7mpg touring economy it returned on our test more than makes up for the shortfall.


alfa romeo giulia qv review 2024 27 front static

The Giulia was and remains one of the most magnificent driver’s saloons in a decade. It does it all: it goes, it stops, it steers and it sounds good, and it does all of those things with just the right amount of conviction and aggression. It is never too hard, never too soft, never not poised or agile enough and yet it never feels nervous at a cruise.

No car is ever perfect, of course, and there are areas – such as the quality of the cabin and the feel of the  brake and throttle – where the Alfa could use some finessing.

Everything you’d want a fast Alfa Romeo saloon to be. A triumph

As time goes on, its appeal is undimmed. At launch we ranked it nearly at the top of the sports saloon class. And comfortably more than half a decade later, it’s still there.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio First drives