IF A CURSORY GLANCE at the 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’s mid-life update leaves you scratching for signs of change, there’s a good reason for this – it hasn’t changed much at all.
That’s because the handsome and frisky Italian has, over the past four years, proven itself as a fiery, yet everyday-friendly high performer. It’s imbued with an exotic enthusiast appeal, but is increasingly left wanting for techy convenience and safety features. So while it’s relatively slim pickings on the MY21 dynamics menu, it addresses some of the latter stuff.
The new 8.8-inch, smartphone mirroring infotainment system and broader active safety will hardly send the Alfisti rushing to showrooms. That said, it’s a bit of a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. But there’s now just a little more sweetener in terms of spec to combat the likes of the box-fresh BMW M3 as well as the stalwart Mercedes-AMG C63 S.
One thing the flamboyant Italian definitely has on its side is price. And now more so than ever, with the hot Giulia receiving an almost $7K cut to its sticker. Admission now starts at $138,950, meaning the Alfa significantly undercuts the $150,900 Audi RS5 Sportback, $154,900 BMW M3 Competition and $168,300 Mercedes-AMG C63 S. Only the ‘base’ manual M3 comes close to the Q at $144,900.
Yes, there’s nothing much new to report in the go-faster department, but then, it didn’t really have to alter. The Giulia’s brutal 375kW and 600Nm 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 remains unchanged. And thankfully so. Alfa hasn’t felt the need to best its competition by adding more grunt, instead opting to retain the proven package’s heart-warming nature and the metallic-tinged soundtrack like nothing else in its class. It’s a big drawcard, and one of the reasons you should make the near-$140K investment.
It’s still debatable just how much Ferrari DNA courses through its oil galleries – the official line was “Ferrari inspired” and “developed by engineers with a Ferrari background” at the then QV’s 2017 launch. Yet, its finely honed, smooth-revving manner nails the requisite character. It’s virtually lagfree in response and with a more linear delivery than I remember.
Speaking of DNA, dial up Dynamic on the drive-mode controller, trounce the loud pedal and it mounts its peak torque enthusiastically, the assertively clipped upshifts of the tightly stacked eight-speed auto launching it out of the hole hard. It uses stepped-torque in lower ratios to stop the Pirelli P Zero Corsas from scrabbling too much, where it feels a touch stymied, but into third gear and on a roll the thrust is palpable.
Clearly it’s a machine honed more for real-world rolling punch than the drag strip stand-off and if it can match its 3.9-second 0-100km/h claim I’d like to see (and feel) it. Through the 2018 PCOTY filter, the former QV’s best was a more leisurely 4.3s to 100km/h on its way to a handy 12.2s quarter mile. On the move and on the boil, though, it’s plenty swift by the seat of the pants.
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