Almost every luxury car brand has been trying to build their own sports car to unseat the BMW M3, the automotive yardstick. Hell, even the non luxury Kia brand is trying to do it! So how do you beat the Germans at the luxury sports car game? You have to build an even nastier M3. Maybe it takes an Italian to do it, too! Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) Alfa Romeo has done just that with the The 2017 Giulia Quadrifoglio, which is making a presence in the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. If you are in the area this is definitely a vehicle you should see in person!
The Quadrifoglio is a title left for the cream of the crop Alfas. The four leaf clover means that this Giulia is packed with performance bits, starting with an all aluminum 90 degree 2.9 liter twin turbo V6. This powerplant will produce an ASTOUNDING 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. The Ferrari born engine is couched in a high-strength steel body with aluminum fenders and doors, seasoned with carbon fiber elements for the roof, hood, and driveshaft. This results in a power-to-weight ratio of 7 pounds per horsepower. Alfa Romeo claims that this results in a top speed of 191 mph with a 0-60 sprint of 3.8 seconds. This is M3 territory.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio puts the power down properly through the 6-speed manual transmission and through the rear wheels, as God intended. There’s also a little bit of tech infused wizardry via Alfa Romeo’s DNA Pro system, which is a user selectable driving mode that controls the vehicles performance limits and efficiency. According to Alfa Romeo:
RACE activates the overboost function for increased torque limits and allows for maximum pedal response for ultimate sport driving.
DYNAMIC delivers sharper throttle, brake and steering wheel response for sporty on-road driving and a throatier exhaust note.
NATURAL is a comfort setting for a perfect balance in daily driving.
ADVANCED EFFICIENCY enables the cylinder deactivation to maximize energy savings and dynamic efficiency.
Up front there’s an active front splitter that moves up and down depending on driving conditions, and according to Alfa Romeo, this is the first sedan in the world to have this technology. Basically, the carbon fiber front splitter is seated in the front fascia under normal conditions. However, under braking and turning conditions the front splitter opens up (moves down) to expose more surface area and produce 220 pounds of downforce. We would have to get some track time to understand whether this technology will work or not, right now we are only seeing cracked splitters from speed bumps in the foreseeable future.As for the design the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s side profile looked like it was a straight M3 rip off. The upper and lower character lines share similar starting points. The two would look like identical twins had the end points of those lines not be hidden by the Giulia’s beefier rear quarter panels. There’s even a strong hint of a Hofmeister Kink in the Alfa!
As for the rest of the design it is visibly Italian, sometimes comically Italian. I can’t be the only one that sees a giant mustache beneath the triangular nose! The smooth curves of the front fascia wrapping around the front quarter panel of the car mimics the subtly-soft look of the 4C two seater, while the headlamps oddly departs from the 4C’s design language. Instead of the oval-ish headlights the Giulia went with a more stylized squint. Coming around the back the Giulia’s stocky rear end and taillights is reminiscent of Maserati’s Granturismo. Overall this is a beautifully designed vehicle and shows that Italian sleekness still works even in a butch and muscular form.
We’d have to get some seat time with the Quadrifoglio to test if it can truly compete with the venerable M3, because on paper it certainly has the credibility to make the German yardstick tremble. But the proof is in the pudding and Alfa Romeo is not shy about measuring the Giulia Quadrifoglio with another automotive yardstick: The Nurburgring. The Giulia Quadrifoglio handily completed the Ring in under 7 minutes 39 seconds. This is a blisteringly fast time that competes in the realm of some Lamborghinis. What’s BMW M3/M4’s time you ask? 7 minutes and 52 seconds… If I were BMW, I wouldn’t be too scared, but I would definitely get working on a CSL version ASAP!