First Drive: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 & Quadrifoglio Verde

First Drive: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 & Quadrifoglio Verde

If you were to nominate one brand aimed at the motoring purist, there would be a strong argument for Alfa Romeo winning the title. For owners, though, there are often more highs and lows than a fairground ride. Bruce Fraser reports on the new Giulia

What is this car all about?

We’ve heard it all before from manufacturers about taking on the Big Guns of Germany in the D-segment. More often than not it comes to nought, but this time though – particularly with the Quadrifoglio Verde – Alfa Romeo might just have the ammunition to do so.

What’s under the hood?

The Quadrifoglio Verde packs a pretty lethal arsenal: a 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo engine that spits out 375kW and torque in excess of 600Nm. But get this – it has a top speed governed at 307km/h and sprints from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.9-seconds. These are some seriously impressive on-paper figures.

The regular Giulia is only slightly less intoxicating thanks to its all-aluminium 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that generates 146kW and 330Nm. I’ve got to say that it’s an absolute peach of an engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission does duty across the range.

Does is stand out from the crowd?

With a distinctly Italian design, this is quite possibly Alfa’s sexiest car in a long time. The great Henry Ford once said: ”When I see an Alfa go by I tip my hat.” With the Giulia, I can understand this statement.

What’s noteworthy on the inside?

Four trim levels are available in the Giulia and as you make your way up the range and the levels of comfort increase. Everything appears to be well put together with a minimum of outside noise filtering through to the cabin. It certainly has the potential to be a great tourer with plenty of comfort features to fiddle about with.

Is it good to drive?

A couple of laps around Anthony Rupert’s private racetrack situated just outside of Franschhoek in the Quadrifoglio Verde was pure balls-to-the-wall stuff with all 375kW crying out for attention. Pleasantly surprising out on the open road was the performance of the 2.0-litre Giulia: handling was to the point, the car felt extremely planted to the road and acceleration was effortless. With the limited edition Verde already sold out, the Giulia (starting at R550 000) looks an exciting left-field choice for those not wanting to follow the masses.

Who’s going to lose sleep about this car?

Lets face it, we are a brand-conscious society – particularly when it comes to vehicles – and Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have a stranglehold on certain segments of the new-car market. Will they see the Giulia as a threat? Most likely not. Which is a pity, because it certainly deserves to be.

Fast Facts: Alfa Romeo Quadrafolio Verde

Engine: 2891cc V6 bi-turbo petrol
Power: 375kW at 6 500rpm
Torque: 600Nm at 2 500rpm
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
0-100km/h: 3.9 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 307km/h (governed)
Fuel: 8.2l/100km (combined)
CO2: 189g/km (combined)
Price: From R1 400 000

Fast Facts: Alfa Romeo Giulia

Engine: 1995cc four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Power: 147kW at 5 000rpm
Torque: 330Nm at 1 750rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h: 6.6 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 235km/h (claimed)
Fuel: 6l/100km (combined)
CO2: 138g/km (combined)
Price: From R550 000