Although it shares its underpinnings, styling, and cabin with the regular Giulia sedan, the 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a different beast thanks to one critical element: its twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 engine. This gem of a powerplant cranks out a hearty 505 horsepower and takes the Giulia’s performance to 11. It rivals the Audi RS5 Sportback and the Mercedes-AMG C63, and like the standard Giulia, the Quadrifoglio delivers thrilling handling and a drop-dead gorgeous exterior that really turns heads. Alfa Romeo isn’t known for reliability, and over 40,000 miles with our long-term Giulia Quadrifoglio, we experienced quite a few quality issues. But this supersedan’ sporting character and unrivaled beauty make it easier to overlook those flaws.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
With its 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, 443 pound-feet of torque, and a spine-tingling timbre that shames most rivals. Too bad a manual transmission isn’t available. We’re also sad to report that Alfa Romeo lives up to its reputation for unreliability, with our long-termer exhibiting several mechanical glitches. 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 turbos spool up and power builds in a whirlwind of acceleration and a ripping exhaust note. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is decisive and quick to swap gears in the sportier drive modes, and the Giulia’s supple chassis is a willing partner in high-spirited hijinks. The Alfa shines on track and handles daily driving well, with perfect damping and notable isolation from harsh impacts. The zestier driving modes don’t compromise ride quality, either. And then there’s the sensational steering setup: The thin-rimmed steering wheel feels like a blast from the past, offering 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 in EPA ratings, with the Alfa earning 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The version we tested on our 200-mile fuel-economy route beat its highway estimate by 1 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Giulia’s interior is 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 switchgear and swooping dashboard carry over from the regular Giulia, but the Quadrifoglio adds a copious amount of carbon-fiber trim. The QF’s trunk would accommodate four carry-on suitcases, which is average for this class. The reasonably sized center console adds a bit of front-row storage. Back-seat passengers are limited to small door pockets and cargo netting on the back of the front seats to store their stuff.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The 8.8-inch infotainment display in the dash can be controlled by touch or by a rotary knob on the center console. The interface is customizable and intuitive, but the driver may have some difficulty hitting the smaller on-screen icons when the vehicle is in motion. Still, Alfa’s system has a wealth of features and comes with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. A 15-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system is also standard.