When you get an invite to the latest model launch from Alfa Romeo, the first thing that comes to mind is whether or not the car is going to actually survive the full launch without breaking down somewhere.
Alfa Romeo has been making beautiful cars since 1910 but haven’t had the greatest of successes in recent years being plagued by unreliability and quality issues.
There was a little apprehension as I awoke at 4:30am to be ready for a 6am flight to Cape Town, wondering what the launch of the Alfa Romeo Giulia had in store and hoping upon on all hopes that it would change my perception of the brand.
As we arrived in Cape Town, we were whisked off to beautiful Franschhoek in a number of vintage Alfa Romeos, dating back to the days when Alfa’s were romantic and their Italian charm and design shone through amongst the plethora of boring car designs.
I climbed aboard an Alfa Romeo Spider dating back to the 70’s and with the wind in our hair and the sun tanning our exposed aging scalps, we set off for the winelands.
On arriving at the Franschhoek Motor Museum I caught my first glimpse of the practically race-ready Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and what a sight it was.
Having seen the car in the flesh, I was eager to get behind the wheel and see if this car was worth any fuss at all.
On the Rupert’s private racetrack on their wine farm I finally got the chance to experiment with the Giulia Quadrifoglio at race pace and it did not disappoint in the least with a massive 500hp (375kW) propelling the sedan to 100km/h in just under 4 seconds.
The Ferrari-sourced 2.9 twin-turbo V6 will take the car to a governed, yes a governed, 307km/h which is damn near supercar territory.
The engine is the same motor from the Ferrari California T but minus 2 cylinders which means you’ve pretty much got a Ferrari engine propelling the Quadrifoglio to that massive top speed.
The 8-spd ZF gearbox with sleek moulded aluminium paddles mounted to the steering column completes the package and helps change the cogs in lightning quick time while driving the rear wheels via a carbon fibre drive shaft.
The very direct steering allows you to point the car where you want it to go and allow to feel exactly what it is doing, leaving you with a driving experience second to none.
Some clever trickery in the form of active suspension and torque vectoring technology help the car turn on a dime and comply to your every requirement.
The sheer pace of the V6 Twin-turbo can catch you unaware if you’re not on top of your game; it’s a feisty machine that wants to teach you a lesson when you don’t play nice.
Getting to thrash a car of this calibre around a race track is counted as a privilege but to experience the joy of what Alfa Romeo has created in the Giulia Quadrifoglio is something I will never forget.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio wasn’t the only model in the range we got to sample, the far more subdued 2.0 Turbo Giulia was ready and waiting for us to take it through it’s paces over 3 mountain passes.
Being the owner of a mundane BMW 320i I was extremely interested to find out how this Giulia competes and I was pleasantly surprised, if not completely blown away.
Finally, an Alfa Romeo that I could quite happily park in my own garage and be proud of owning it.
The Giulia 2.0T dishes out a healthy 147kW and mated to the 8-spd gearbox is a treat to operate around the twists and turns of the winelands routes.
The interior quality of Giulia is far better than previous models from the Alfa Romeo stable and finally has that premium feel to it whilst not quite as polished as the Germans.
Alfa Romeo had a lot to prove with this new model entering into a segment that is completely trumped by the Germans, but I think they’ve succeeded for the most part.
So, the question everyone has been asking: Is the Alfa Romeo Giulia better than its German (and British for that matter) counterparts?
The simple answer: Yes.
A quote from a very shiny-headed colleague sums it all up: “The best German sports sedan now comes from Italy.”
Alfa Romeo’s local plan is to sell ±450 units per month with 10% of that being Quadrifoglio variants and I believe they will battle to meet demand with the package on offer.
Pricing starts at R 555,000 for the entry-level Alfa Romeo Giulia and there are four trims available including a 3-year/100 000 km warranty and 6-year/100 000 km maintenance plan:
Alfa Romeo 2.0 Base R 555,000
Alfa Romeo 2.0 Super R625 000
Alfa Romeo 2.0 Super with Stile Pack R696 000
Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio R1 400 000
Watch our friends over at Cars.co.za review the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio