A lion in wolfs clothing…

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio 2.9 Bi-turbo V6, Model on test: £73,805

Looks like a handful… because it is.

I’d been looking forward to testing the Giulia since it was launched and I fell in love with the unmistakably Alfa styling; let’s face it, they know how to make a good looking car. Truth is I could have tested this car back in May of last year, but I wanted to hold off and drive the Quadrifoglio model. In years gone by, Alfa called these Cloverleaf, but I think this name is much better (even though it means the same thing)… they even call them QV for short.

So it looks like a family saloon, it has four doors and a more than spacious boot, it even has ISOFIX fittings for the kids seats. But the bodykit and the exhausts (all four of them) and the massive alloys all indicate something else…

The car was designed by an ex Ferrari designer, and rumour has it that when he left the factory, a V8 engine from the California T which found its way into the QV with a couple of cylinders missing. Of course Alfa and Ferrari both deny that, but the indications are all there.

Anyway, wherever the engine came from, what it does is give a family car the grunt of something much more suited to driving sideways on track days. The engine is capable of 191mph and it will get you there fast. This car is a proper handful – take it out of comfort and the back end gets very slippery – this will will step out of line on a mini roundabout if you’re not careful… god knows what it would be like in track mode!

But enough about it’s tail happy nature, what’s it like as a car… karting the kids around, and going ice skating. As you do, well as we did at least.

It’s spacious, no issues there, and really comfortable – the driving position is everything an Alfa should be. You have great visibility and a fantastic view down the sculpted bonnet. The bells and whistles are all there as you would expect on a top spec car, and it gives a lovely feel even in comfort mode. You don’t need to push it because it makes you smile even at (for want of a better word) normal speeds. And the noise…

Oh. My. God. The noise… the exhausts sound amazing as you take the gearbox through the revs, either in auto or using the flappy paddles – which actually work quite well… it’s one of the best engine notes I’ve heard in a long time.

There is however a problem with this car. It’s not major, but it’s annoying in car so close otherwise to perfection.

It’s the steering.

It’s fine at speed – in fact anything above about five or ten miles an hour, but manoeuvring at low speeds to get in and out of parking spaces, the wheel jump on full lock makes it feel like something is knocking against the body and jumping the whole car. It’s horrible. It does stop if you ease away from full lock, but you shouldn’t have to.

I expect that wouldn’t happen in the slightly less growly models, and in fairness, that’s probably what I’d buy… but still… so close to perfection…

The other thing to bear in mind (for the QV model) is the price. This is almost £74,000… and that’s a lot…

But I think if you got this on a track, that price would suddenly make a lot of sense. That’s why I’ve dubbed it a lion in wolf’s clothing. Looks like a handful, behaves even more so.

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