2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio


The 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio makes a strong case that it's the new Godfather of ultra-high-performance compact sport sedans. And if you've got roughly 75-grand burning a hole in your pocket, this Italian is making you an offer you can't refuse.

Sure, there are lesser Giulias - the 280-hp Giulia and Giulia Ti, priced in the high-30's, are no slouches - but the 505-hp, $73,595 Quadrifoglio is a different Giulia altogether. Fasten your seatbelt.

Corralling more ponies than such luminaries as the BMW M3, Cadillac ATS-V or Mercedes-Benz AMG C63, the blistering fast G-Quad will greet 60 mph in the mid-3's on its way to a top speed of 191 mph.

To access all this car has to offer, delve into its DNA - actually, lower case "dna", as displayed on the console-mounted drive-mode selector. Doing so allows the driver to choose between Dynamic (sporty driving), Natural (daily driving) and Advanced Efficiency (best mpg), each adjusting suspension damping and throttle response accordingly. Going from "a" to "d", the driver feels the car incrementally muscle up with each advance of the knob.

Oh, and there's also a "Race" selection, which, among other track perks, cuts away the electronic safety nanny of stability control. Hang on!

Inside is a cabin suited to the task of performance driving. G-Quad's front seats are comfortable and secure, with bolsters out to there for keeping humans anchored during athletic motoring.

On the flat-bottom steering wheel is the red engine-start button. Behind the wheel are paddle-shifters big as scythe blades. Fixed to the steering column, those paddles don't turn with the wheel, but they're never out of reach.

Those blades control an eight-speed automatic that manages a 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V-6 that sings a lusty victory tune in normal motoring and a snarling fight song under full throttle. It also makes a satisfying burp with each paddled shift. What a blast!

Only the infotainment interface is less than a delight. Controlled via a console-mounted knob, it demands deep dives into menus for various functions. (In order to "save" a radio station, is it really necessary to have to call up the audio menu, then the "favorites" menu, then the "edit favorites" selection, then the "add to favorites" function? What's wrong with pushing and holding a button to achieve the same result?)

Room is fine up front and head room is remarkably accommodating in back, but rear leg room is at a premium.

Exterior styling is appropriate to the car's mission - raptor-eye headlights, big-V Alfa grille filled with black mesh, bulging rocker panels between staggered performance Pirellis and quad tailpipes below a carbon-fiber spoiler.

This is a remarkable car that handily forgives Alfa's past sins when, more than 20 years ago, it left the USA with its tail between its legs due to slow sales and a reputation for shoddy quality. This 2017 Giulia Quadrifoglio already has a reputation as a thriller.

And that's an offer we can't refuse.

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