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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

      The ecstasy and agony of an Italian sports sedan

    I couldn’t believe my eyes as to what stood before me. In the driveway stood an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. I had to touch it to see if I was imagining it. Okay, I am being a bit hyperbolic, but considering the long time it took Alfa Romeo to get its affairs in some semblance of order, it is amazing that the Giulia is on sale.

    Still, I had a bit of trepidation with spending a week in the Giulia Quadrifoglio. The past year has seen a number of outlets reporting various gremlins pop up on their test vehicles. Would my particular one be spared? If so, what does the Giulia Quadrifoglio offer over the competition?

    Alfa Romeo is known for styling vehicles that stand out and Giulia Quadrifoglio is no exception. Up front resides the traditional Alfa triangle grille and large openings in the bumper with mesh inserts. The carbon fiber hood features gentle sculpting and a set of air vents in the channels. The side profile features more of the gentle sculpting on the doors, along with carbon fiber side skirts and 19-inch wheels finished in dark gray. The rear is where the Giulia Quadrifoglio makes its intentions known to the world with a carbon fiber lip spoiler and massive rear diffuser with large exhaust pipes sitting on either end. Finishing off the vehicle are cloverleaf badges on the front fenders and a dark blue finish. 

    At first glance, the Giulia’s interior looks elegant. The dash has a flowing wave shape that is higher on the driver’s side to make space for the instrument cluster and infotainment system. Material choices such soft-touch plastics, carbon fiber accent trim, and a small-rimmed steering wheel with Alcantara and carbon fiber help set the Quadrifoglio apart from other Giulia models. But Alfa Romeo earns some red marks as the center console is littered with cheap plastics - the controller for the infotainment system and gear lever being the key offenders.

    Our test Giulia Quadrifoglio came with the standard leather and Alcantara sport seats. A set of carbon fiber Sparco racing seats are available as an option, but it is one we would recommend trying out first. Sitting in a Quadrifoglio with the optional seats, I found that I could not fully settle into them due to my wide shoulder blades. The standard seats offer increased bolstering to hold you and a passenger when the road gets twisty. I would like to see a little bit more cushioning in the seats as it becomes somewhat uncomfortable the longer you sit in them. The back seat in Giulia is average for the class, offering a decent amount of head and legroom for those under six-feet. Getting in and out of the back seat is not easy due to a narrow opening.

    All Giulia Quadrifoglios come equipped with an 8.8-inch infotainment system. Controlling this is a rotary knob in the center console, along with using voice commands. The system itself is very frustrating for a number of reasons. For one, the system is slow when put against competitors. It takes a few moments to switch between various menus. Also, certain functions don’t work as you might expect. For example, turning the knob in the navigation system doesn’t zoom in or out. You have to scroll the navigation menu to find the Zoom command to allow this function. Other issues I experienced during my week-long test of the Giulia included,:

    • The system wouldn’t play my iPod if I had it paused for more than minute or if I switched to another audio source and then back to the iPod.
    • Connecting my iPhone 7 Plus to the system via Bluetooth took on average about 45 seconds.
    • I had the system crash on me twice during the week I had the Giulia. One of those crashes required me to turn off the vehicle and start it back up to get the system working again.

    Alfa Romeo needs to go back to the garage and do some serious work with this infotainment system.

    Underneath the carbon fiber hood lies the beating heart of the Quadrifoglio, a 2.9L twin-turbo V6 with 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Drive is sent to the rear-wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Quadrifoglio models have four drive modes - Race, Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency and each one alters the engine’s behavior. Advanced Efficiency and Natural are about the same with the throttle being a bit more laid back. But that isn’t to say the Giulia isn’t quick in either mode. It has more than enough oomph to leave other cars in the dust when leaving a stop light or merging. But the engine really comes alive when in Dynamic or Race. The throttle sharpens up and the exhaust opens up to deliver a tantalizing soundtrack. Mash the pedal and hold on because this engine will throw you back. The engine sings at mid and high-rpms with speed coming on at an astonishing rate. Alfa says the Quadrifoglio can hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and I can say they are right on the money.

    The automatic transmission is quite impressive. In Normal and Advanced Efficiency, the transmission delivers smooth gear changes. Turn to Dynamic or Race and the gear changes are snappy and fast. Oddly, the automatic transmission exhibits some hesitation when leaving a stop. This is a problem more attune with dual-clutch transmissions.

    EPA fuel economy figures for the Giulia Quadrifoglio are 17 City/24 Highway/20 Combined. My average for the week landed at 19.7 mpg.

    Handling is where the Giulia Quadrifoglio truly shines. Enter into a corner and Giulia hunkers down with little body roll and gives you the confidence to push a little bit further. Steering is another highlight, offering quick response and decent weight. The only complaint I have with the steering is that I wished for some road feel.

    There is a trade-off to Giulia’s handling and that is a very stiff ride. Even with the vehicle set in Advanced Efficiency or Natural mode, the suspension will transmit every road imperfection to your backside. Wind and road noise isolation is about average for the class.

    It is time to address the elephant in the room and that is Alfa Romeo’s reliability record. Since the Giulia went on sale last year, numerous outlets have reported various issues from a sunroof jamming to a vehicle going into a limp mode after half a lap on a track. The only real issues I experienced during my week dealt with infotainment system which made me breathe a sigh of relief. Still, the dark cloud of reliability hung over the Giulia and I never felt fully comfortable that some show-stopping issue would happen. This is something Alfa Romeo needs to remedy ASAP.

     Now we come to end of the Giulia Quadrifoglio review and I am quite mixed. Considering the overall package, the Quadrifoglio is not for everyone. No, it isn’t just because of reliability. This vehicle is a pure sports car in a sedan wrapper. It will put a big smile on your face every time you get on the throttle or execute that perfect turn around a corner. But it will not coddle you or your passengers during the daily drive. Add in the material quality issues and concerns about reliability, and you have a mixed bag.

    To some, that is the charm of an Alfa Romeo. Within all of those flaws is a brilliant automobile. For others, it is something that should be avoided at all costs.

    Disclaimer: Alfa Romeo Provided the Giulia, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Alfa Romeo
    Model: Giulia
    Trim: Quadrifoglio
    Engine: 2.9L 24-Valve DOHC Twin-Turbo V6
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 505 @ 6,500
    Torque @ RPM: 443 @ 2,500 - 5,500
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/24/20
    Curb Weight: N/A
    Location of Manufacture: Cassino, Italy
    Base Price: $72,000
    As Tested Price: $76,995 (Includes $1,595.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Driver Assist Dynamic Plus Package - $1,500.00
    Harman Kardon Premium Audio System - $900.00
    Montecarlo Blue Metallic Exterior Paint - $600.00
    Quadrifoglio Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel - $400.00



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    Interior shot alone shuts shouts mash up of miss matched design.Thin side of center floor stack to thick side on passenger side. Glove box door clearly off on left sunk in compared to right side. Center vents of dash rectangle to circle on the outsides, just a mess. I see nothing here that says luxury let alone quality.

    The continuation of problems with the auto nav system would this far into the launch of the auto when you have to restart the auto to get it to work screams incompetence to me.

    Just as Alfa left in a flaming mess in the 70's, it came back in that same mess and still is garbage. I see nothing to validate any of the reviews that this is worth $72K let alone $42K. 

    This is what I would call a Kia Competitor from Kia's Early days and I very much doubt it will get better unlike Kia that has a quality product much better than this car.

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    28 minutes ago, dfelt said:

      I see nothing here that says luxury let alone quality.

     

    Just as Alfa left in a flaming mess in the 70's,  

    Fact check: Alfa has always been more of a sporting brand, rather than luxury.  Maserati is FCA's luxury brand.    And Alfa left the US in the 90s, not the 70s...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
    • Upvote 2

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    4 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Fact check: Alfa has always been more of a sporting brand, rather than luxury.  Maserati is FCA's luxury brand.    And Alfa left the US in the 90s, not the 70s...

    I get sporting, but at least around here the few ads for Alfa have been about Luxury and you hear nothing about Maserati.

    Really left the US in the 90's? Wonder where all the terrible dealerships have been hiding as I saw none on the west coast. Washington they folded up in the late 70's and were gone.

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    Yeah, Alfa pulled out of the US in 1995, the Alfa 164 sedan was their last model, the Spider went away a year or two earlier.   I remember as recent as 2008 still seeing a couple 164s running around in the Denver area...

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    Have to agree with Dave : interior and especially the exterior- this is fine as a generic, run of the mill $35K family sedan. I don't see anything here that supports a $76K price tag other than the HP rating. It's not even leading edge design-wise; it's barely current, and the detailing is sorely lacking. A-R is going to be piling cash in every orifice to get these moving in any kind of decent numbers.

    The cheesy 'good luck' fender emblem is hilarious considering A-R's reputation.

    Edited by balthazar

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    7 speed manual please.  Otherwise, at that price point it is better to kiss the cousin and buy a Charger Hellcat.

    • Haha 1

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    On 4/9/2018 at 5:02 PM, balthazar said:

    Have to agree with Dave : interior and especially the exterior- this is fine as a generic, run of the mill $35K family sedan. I don't see anything here that supports a $76K price tag other than the HP rating. It's not even leading edge design-wise; it's barely current, and the detailing is sorely lacking. A-R is going to be piling cash in every orifice to get these moving in any kind of decent numbers.

    The cheesy 'good luck' fender emblem is hilarious considering A-R's reputation.

    interior isn't too bad (I've sat in one).  it isn't mercedes level but a BMW 3 isn't really much better, if at all.  I guess i would add here that an ATS-V doesn't support a 76k price tag and doesn't have a great interior either.

    Edited by regfootball

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    Alfa Romeo sells its cars as high performance and beautiful.  Imagine the most beautiful woman you have ever seen, and you get to have her on a date.  After a couple of months, you find that her physical beauty cannot mask the significant defects in her personality.  She might even have a few emotional problems.  So you decide to end that relationship.

    Gentlemen, that beautiful woman is an Alfa Romeo.  Looks great; has serious issues that you don't want.

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    8 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    Alfa Romeo sells its cars as high performance and beautiful.  Imagine the most beautiful woman you have ever seen, and you get to have her on a date.  After a couple of months, you find that her physical beauty cannot mask the significant defects in her personality.  She might even have a few emotional problems.  So you decide to end that relationship.

    Gentlemen, that beautiful woman is an Alfa Romeo.  Looks great; has serious issues that you don't want.

    Wasn't there a commercial sometime in the 1950s or 1960s that said you want a sports car but you marry an Oldsmobile? (Or was it Buick?)

    But yeah...

    Aphrodite: Greek Goddess of beauty, love and fertility.

    Eros: Greek God of love and SEXUAL DESIRE!

    No need to commit. One could have flings! There is nothing wrong with that. One could have lustful desires and one could indulge in them without the burden of love and commitment...if its between 2 consenting adults that are NOT committed with other people in a bond of holy matrimony. If one could have strong lustful desires and love with a wife or husband, then that is awesome...

    I know...Christianity does not allow for lustful desires outside the bonds of holy matrimony. Its a good thing for us Greeks that there is loophole for us as Aphrodite and Eros allowed us that for a minimum of 3500 years BEFORE the Holy Trinity took it away from us...and...the Holy Trinity is only bossing us around for ONLY  2000 years after that....

    With THAT being said...

    Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW also have HORRID emotional problems. The thing is, long term relationships with those 3 are at a minimum...people lease those cars, non?  

    Actually, people lease faithful Chevys, Hondas and Toyotas. People just dont want commitment today! 

    People lust over those buxom blonde Germans, yet they are aware of the long term problems so they dont commit long term. They dont marry them....

    Same for Alpha Romeos. One could EASILY have lustful flings with Alpha, as long as one takes a 3 year lease term. And then one moves unto another conquest. To frolic naked in the Garden of Eden with a lover doing all kinds of nasty and dirty things to said lover...  

     

    Edited by oldshurst442
    • Upvote 1

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    • By William Maley
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      How I would configure a 2019 Kia Forte 
      While the EX Launch Edition does provide some desirable features such as adaptive cruise control, QI wireless charging, and a Harman/Kardon audio system, I would drop down to the mid-level S. At $20,290, you’re getting a lot of equipment such as 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and keyless entry. I would add the $1,200 S Premium Package to get LED headlights, automatic high beams, and a power sunroof. With destination, the price comes to $22,415. Alternatives to the 2019 Kia Forte
      Hyundai Elantra: Mechanically similar to the Forte, albeit with a face that will scare small kids. Two turbo engine options - one focused on the economy while the other is for sport - might be attractive to some. Honda Civic: Drives slightly better than the Forte and offers more body styles. But lower reliability scores and confounding infotainment systems may cause you to look elsewhere. Chevrolet Cruze: While it lacks a number of features found on the Forte, it does offer a slightly smoother and quieter ride. Plus, dealers are starting to push a lot of cash on the hoods to get them moving.   
      Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Forte, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Kia 
      Model: Forte
      Trim: EX
      Engine: 2.0L Multi-Port DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 147 @ 6,200
      Torque @ RPM: 132 @ 4,500 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 30/40/34
      Curb Weight: 2,903 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Pesqueria, NL, Mexico
      Base Price: $21,990
      As Tested Price: $26,220 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      EX Launch Edtion - $3,210.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00
    • By William Maley
      It feels weird to be writing a review of the previous-generation Mazda3 when the new model is currently sitting out front at dealers. But I find this situation to be unique because I had the chance to explore a 2019 Mazda3 to get some first impressions while working on a review of the 2018 model. This gives me a chance to compare the two in certain aspects, along with pondering the question of whether or not the previous model is still a good buy.
      Despite the new model taking the styling up another level, the outgoing model is still a looker. From the bold front end with a large grille and slightly angled headlights, to sculpting running along the sides, the 2018 3 still stands out in the compact crowd. The older design also allows for slightly better rear headroom and a larger area of glass for improved visibility.  But the new 3 holds a significant edge over the old model when it comes to the interior. The modern design and use of high-quality materials really help boost Mazda’s ambitions of becoming something more premium. But the 2018 model I found to have a slightly easier center stack layout and more interior room. One item I didn’t get the chance to play within the 2019 Mazda3 is the infotainment system. Aside from boasting a larger screen, Mazda has also dropped the touchscreen functionality. The latter has been a big issue on some of the recent Mazda vehicles I have driven, including the 2018 3. It is difficult to figure out which parts of the screen are touch-enabled and which aren’t. The system is also beginning to show its age somewhat as the system showed some slowdown in certain areas such as connecting to my phone via Bluetooth. Under the hood of the 2018 model is either a 2.0L or 2.5L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder. My tester had the latter which produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet. This engine can also be found under 2019 Mazda3, albeit slightly tweaked - 186 for both horsepower and torque. I find the Mazda3 to be the best application for the 2.5 engine. The lighter weight of the vehicle allows the 2.5 to provide a smooth and quick acceleration for most situations you find yourself in. However, the 2.5 feels like it is running out of breath when going above 70 mph, making passing and merging onto a highway slightly difficult. Where the 3 really shines is down a twisty road. Very few vehicles can match the sharp handling characteristics on offer. The suspension keeps the vehicle level when cornering and quickly respond to change in direction. Steering is quick and features a nice weight when turning. Ride quality is slightly rough with a fair number of bumps coming inside. Some of this can be attributed to the 18-inch wheels fitted on my tester.  Should you consider a 2018 Mazda3 when the bright and shiny 2019 3 is available now? I can only give a half-answer as I haven’t driven the 2019 model yet. But having sat in one, I can see why someone would consider it. The impressive design inside and out can make you believe you’re driving something from a luxury brand. The 2018 model still has some things going for it such as having slightly more interior space, similar fuel economy figures, and dealers beginning to lower prices on them to get them out. As I am writing this (May 5th), I have seen dealers in my local drop prices by $1,000 to $3,000 on 2018 models. Right now, I would be willing to pocket the extra cash and go with a 2018 Mazda3. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 3, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: 3
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.5L SKYACTIV-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline:  Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700
      Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/35/30
      Curb Weight: 3,098 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Salamanca, Mexico
      Base Price: $24,945
      As Tested Price: $28,035 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Equipment Package - $1,600.00
      Soul Red Metallic Paint - $300.00
      Scuff Plates/Door Sill Trim Plate - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $100.00
      Cargo Mat - $75.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It feels weird to be writing a review of the previous-generation Mazda3 when the new model is currently sitting out front at dealers. But I find this situation to be unique because I had the chance to explore a 2019 Mazda3 to get some first impressions while working on a review of the 2018 model. This gives me a chance to compare the two in certain aspects, along with pondering the question of whether or not the previous model is still a good buy.
      Despite the new model taking the styling up another level, the outgoing model is still a looker. From the bold front end with a large grille and slightly angled headlights, to sculpting running along the sides, the 2018 3 still stands out in the compact crowd. The older design also allows for slightly better rear headroom and a larger area of glass for improved visibility.  But the new 3 holds a significant edge over the old model when it comes to the interior. The modern design and use of high-quality materials really help boost Mazda’s ambitions of becoming something more premium. But the 2018 model I found to have a slightly easier center stack layout and more interior room. One item I didn’t get the chance to play within the 2019 Mazda3 is the infotainment system. Aside from boasting a larger screen, Mazda has also dropped the touchscreen functionality. The latter has been a big issue on some of the recent Mazda vehicles I have driven, including the 2018 3. It is difficult to figure out which parts of the screen are touch-enabled and which aren’t. The system is also beginning to show its age somewhat as the system showed some slowdown in certain areas such as connecting to my phone via Bluetooth. Under the hood of the 2018 model is either a 2.0L or 2.5L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder. My tester had the latter which produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet. This engine can also be found under 2019 Mazda3, albeit slightly tweaked - 186 for both horsepower and torque. I find the Mazda3 to be the best application for the 2.5 engine. The lighter weight of the vehicle allows the 2.5 to provide a smooth and quick acceleration for most situations you find yourself in. However, the 2.5 feels like it is running out of breath when going above 70 mph, making passing and merging onto a highway slightly difficult. Where the 3 really shines is down a twisty road. Very few vehicles can match the sharp handling characteristics on offer. The suspension keeps the vehicle level when cornering and quickly respond to change in direction. Steering is quick and features a nice weight when turning. Ride quality is slightly rough with a fair number of bumps coming inside. Some of this can be attributed to the 18-inch wheels fitted on my tester.  Should you consider a 2018 Mazda3 when the bright and shiny 2019 3 is available now? I can only give a half-answer as I haven’t driven the 2019 model yet. But having sat in one, I can see why someone would consider it. The impressive design inside and out can make you believe you’re driving something from a luxury brand. The 2018 model still has some things going for it such as having slightly more interior space, similar fuel economy figures, and dealers beginning to lower prices on them to get them out. As I am writing this (May 5th), I have seen dealers in my local drop prices by $1,000 to $3,000 on 2018 models. Right now, I would be willing to pocket the extra cash and go with a 2018 Mazda3. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 3, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: 3
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.5L SKYACTIV-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline:  Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700
      Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/35/30
      Curb Weight: 3,098 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Salamanca, Mexico
      Base Price: $24,945
      As Tested Price: $28,035 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Equipment Package - $1,600.00
      Soul Red Metallic Paint - $300.00
      Scuff Plates/Door Sill Trim Plate - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $100.00
      Cargo Mat - $75.00
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