Alfa Romeo Giulia QV

Four-door 'Ferrari' drifts into contention

by JONATHAN HAWLEY

ENGINE 2891cc V6, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo / POWER 375kW @ 6500rpm / TORQUE 600Nm @ 2500-5000rpm / WEIGHT 1585kg / 0-100KM/H 3.9sec / PRICE $143,900

STAR RATING

4.5

Like

Use of Ferrari parts; power packed; sorted dynamics

Dislike

Not yet tested on Aussie roads; need more time behind the wheel

CHOOSE anyone to act as chauffeur for a hot lap of the Eastern Creek circuit in the new Giulia QV and chief Alfa Romeo test driver Armando Bracco would probably be that guy.

He might look kind of relaxed and jolly but hell, he developed the carís dynamics so at the very least heíd be able to demonstrate a thing or two and be entertaining at the same time.

ďToday we donít drive fast,Ē he says, which is a little bit disappointing.

Then thereís the kicker line: ďToday,Ē he announces with a glint in his eye, ďwe drive sideways.Ē

And of course he did, picking up the throttle way too early and spinning up both rears well before the apex of the tighter corners, piling on the oppy-lock in a cloud of tyre smoke with the twin-turbo C V6 yammering and grunting at full volume, then setting it up for the next turn and doing it all again.

Youíve probably heard about the Giulia QV, which has now arrived in Australia to do showroom battle with the likes of BMWís M3 and the AMG C63 S. On paper itís got the hardware.

Rear drive, 375kW of twin-turbo V6 power and plenty more stuff Ė some of which has filtered down from Ferrari instead of up from Fiat, as has been the case in recent years. So itís already sounding very positive.

It is obviously the pinnacle of the Giulia range, which starts at less than 60 grand for the 147kW 2.0-litre turbo model, progresses through to $72,000 for the tasty-sounding Veloce with a 206kW version of the same engine and peaks at the $144,000 QV.

Now thatís a little bit more than the cheapest M3 and a lot less than the C63 S, but how does the QV stack up?

Until we do the comparo, thereís just a few laps of Sydney Motorsport Park (to use its real name) to get a feel for it, but the taste test is enough to make us hungry for more.

First up, despite the prodigious power output and Armandoís shenanigans, the QV isnít necessarily an oversteering, tyre-spinning monster. A couple of tricks from the Ferrari 488 have been used, such as the electronic locking diff and torque delivery limited in the lower gears to ensure it can get its power down and launch either from standstill or out of a corner. Itíll do a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds on its way to a 307km/h top speed.

It certainly feels that quick, launching hard with the engine

emitting that strangely burping V6 rumble, building power and noise levels as it heads for the redline. The dial on the centre console attenuates throttle action, traction control and other parameters, right up to race mode where stability control is virtually absent. But no matter which program is selected thereís quick steering (just two turns lockto- lock), well contained body movement and virtually no understeer. Oversteer, as stated, arrives on tap, but only as ordered.

Because itís based on the allnew Giulia, previous Alfa foibles have been banished, meaning the driving position behind the threespoke wheel is perfect, the cabinís electronics and infotainment system are state of the art and the conventional eight-speed auto works like a charm. Diving into the brief options list for the Sparco carbon fibre sports seats with their extra support is a worthwhile idea for any prospective owner.

The QV looks good as well, from the deep front air dam with its popout splitter to the side-skirts, rear diffuser and tiny little boot-lid spoiler.

Much of that, plus bits of interior trim, are made from carbon fibre, but crucially, so are the bonnet and roof, so weight has been kept to a competitive sub-1600kg level.

The Giulia QV has the demeanour of a car thatís going to be easy to live with on the road as well as being brutally quick on the track and itíll be interesting to see how it goes in the real world. However, the mere fact that Alfa has pulled such a lively rabbit out of its corporate hat can only be applauded. M

Despite the prodigious outputs, the Giulia QV isn't an oversteering, tyre-spinning monster