Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV

Hot new dual-clutch comes out swinging

ANDY ENRIGHT

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

IF YOU’RE anything like us, the measure of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde is a considered estimate of how long it will take for of how long it will take for buyer’s remorse to give you a solid shoeing. The good news on this latest model is that this period isn’t going to be measured in mere hours, days or weeks.

The 2015 QV is a genuinely well-sorted package thanks to the availability of the 4C’s directinjection 1742cc turbo four when teamed with a six-speed dualclutch transmission.

The TCT gearbox tacks another three grand onto the manual car’s $39,000, but where the manual QV uses a carryover engine, the TCT model gets the superior aluminium-block unit that lifts power to 177kW. It also gets launch control. This carves great chunks out of the 0-100km/h time, dropping it from the manual model’s 6.8sec to just six dead.

Previous QV models sounded rather adenoidal, the 1.4 MultiAir in lowlier Giuliettas delivering a more sonorous soundtrack. This time around, Alfa Romeo has piped the winning sound of intake manifold through the scuttle. The ‘QV Intake Engine Sound’ pretty much clues you in to what you’re going to get, delivering the Barry White through a soilpipe bass timbre that the reedy 1750 was so signally lacking.

Plug the DNA driving mode selector into Dynamic and torque cranks up from 300 to 340Nm.

For such a modest capacity, this direct-injection four is a lugger, with meaningful go on tap from 2000rpm. It also means you rarely feel the need to worry the wheelmounted paddles, the TCT box’s software deftly returning you to the main vein of turbocharged torque each time with barely there 130-millisecond shift times.

The launch-control mode doesn’t require an arcane 17-point sequence to initiate and sets the revs at a sensible 4000rpm before you sidestep the brake pedal so as not to cremate the front P-Zero Rossos.

The steering is authoritative, the Brembo brakes well up to the mark and the ride firm, though with just enough secondary suppleness to pass muster.

Front-end grip impresses and the stability control goes all the way to zero if required.

Giulietta’s new Chryslersourced Uconnect multimedia system is slick and intuitive, interior materials have improved, and the new leather and Alcantara seats are a welcome upgrade.

There are still some typically casual design sign-offs – seat recliner pinioned beneath the seat belt, clunky air-con controls – and you’ll need to be the final arbiter on the QV’s macho styling updates. But buyer’s remorse? Not going to happen.

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Kerb weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV 1742cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 177kW @ 6000rpm 340Nm @ 2200rpm 6-speed dual-clutch 1299kg 6.0sec (claimed) 7.0L/100km $42,000 Now

PLUS & MINUS

Still no Golf inside; why doesn’t the manual get the 4C’s engine too?

Handling; soundtrack; pace; TCT transmission; value

Shift Happens

ALFA’S TCT transmission shifter upshifts by pulling back on the stick and downshifts when you prod it forward. Alfa understands, just like Ford, Mazda and BMW. This motion works with the natural weight shift of the car and has been the de facto standard in race cars for years.

Just about everyone else, including VW, Bentley and Volvo, all get it wrong. Porsche dropped the ball with its Tiptronic, as well as PDK’s early set-up, and don’t get us started on those awful switches on the side of gear levers.