After eight years, Alfa's stunning super sedan is not much longer for this world. Before it races off into the sunset, we grabbed the keys for one last steer of this future classic.

Every once in a while, a car comes along that is more than the sum of its parts. Think along the lines of the Lexus LFA or BMW 1 Series M and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The 2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is one such car.

First hitting the market in 2016, production of this super sedan is due to end later this year. Before it does, I grabbed the keys to one for a week to give it proper send-off.

Despite how long it’s been since the shapely Giulia was unleashed on public roads, you can hardly tell at first glance. From the outside, at least, it hasn’t aged a day. Say what you like about the cloverleaf-aping front grille with its stretched jowls, the Giulia is far better looking than BMW’s beaver-toothed M3. And that’s before you get to the Alfa’s delicious posterior, complete with its staggered exhaust tips. The stunning 19-inch wheels are a size too small, but overall, this is a properly exotic piece of design.

Considering the Giulia Quadrifoglio retails at a considerable $153,700 (excluding on-road costs), it’s disappointing to find that it has such a lacklustre interior. Yes, there are sprinklings of carbon fibre, but you get the sense it’s there to distract you from the sub-par technology and enough cheap plastic to wipe out the entire sea turtle population.

Lowlights? The plastic shroud that surrounds the new digital instrument cluster shook violently over corrugated roads and would feel cheap in a Suzuki Alto. The digital display, while nicely integrated into the dashboard, doesn’t fill its glass housing and responds slower to prompts than a comatose pensioner. And the aircon, at least in my tester, made a whole lot of noise and delivered a whole lot of nothing.

In the midst of this sea of mediocrity, however, there are islands of brilliance. El cheapo buttons notwithstanding, the Giulia’s steering wheel is utterly delightful to hold. And just behind the steering wheel are the most wonderfully artistic pair of aluminium paddle shifters bar none. The seats, too, are fantastic with supportive bolstering that hints at the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s true intent as a driving phenom. Lean back and you’ll be taken aback by its reassuring, hip-hugging embrace. I’m not one for being the little spoon, but I’ll make an exception for the Alfa.

Despite what its family sedan layout may imply, the Giulia Quadrifoglio isn’t really an executive express. Yes, it has five seats and a competitively-sized 480-litre boot, but the Giulia Quadrifoglio is closer in nature to a Ferrari than a Camry. Literally.

Which leads me to a man by the name of Philippe Krief. You may recognise him as the CEO of French sports carmaker Alpine. In a previous life, Krief was responsible for producing arguably the greatest supercar of the modern era: the Ferrari 458 Speciale. After, resetting the supercar benchmark, Krief was approached by a certain Alfa Romeo, who asked whether he would like to head up a skunkworks project to produce a sports sedan to crush BMW’s legendary M3. You can probably see where I may be going with this. The car in question is the one before you: the Giulia Quadrifoglio.

If I ever have the privilege of meeting Mr Krief, I shall weep at his feet and wipe his shoes with my hair because the Giulia Quadrifoglio is an absolute masterpiece to drive.

After the first corner, I knew the Giulia was something special. After two, I was beginning to rethink my career choices. After three, I was ready to sell my non-essential organs. It’s that good. The steering rack is lightning quick at two turns lock-to-lock, and it feels wonderfully intuitive. Being electric, the steering lacks the feel of a hydraulic set-up but makes up for this with its pinpoint accuracy. You can truly place those 245mm front tyres on a dime. You get the sense that this is a car you could drive on a tightrope in a hurricane.

The chassis, too, is world-class and boasts 50:50 weight distribution. Alfa insist the Giulia has a tare weight of just 1624kg, and while it feels a tad heavier than that, it is always well-contained and never ungainly. Even accounting for some post-Sunday lunch bloating, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is, remarkably, several hundred kilograms lighter than some of the competition.

Other highlights include the addition of a mechanical limited-slip differential and an active front splitter, only keeping it even more in check through the corners. The brakes are also massive, with 360mm discs up front and 350mm in the back, growing to 390mm and 360mm respectively if you opt for carbon ceramic rotors.

The Giulia comes with four driving modes: Advanced Efficiency for economy, Natural for comfort, Dynamic for daily performance, and Race which is for giving yourself a code brown. I spent much of the first week driving the Giulia around its softer Natural mode. This was a mistake. I need not have feared the firmer suspension of Dynamic mode as I found it enabled the rear-wheel drive Giulia to stabilise over rough tarmac more quickly than when in either of its softer modes.

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Race Mode is a different beast entirely. When activated, Race Mode firms up the suspension (good), sharpens the throttle and gearshifts (very good), and disables traction and stability control completely (not good). In wet weather, it should come with a risk warning. It’s worth the risk, though, because activating Race Mode also opens up the Giulia’s exhaust valves to help produce an utterly spellbinding noise.

Below 3000rpm it growls, from 3000rpm to 4000rpm it howls, and from 4000rpm all the way to its transcendant 7250rpm redline it roars like a furious hippo with a trombone caught in its throat. Then you change gear and an almighty CRACK is emitted from the exhaust and the madness starts all over again.

The singer responsible for the Giulia’s vocal talents is the 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that sits under the Giulia’s muscled, carbon fibre bonnet. Ferrari – which used to be majority-owned by Fiat Chrysler Automotive like Alfa – insist the Giulia’s engine isn’t of their making. They say it is merely a coincidence that Giulia’s V6 has the same V-angle, bore and stroke as the unit found in the Roma, albeit with two cylinders lopped off. They’re not fooling anyone.

If anything, Alfa’s copycat homework feels even more exciting than Ferrari’s efforts. The Giulia’s engine throws down some competitive numbers even after a decade on sale, with peak power and torque standing at 375kW and 600Nm. However, to focus on the numbers is to miss the point entirely. Unlike the banal units found in the competition, the Alfa’s engine has proper character and soul. The astonishing array of noises it produces is one thing but the way it delivers its power is something else.

A full-throttle run in an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is an almost religious experience. It accumulates speed in such a ferocious way that I found myself short-shifting at 5000rpm, not realising that I had another 2250rpm remaining. No matter when you put your foot down, there is always enough torque on offer – more than enough, in fact.

Alfa Romeo claim it can sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds, assuming conditions are absolutely perfect. In anything other than bone-dry tarmac, the traction control indicator lights up the dashboard like a Christmas tree as the computers struggle to contain the V6’s fury. Much of that comes down to the Giulia’s sports-oriented Pirelli P Zero tyres and its rear-drive layout. Regardless, a full-throttle run can be rather unnerving if you’re caught unaware. Top speed is capped at 307km/h if you’re feeling brave. Or stupid.

Alfa could’ve paired the gorgeous aluminium shift paddles with a CVT slushbox and I would’ve forgiven them. They didn’t, instead opting for the terrific eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. It’s smooth and quiet when pootling through traffic, and plenty fast enough when snapping through the gears during acceleration. My one very minor gripe is that it didn’t execute downshifts quite as quickly as I’d have liked. It wasn’t slow per se, it just wasn’t quite fast enough. Yes, I’m nitpicking. No, I’m not fun at parties.

There is no getting away from the fact that as a mode of transport, as a tool, the Giulia has fallen behind. It’s not the fastest car in its class (amazingly), nor does it have the nicest interior, or boast the most technologically advanced powertrain. It’s certainly not the most economical either – the official word from Alfa says the Giulia Quadrifoglio will sip just 8.2L/100km of 95 RON, but I just about doubled that at 14.3L/100km over my 1000km of testing. I wasn’t exactly driving in a miserly fashion, mind you.

And yet, I couldn’t care less. Even at $153,700 before on-road costs, it’s a bargain because nothing feels like an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Nothing steers like an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Nothing looks like an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. And nothing certainly sounds like an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio List Price: $153,700
  • 9/10
    Performance - 9/10
  • 8.5/10
    Ride & Handling - 8.5/10
  • 7/10
    Tech & Features - 7/10
  • 7.5/10
    Practicality - 7.5/10
  • 9/10
    Value for Money - 9/10

The good: A driving phenom and a future classic. Buy one now.
The bad: The interior is lacklustre, it’s not long for this world.

Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Alfa Romeo Australia for seven days with a full tank of fuel. All other fuel costs were covered by the author.

Noah Charalambous
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