2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Review

The all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia is the strongest new player in the compact luxury sport sedan segment.
author
by Jonathan Elfalan
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia storms into a class of formidable competitors from all over the world. This Italian-born luxury compact is likely to win over buyers who prioritize driving performance over rear seat legroom or trunk space. The interior is sleekly styled, although the knobs and controls lack high-quality heft. A lively turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the rear-wheel-drive base model, which is available with all-wheel drive. But it's the high-performance biturbo V6-powered Quadrifoglio model that grabs our attention, and potentially the crown of sport compacts.


What's new for 2017

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is all new for 2017.

We recommend

Although we're fans of the turbo 2.0-liter engine in the base and Ti models, the underlying strength of the Giulia is performance, and the Quadrifoglio exploits that to the fullest. Therefore, it's the model we'd recommend if you're considering the Giulia. The Quadrifoglio comes well equipped, so there aren't many options we'd add. Those who are big on active safety technology will want the Driver Assistance Dynamic package. We also like the standard Brembo brakes and sport seats and would skip the pricey carbon-ceramic brakes and less adjustable Sparco carbon-fiber racing seats.




Trim levels & features

The Giulia comes in three trims: a base model Giulia, midlevel Ti and high-performance Quadrifoglio. The base model and Ti come with a nice amount of standard equipment and are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (280 horsepower, 306 pound-feet of torque) with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available. The Ti trim has access to more sporty equipment packages that include items such as sport seats and active suspension, but it’s the Quadrifoglio that’s packed full of impressively fun things including a thrilling biturbo 2.9-liter V6 engine (505 hp, 443 lb-ft).

The base Giulia gets 17-inch alloy wheels, all-season tires and robust Brembo brakes. Bi-xenon projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, taillights and ambient lighting are standard, along with heated and power-folding mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, rear park assist sensors and a rear camera with dynamic guidelines. Convenience items include remote keyless entry with push-button ignition, leather seats with six-way power driver and front passenger adjustments (four-way lumbar adjustment), dual-zone climate control and cruise control. An acoustic laminated windshield and front door windows keep wind noise at bay, while the DNA drive mode controller lets you select from different modes that alter steering, transmission and accelerator characteristics. There is a 7-inch TFT info screen within the gauge cluster, a 6.5-inch radio screen with voice recognition, AM/FM/HD radio, Bluetooth, three USB ports (one charge only) and an eight-speaker audio system.

The packages available on the base model include a Sport Appearance package, which adds unique front and rear fascias, 18-inch wheels, gloss black window trim and painted brake calipers (red, black or yellow available). The Sport Interior package requires the above package and adds aluminum interior trim, fantastic-looking, column-mounted aluminum paddle shifters, a leather steering wheel and sport pedals. If you’re looking to upgrade the infotainment system, the Navigation package includes an 8.8-inch widescreen radio with 3-D GPS navigation, voice recognition, a rotary controller and satellite radio. A complement to this would be the 10-speaker Premium Audio package that includes a subwoofer and a 400-watt amplifier. A Cold Weather package is specific to the base model, adding heated seats and a heated steering wheel; other trims include those as standard.

There are two levels of active driving assist packages. The Driver Assistance package includes front park-assist sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and auto-dimming exterior mirrors. The Driver Assistance Dynamic package adds adaptive cruise control with full-stop capability, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, automatic high-beams and an infrared reflective windshield.

The Giulia Ti comes with everything the base model has, plus standard dark gray oak wood trim, the 8.8-inch widescreen radio (navigation is extra), 12 months of satellite radio, the aforementioned heated front seats and steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels and front park-assist sensors. Adaptive xenon headlights are a standalone option.

The packages for the Ti are structured a little differently. There are Sport packages that include a choice of wheel sizes along with everything from the above Sport packages and excellent sport leather seats (a worthy upgrade). The Lusso package includes 18-inch, 10-spoke wheels, luxury leather seats, leather-wrapped interior trim with accent stitching, an upgraded steering wheel, interior air quality system and a choice of genuine dark gray oak or light walnut wood trim. If you just wanted a leather interior, it’s available as a Leather package. The Ti Performance package provides a small step toward Quadrifoglio performance with an active suspension and mechanical limited-slip differential. And if you’d prefer the performance items without the Sport appearance items, there's the Ti Performance Plus package.

Lastly, with the Ti you can upgrade to the 900-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system, which includes 14 speakers, a subwoofer, two surround-sound speakers and a 12-channel amplifier.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio is the star of this show, with its 505-horsepower, all-aluminum, direct-injected biturbo V6 engine as its main act. It, too, comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and features fuel-saving cylinder deactivation. Sadly, the six-speed manual available in Europe won’t be making it over to the U.S. at this time.

The Quadrifoglio’s standard equipment list is lengthy, which is good news for buyers. There’s the high-performance Brembo brake system and a torque-vectoring rear differential that can transfer 100 percent of available power to either rear wheel. A two-mode exhaust with bypass valves offers varying levels of engine music depending on your mood, and a carbon-fiber active front splitter adjusts for more aerodynamic downforce at speeds above 75 mph. An active suspension and 19-inch wheels with supersticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires round out the big hardware items.  

Looking at the Quadrifoglio you’ll be able to pick out the aggressive model-specific details such as the front fascia, grille, carbon trunk spoiler, bi-xenon adaptive headlights and rear diffuser with quad exhaust tips. But beneath the painted surfaces hides a lightweight hood and roof made of carbon fiber.

Moving inside, carbon-fiber trim adorns a leather-wrapped interior. The Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector adds Race to the Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency settings, with Launch Control accessible in Race mode. Additional standard features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, column-mounted paddle shifters, an 8.8-inch widescreen navigation system, and excellent eight-way power-adjustable leather and simulated-suede performance front seats.

A few options are available at the Quadrifoglio level. They include the Driver Assistance Dynamic package mentioned earlier, leather and simulated-suede ultra-high-performance Sparco
carbon-fiber racing seats (driver and front-passenger seats with two-way and four-way power adjustments, respectively) and an ultra-high-performance Brembo carbon-ceramic brake system.



Driving

Alfa Romeo made some bold performance statements about the Giulia, and from what we've experienced so far, it appears Alfa followed through. Both Giulia and high-performance Quadrifoglio models boast strong engines for their respective segments, and all deliver an entertaining driving experience.

Acceleration

The base-model Giulia's 2.0-liter turbo engine feels responsive and generates ample torque from low rpm. The Quadrifoglio's smooth-revving 2.9-liter biturbo V6 packs a beastly 505-hp punch; Alfa says it's good for a sprint to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Seems realistic based on our seat-of-pants feel.

Braking

The Quadrifoglio's brakes are hugely powerful yet easy to modulate in casual driving. They have a natural feel, too, which is impressive because the system operates electronically, instead of being mechanically connected like most systems.

Steering

Although the roads were wet and slippery during our evaluation drive, the Giulia's steering didn't feel lacking in feedback or response. Turn-in is incredible due to an ultra-quick steering ratio, and it accomplishes this without feeling darty.

Handling

Wet roads meant grip limits were reached much sooner than we'd have liked. But besides the generous torque from both Giulia's turbo engines making the rear tires want to spin freely, the Giulia didn't exhibit any bad habits. A virtually perfect balance of weight front to rear likely helps.

Drivability

Both eight-speed automatics shift quickly and react without delay when using the column-mounted paddles. In Dynamic or Race mode, up- and downshifts are tuned to deliver more kick, which elevates the drama to a degree. When upshifting in the wet, it's enough to break the Quadrifoglio's tires loose.

Comfort

Even at the base model level, it's clear the Giulia's focus is delivering a sporty drive. The ride skews firm, and there's an average amount of road noise that sneaks into the cabin. The base model's seats lack cushioning and adjustability, but the sport seats fit like an Italian leather glove.

Seat comfort

The base Giulia's seats have short, flat bottom seat cushions and lack of adjustability. Lateral seat bolsters have above-average support, but that's about it. The optional sport seats fix everything wrong in regular Giulia, with loads of support and adjustability, but lack ventilation.

Ride comfort

The ride quality with the active suspension in the Quadrifoglio is on the firmer side but offers a decent amount of comfort. The ride in the standard base Giulia is not exactly plush either and isn't adjustable (optional in Ti model), but it strikes a pretty good balance between sport and comfort.

Noise & vibration

There's an average amount of road noise, which was slightly exacerbated due to wet roads. Wind noise, however, is pretty well isolated thanks to acoustic glass. No interior panel squeaks were detected.

Climate control

Dual climate control is standard, and operation is straightforward. There's a good amount of cooling capacity, though the fans don't flow air quite like some American air-conditioning systems. The heated steering wheel is effective and warms up quickly; the seats offer three levels of heat as well.

Interior

Your interior experience will vary greatly, depending on trim level. The type of seats make the biggest difference when it comes to driving position or getting in and out. We found the rear seat to be tight on legroom and all the controls lacking a little bit of quality heft we expect in the class.

Ease of use

The rotary-dial infotainment system is simple and similar to others in the market, though it doesn't have a touchpad surface like in an Audi or BMW, and the rotary scrolling action is reversed from others. All other controls are nicely within reach, and the column-shift paddles are best-in-segment.

Getting in/getting out

The front doors open wide, and the seats are a nice, accessible height. You'll most likely end up sitting on the outside lateral thigh bolster first, no matter how you enter the car, causing seat fatigue over time. Rear entry is more challenging due to tighter leg space and a sloping roofline.

Driving position

In the base Giulia, the bottom seat cushion is short and flat and doesn't offer much tilt. The available sport seats, however, offer copious cushioning, tons of support and good adjustability, though we'd like adjustable lateral support too. A manual tilt-and-telescoping steering column is standard.

Roominess

Lots of space up front, but rear seat room is a bit scarce. The footroom underneath the front seats is limited, and the center drive tunnel is pretty wide, which eats up a lot of middle-seat foot space. It'd be a squeeze for the lower halves of three adults, but headroom doesn't seem to be an issue.

Visibility

Visibility out front is good, with the nose of the Giulia falling away quick for an open view of the road. Sideview mirrors create the typical small blind spots. Rear headrests are short and unobtrusive, and though the rear roof pillars are thick, the large rear side windows help lessen blind spots.

Quality

The air vents, gear selector, and rotary infotainment controls look and feel less substantial than those of class competitors. The nav screen integration is pretty sleek, and higher-model leather-wrapped surfaces, carbon trim and carbon steering wheel all look of very high quality and draw admiration.

Utility

Utility isn't a strong suit of the Giulia, with the exception of the base and Ti trim's split folding rear seats and easy-access car seat anchors (all trims). Small item storage within the cabin is limited, and trunk space is unimpressive.

Small-item storage

As in other European sport sedans, there isn't a ton of small item storage options. You'll find a couple cupholders forward of the shifter and a modestly sized bin underneath the center armrest. The door pockets are small and barely fit a small water bottle, and glovebox space is also limited.

Cargo space

The standard Giulia features 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, which are quite useful. The Quadrifoglio seats do not fold down. Trunk volume specs aren't available yet, but based off appearances, the opening is shallow and narrow and likely to be on the smaller side of the class.

Child safety seat accommodation

LATCH anchors are located on the two outboard rear seats behind easy-to-access plastic flip doors, and there are also three easy-access top tethers as well, so you can either fit two seats in the outboard positions or one in the center.

Technology

Integration of the wide 8.8-inch touchscreen is very well done, and the controls, although slightly cheap-feeling, operate intuitively. We didn't have any complaints regarding the base car's stereo system, but the optional Harman Kardon system produces some fantastic sound.

Audio & navigation

Though the standard audio system is perfectly sufficient, the optional Harman Kardon audio delivers clear, crisp, rich sound without any distortion when the volume is cranked way up. The navigation system is displayed on a sleek-looking 8.8-inch screen and works well.

Smartphone integration

Bluetooth is standard across all models, as are three USB ports (one of which is charge-only). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not offered.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.