ARESE, Italy — The top-of-the-line 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio high-performance sedan, the opening salvo in the Italian brand's battle against the BMW 3 Series, debuted today at the historic Alfa Romeo museum outside of Milan, Italy.
The 510-horsepower Giulia Quadrifoglio, which is Italian for "cloverleaf," will go on sale here at Alfa Romeo dealerships in the first half of 2016, an FCA U.S. executive told Edmunds.
The high-performance sedan is powered by the same Ferrari-derived twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine used in the Maserati Quattroporte, paired with a six-speed manual transmission in the model that was shown to the press. The aluminum engine also features a fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation system.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio, which comes in rear- or all-wheel drive, sprints from zero to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, according to Alfa Romeo. It rides on a double-wishbone suspension in front with a multilink in the rear and was shown with19-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires (245/35R19 front, 285/30R19 rear)
Pricing has not been announced.
The Giulia name (which is pronounced "Julia") not only represents the introductory vehicle that targets the Audi S4, BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG C63 S, but will eventually become an entire new product line for Alfa Romeo in the U.S.
Simply put, the Giulia product line is Alfa Romeo's attempt to appeal to entry-level luxury buyers in the U.S.
Last May, Fiat-Chrysler confirmed that it has big product plans for Alfa Romeo, with eight vehicles set to debut by 2018. They include two utility vehicles, two compact sedans and a full-size sedan.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio features "distinctive Italian design, a state-of-the-art innovative engine, perfect 50/50 weight distribution, unique technical solutions and the best weight-to-power ratio," said Alfa Romeo in a statement that coincided with the 105th anniversary of the brand. The "technical solutions" referred to here include three advanced systems, governed by a central processor called the Chassis Domain Control.
The first system is torque-vectoring, which uses a double-clutch rear differential to independently control torque to each rear wheel. Similar systems can be found in competitor cars like the 2015 Audi S4 and 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe.
The second advancement is the Integrated Brake System, an electromechanical unit that combines stability control with the traditional brake servo. Alfa Romeo claims the system provides instantaneous brake response and record stopping distances, and eliminates pedal pulses normally felt under ABS braking.
The third system involves aerodynamics. At the bottom of the Giulia's front bumper is an active aero splitter that articulates, varying the amount of downforce generated at the front of the car. With more downforce, grip and performance are improved at higher driving speeds.
Referencing "the best power-to-weight ratio" claim, Alfa Romeo says the Giulia will weigh in at no more than 6.6 pounds per horsepower. Simple math pegs this ceiling at 3,373 pounds, which undercuts its next lightest competitor, the 2015 BMW M3, by 167 pounds.
The Giulia manages this with an aggressive weight savings approach, including a carbon-fiber hood, driveshaft, seat frames and roof. Lightweight aluminum is utilized in the engine, suspension, brake calipers and various other body components. Last but not least, carbon-ceramic brake discs reduce overall weight even more, while providing high fade-resistant advantages as well. And despite the strong focus on weight reduction, Alfa Romeo also boasts its car will have the best torsional rigidity in its class.
The cabin is driver-centric, with all main controls incorporated in the steering wheel. Only two other knobs are used to control the Human-Machine Interface (infotainment) and the Alfa DNA selector (Drive Mode). The four selectable drive modes in order of sportiness include Racing, Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficient. No details were given on the difference between modes, but we'd speculate that steering effort, throttle response and suspension damping could all effectively be varied to suit.
No information was given on U.S. specifications.
Edmunds says: The Giulia should give Alfa Romeo a fighting chance as it attempts to re-enter the heart of the U.S. luxury car market.