IF you want to give the German car makers a swerve but fancy a blisteringly fast saloon with aggressive styling and performance to match, then Alfa Romeo may have the perfect answer.
That's because with a 2.9-litre V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine delivering a whopping 510hp and 600Nm of torque, the Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio, offers all the firepower and driving dynamics to match most hot performance cars on the market.
The four-door saloon looks muscular, yet with an Italian chic so it isn't brash in any way. Eye-catching features include a dark gloss grille, tinted rear windows, darkened rear lights, four exhaust pipes, air scoops, deep bumpers, a rear spoiler, 19-inch darkened alloys and a dark finish Giulia badge that looks rather menacing. There is also the Quadrifoglio four-leaf clover emblem on the wings which is a good luck sign in Italian.
Move inside and there is a sporty theme throughout with leather and Alcantara sports seats, a leather dashboard and door panels, Quadrifoglio leather flat-bottomed steering wheel, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, with sat nav, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone links, a wireless charging pad and lots of performance-related data.
With such a powerful engine you would expect the performance figures to be mouth-watering â¦ and they are just that. The 0-62mph sprint time is 3.9 seconds and the top speed is 191mph. On the downside, the running costs are high with combined fuel economy of 27.2mpg (if driven sensibly) and carbon emissions of 235g/km. So expect regular trips to fill up and hefty road tax and insurance bills.
But what you gain in return will be worth every penny because the Giulia Quadrifoglio delivers supercar performance. Push the red ‘start engine' button positioned on the steering wheel and the car starts off with a mighty roar from that V6 engine and the adrenalin rush grows rapidly as you hit the fast-paced country lanes.
The super smooth eight-speed dual clutch transmission rips through the gears and there are massive steering wheel mounted paddles for added driver excitement. The road holding is super grippy and this is a rear-wheel drive car that loves to be driven hard into bends and then accelerate away again.
The drive modes that alter the manner in which the car reacts are labelled d, n and a which stands for Dynamic, Normal and Advanced efficiency and there is also a RACE mode that will deactivate the traction systems which is certainly not for the faint hearted.
The Giulia eats up the motorway miles and is nice and agile in busier town centre settings, but in all honesty, it's on the quieter more challenging B roads that this vehicle can truly be enjoyed to its best ability.
The reactions are sharp, the steering perfectly weighted and the driving experience is guaranteed to leave you smiling from ear to ear.
The comfort levels within the car really depend on how it is being driven and what mode has been chosen. In the more efficient and comfortable ‘a' mode, it's all fairly calm and the suspension system does a worthy job of smoothing out the road surfaces. Switch across to dynamic and expect to feel every bump and dip shudder through the car.
On the practicality front, the Giulia Quadrifoglio has a boot than can swallow 480 litres of luggage and the rear seats can be split 40:20:40 to carry extra kit. Elsewhere, there's plenty of convenient storage compartments scattered throughout the car, including a glovebox, door bins, cup holders, a central cubby box with wireless charger and secure phone holder section, trays, plus nets in the seat backs.
The back seat space is okay provided the front seats are not pushed back too far, but the sloping roof design does mean taller passengers will struggle for headroom.
Obviously, a car with the power and pace of this Alfa needs to have a comprehensive list of safety equipment to keep occupants and other road users protected. And the Giulia has just that with the likes of active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, a rear view camera with dynamic lines, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, a driver alert and a whole lot more besides.