Alfa Romeo is back. With the seductive and soulful Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde. I got acquainted with her on a private race track in Franschhoek.
To conjure up the glorious, old times Alfa Romeo decided to celebrate their heritage and the rebirth of the brand in Anton Rupert’s magnificient Franschhoek Motor Museum. Among some of the most beautiful vehicles the company has ever built, since 24th June 1910, when it was founded in Milan. Car racing started only a year later. Initially named A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) until 1915, when Nicola Romeo bought the ailing manufacturer and added his last name. Alfa Romeo was officially born.
The excited journalists arrived in style for the presentation at the museum. The pick up at the airport and transfer to Franschhoek was done by members of the Alfa Romeo Club Cape Town. In their private vintage cars. And I happened to be in the legendary Spider.
Unveiling the new Giulia it is immediately becoming obvious, that this is no re-badged Fiat. It’s Italian, but with heavy doses of Ferrari and Maserati thrown in.
Nurburgring times are very popular with car manufacturers. And very important. While they are completely useless to a potential buyer they nevertheless offer great braai talk topics. And yes, the new Giulia is now the record holder for fastest production four-door car through the green hell. Recently the Porsche Panamera Turbo S lapped the ring in 7:38min, with a driver in complete fire-proof race gear. A short sleeve shirted Italian Alfa driver did it in the Giuila with an 8-speed auto in 7:32min.
Let’s have a closer look at the top-range Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde. As this is rather unpronounceable, South Africans and most probably the rest of the motoring world will refer to her as the ‘QV’. The twin-turbo V6 is very similar to the biturbo-V8 of the Ferrari California T. With an output of 375kW it broke another record. With a top speed of 307km/h, the Giuila is the fastest four-door limousine available at the moment.
Had the chance to drive the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce as well.
Before I take her for some hot laps around the private race track of Anton Rupert, adjacent to the museum, let’s quickly get this Quadrifoglio Verde business out of the way. It’s obviously Italian and translates to green four-leaf clover. A lucky charm. And the legend goes as follows: In 1923 Alfa Romeo mechanics painted it on their race car, next to the radiator. The driver, an Italian by the name of Ugo Sivocci was quite superstitious and when the Targa Florio organizers gave him the starting number ‘13’ he had to counteract with the four-leafed clover. And he did win the race. In September of the same year Sivocci wanted to paint the mojo on his new Alfa Romeo P1 with the starting number ‘17’. But the car arrived late in Monza and there was no time for art work left. With a tragic result. Ugo went on track without the clover - and had a fatal accident. It was then decided to put the Qadrifoglio on each and every Alfa racer from this time forward. The number ‘17’ was never given to an Italian race car again.
Now the famous mojo is celebrating its comeback. In a serial production car. And I make sure, that it is on the beast, that I am going to unleash on the track now. I push the (Ferrari-) red start button in the steering wheel, put in race mode, which eliminates traction control. And off we go. Racing the top-of-the-range Giuila is an exhilarating experience of sound, speed and G-forces. With each lap I am edging closer to the limit. Until I go beyond. In a spectacular donut, involving clouds of white tyre smoke and lots of dust. Back on the track. Let’s do this again. It’s addictive. The car is enormous fun to drive and will be a serious BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG hunter. The Giulia is wilder than its competitors. With looks to die for. It feels as if Ferrari has built a mid-size limousine. No wonder, Giuila’s chief developer Philippe Krief is Ex-Ferrari.
And what’s next? Well, while there are several less powerful, but still attractive and more affordable Giulia models available, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV is already blasting over Alpine mountain passes. Welcome back, Alfa.
Alfa Romeo Giulia QV Quadrifoglio Verde
Engine 2.9-l. V6 twin-turbo paired with 8-speed ZF auto box
Power 375kW and 600Nm
Top Speed 307 km/h
0-100km/h 3.9 seconds
Price from R1.4 Mio.