I’ve just checked, and the current price of a new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is £73,999 including taxes. Wow. If you needed a demonstration of our current inflationary pressures, then a £12,000 price hike since the QF hit the shelves is certainly something to dwell on. But, what about an early example of bright yellow clover for less than the price of a VW Golf R?
The penalty is this 510hp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 bullet has travelled 55,000 miles, but, from looking through the pictures can you tell? I can’t. Everything looks shiny where it should – like the paintwork – and everything that shouldn’t – like the steering wheel and seats – doesn’t. So potentially not much of a penalty at all, then.
Just to be clear, at times I’ve had a tenuous relationship with the QF. The first one I drove broke down on me before I’d left the car park I assumed, wrongly, I’d be driving it away from. It was repaired, of course, so I tried again. This time I made it out of the car park and onto the streets. Brilliant. But sometime later that weekend it started running on less than its potential sextet of cylinders. These experiences left me a little indifferent, shall we say.
However, not to be outdone or left underwhelmed by the car that every other journalist in the world was welling up about, I grasped the reins of the next one that arrived on the scene. I was full of optimism, too, which was repaid; this one ran like a dream. Finally, I got to experience Alfa’s return from oblivion and to form first hand.
I found out there are several things about the QF that are quite, quite charming. Its steering, for one. It’s so quick and light, but once you’ve attuned to its fingertip hypersensitivity it’s not nervous at all. It’s just keen to get on with the hunt for apexes and keeps you engaged. As does the chassis balance. Actually, this brings me onto an aspect of the Alfa that, at first, I thought was a bit unnecessary.
If you’re going to bring out a rear-wheel-drive mega saloon – with over 500hp and a staggering amount of torque – you’d think it’d be wise to offer more than a binary stability set-up. You know, something halfway between off and on its roof. But they didn’t do that at Alfa, and on the road you do start to wonder whether that’s such a good idea. I mean, you can be the greatest helmsmith since Colin McRae - who was obviously a merchant of flamboyance - but you can still get caught out from time to time; a patch of oil or a change in surface, that sort of thing. It’s why I quite like the AMG and M systems, which now allow you to dial down from 'Stop it!' to 'I ain't doing nothing' via a variety of safe havens in between.
Anyway, back the QF. The ESP is a right-old killjoy when it’s on, which compelled me to venture into no man’s land and switch the thing off. Then you start doing that initial dance around the throttle, and, after you find that the thing’s not one big untethered twitch muscle, start dipping it down a bit more. And a bit more, and more… Well, it turns out that a 500+hp Alfa is a proper little pussycat. I don’t know, maybe it was memories of the F80 M3 that made me weary, but I needn’t have been. The QF is no more demanding to go sideways in than a GT86 – or the GR86, from reading NC’s latest review.
The Alfa's still not a perfect machine, because, for instance, the brake-by-wire system is something else that’s binary. And, technically, it’s outclassed by the current G80 M3, which is a car that astounds me every time I reacquaint myself with it. But back to the inflationary thing again, that’s £80,000, and my brain hasn’t caught up with that – to me, an M3 is still a £50,000 car at most.
So, think of this QF as your bonafide inflation buster then, PH-style. And to keep the Latin up, if you’re feeling a bit caveat emptor after my tails of wow from those earliest Quadrifoglio days, that’s probably sensible. Nevertheless, buying second hand has its advantages: the fact that this one’s done a few miles should mean the bugs have been ironed out. Quod erat demonstrandum.
SPECIFICATION | Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Engine: 2,891cc, V6, twin turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 510@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 443@2,500rpm
Recorded mileage: 55,000
Year registered: 2017
Price new: £73,999 (2022)
Yours for: £38,000
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