An unusual adventure with the 505-hp Giulia Quadrifoglio
We recently published two excellent comparison tests featuring the latest luxury sport sedans. Our $399 lease deal Big Test can be found here, our Five-Seat Fury sedan comparo here. Please read those first then come back for this coda.
These days I hear everything but drive nothing. The demands of comparison testing and photo and video shoots means press vehicles rarely stop moving from the moment they arrive. With my spastic schedule, I am typically the last staffer to sample the latest hotness—if I get seat time at all. So it was with considerable glee when newly minted assistant road test editor Erick Ayapana tossed me the keys to the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio—on a Friday afternoon, no less.
Brain-scrambling responsiveness is what hit me first. The Quadrifoglio doesn’t just accelerate with shocking quickness. It also changes direction with hard-wired immediacy that is smooth, not jarring. The same goes for the sleek attention to detail, from the cold, hard, real-metal shift paddles to the flush fit, forged wheels, and carbon-fiber-bewinged bumpers. I came from the tuner world yet wouldn’t know where to begin with this car.
Oh wait, yes I do. As I coasted to a stop at the light, the Alfa’s stop/start system shut the engine off and simply never came back on, no matter what I tried—or how loud the cars behind me honked. I was stranded, and FCA’s roadside-assistance operators, kind and professional as they were, couldn’t help. They didn’t quite understand the need for a flatbed tow truck with special wheel jacks even though I repeatedly explained that the Quadrifoglio was completely bricked and the drive-by-wire transmission would not shift out of park. A regular tow truck wouldn’t suffice; even if it could get its rear-arm “stinger” under the car, lifting it by the hindquarters would only smash the front bumper into the ground.
Help arrived in the most ridiculous ways. Thirty minutes into our ordeal, surfing buddy and fellow automotive journalist Jonathan Elfalan just happened to take the same (but now heavily congested) exit and pulled over after recognizing both car and hapless driver. Battery life on my phone was 9 percent and falling when Jonathan handed me one of his little portable battery chargers. It was emblazoned “Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio,” an ironic bit of swag from the press launch he attended. But the universe was not done laughing yet.
No longer fearing a dead phone to go with my dead car, I started calling every tow truck operation within a 15-mile radius. Nobody had the combination we needed—not the first flatbed that came or the second one hailed via Jonathan’s AAA card. “The car is too low. You need wheel jacks. I don’t have them,” were the helpful observations.
Then super-enthusiastic AAA tow supervisor Bill appeared, leaping out of his truck, red beard flying.
“What’s going on, guys? Whoa, what is this thing?” Bill said, tapping the Quadrifoglio’s four-leaf-clover badge. “I’m half Irish. This thing is sweet, but man, it is too low. How much horsepower does it have?”
Sensing an opportunity, I rattle off the twin-turbo V-6’s stats and how fast the car hits 60. Bill went silent for a moment. “You know what? I’m gonna tow you guys. My boss would kill me. I’m gonna have to break a bunch of rules, but I’m gonna do it!” he exclaimed before grabbing his floor jack and gingerly lifting the front of the car just enough to slide the stinger into position. He then levered two-wheel dollies under each locked rear wheel while explaining that techniques like these can often damage the side skirts and bumpers of fancy sports cars and are therefore a serious company no-no.
It took rule-breaking Bill just 15 minutes to get us loaded up and on the way. After he dropped us off, I let him take all the pictures he wanted, thanked him profusely, and promised to run neither his picture nor real name in anything I wrote.
Moral of this story? Well, if you’re of the eye-rolling “Italian reliability” sensibility, that is understandable, but this is a data set of one. The base Giulia we had in The Big Test never missed a beat. If you’re still on the fence, do as our Big Test suggests and lease first. But no matter what, get AAA.