Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Review (2024) - Select Car Leasing
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Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Review (2024)


If you fancy a very nice, premium saloon car but don’t want to go with the obvious choices of BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo claims to have the solution.

Alfa reckons that the Quadrifoglio version of the Giulia saloon is so good that it'll tempt you away from the likes of the BMW M3, C-Class AMG and Audi S4.

Quadrifoglio is the name the Italian manufacturer gives to its high-performance cars - it literally means "four-leaf clover."

While that doesn't sound especially sporty, it revives a moniker that's over a century old. The clover symbol was first used on the Alfa Romeo RL in 1923 when it entered the Targa Florio.

If that name doesn't sound familiar, the Targa Florio was an endurance race in Sicily, the most prestigious motor race in the world at the time.

So, Alfa Romeo’s history is riding on the success of the Giulia and its other car to carry the Quadrifoglio name, the Stelvio SUV.

But Alfas also have a reputation for underdelivering – and that’s a part of its history that the Italian marque would be happy to shed.

The Giulia appears to have done that successfully since it was first unveiled in 2015.

Between 2016 and 2020, it won over two dozen awards worldwide.

It got a mid-life facelift a few years ago, but now Alfa Romeo has made a few more minor revisions to celebrate last year’s 100th anniversary of the four-leaf clover.

So, does Alfa turn an already impressive Giulia Quadrifoglio into the finished article?

We’ll see if we can find out.

Select's rating score* - 4.2 / 5

At a Glance

The Giulia looks gorgeous from just about any angle.

It has an aggressively angry frown from the front, with headlights that taper to a point, appropriately complimenting Alfa Romeo's traditional but unusually thin triangular grille in the centre.

Beneath that, the lower grille is split into two parts on either side of the triangle, with air intakes at the side and the bodywork moulded around it.

From the side, it has a sporty stance with a crease travelling slightly diagonally along the doors, pointing downwards towards the front of the car, while a second crease towards the bottom creates a side skirt.

The rear is simple but highly effective. The bodywork fits around a quad-exhaust system, with twin tailpipes on either side sandwiching the rear splitter.

It is achingly gorgeous and full of Italian flamboyance, boasting a confident and stylish flair typical of the nation's vibrant attitude towards fashion.

Key Features

The standard Giulia is available in three trims, but there’s only one to pick from with the Quadrifoglio.

As you'd expect, this includes everything in the standard model with some extra spice sprinkled on top.

19-inch dark alloy wheels, an active aero splitter, a carbon fibre rear spoiler, and side skirts give the car an energetic appearance.

Inside, you get an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen with SatNav, digital radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, and a Harman Kardon sound theatre system with 14 speakers (yes, that includes a subwoofer).

Also as standard are a wireless charging pad, aluminium sports pedals, ambient lighting, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control and aluminium paddle shifters behind the heated steering wheel.

And, for some added comfort, you'll get six-way electrically adjustable heated front seats with four-way adjustable lumbar support, and a memory function for the driver's chair.

It is an impressive equipment list that includes a vast array of safety systems, which we'll discuss later.

In terms of clout, there’s no electrification or hybridisation – just pure petrol.

To be exact, it's a 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 lump that has been given an extra boost of 10PS over the outgoing Giulia Quadrifoglio model, now outputting 520PS.

And, not that you needed anything else to tempt you, the engine is derived from Ferrari.

Performance & Drive

The Giulia may not feature any electrification, but it's electrifying to drive.

0-62mph is achieved in just 3.9 seconds, which is impressive. Curiously, it's 0.1 seconds slower than the Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV, which has the same chassis and engine, thanks to its superior traction with all-wheel drive.

Anyone disappointed by this will be splitting hairs, though, as the Stelvio’s admittedly impressive top speed of 177mph is beaten by the Giulia’s 191mph, thanks to its lighter weight and active aerodynamics, which include a carbon fibre front splitter.

Despite the extra power, these figures are identical to those of the outgoing model, but we'll not be complaining, especially since it isn't artificially limited to 155mph like its rivals.

In the real world, getting up to motorway speeds is a doddle, as is overtaking, with the eight-speed automatic gearbox shifting down pleasingly quickly, thanks to a responsive throttle pedal, which delivers oomph in the blink of an eye.

No manual gearbox is offered, but you can control the car yourself using the paddle shifters, which have a lovely feel - and scream quality when you pull them.

In terms of handling, for a performance saloon, it’s simply excellent.

The Alfa has a beautiful 50:50 weight distribution, and the rear-wheel drive, coupled with torque vectoring, means you can enjoy it in the corners.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio responds playfully, with superbly responsive steering, which weights up nicely in the bends, helping you on corner entry.

Then, upon burying the throttle on the curve’s exit, you’ll get a pleasing kick of oversteer as the back slides out. The electronics shift the torque to keep the car gripping as you straighten up and hoon onwards to the next straight.

Our only gripe is that the brakes, on a brake-by-wire system, can sometimes feel grabby and inconsistent.

Ride comfort is unlikely to be high on the list of priorities, but it’s not bad at all, with adaptive dampers helping to maximise the Giulia in this department.

Various driving settings can be selected to adjust the level of absorption. Comfort mode is intended for when a more delicate ride is required, although we spent most of our time in Dynamic mode, which added some nice ‘pops’ from the exhaust.

Admittedly, we'd hoped for a louder engine note from the Ferrari-derived V6, but it's not quiet either.

It is a lot of fun to drive and more than holds its own against its German-badged foes.

While it may not quite match a BMW M3 for overall refinement, it’s just as entertaining.

Alfa Romeo is the underdog here, and to some extent, that might be enough to give you a little more satisfaction than the all-but-perfectly setup M3.

Running Costs & Emissions

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is not exactly a motor you’ll lease if you’re worried about running costs – but that’s the case for any performance saloon.

Nevertheless, 28mpg is not bad for a vehicle with almost a 3.0-litre engine, which is helped by cylinder deactivation – this shuts off engine cylinders when they're not needed to save fuel.

However, the 229g/km of CO2 emissions won't encourage any generosity from His Majesty's Revenue and Customs regarding road tax.

The high emissions mean the first year’s road tax will cost £2,220.

And with no plug-in hybrid versions on offer, you'd have to be insane to want a Giulia Quadrifoglio as a company car. PHEVs and all-electric cars attract significant savings in Benefit In Kind tax.

Interior & Technology

The Giulia is lovely to sit in, and although the cabin design is largely the same as that of the model unveiled in 2015, it’s aged well.

The flat-bottomed steering wheel looks bold and inviting to hold, complimented by the large paddle shifters behind it. The digital instrument cluster features prominent rounded dials that protrude from the dashboard.

The Alfa’s instrument cluster can be switched between four layouts - one of them a new 'Race' layout exclusive to the Quadrifoglio model - which prioritises certain readings. However, it's not as customisable as some of its rivals.

Even the gear lever looks nice to use, and the silver dials next to it are satisfying to turn.

There is plenty of silver on show, with brushed aluminium décor used on the three-spoke steering wheel, the doors, air vents, dials and gear lever surround.

The 8.8-inch infotainment screen, which features a sharper display and plenty of customisability, is fully integrated into the dashboard. It is relatively easy to use, especially as a rotary dial can control its essential functions, although it’s not a match for BMW’s class-leading system.

Physical controls are maintained for the air conditioning system, which are positioned conveniently.

Alfa Romeo has worked to address criticisms of the build quality in the cabins of early Giulias, which included plasticky dials and switches.

Overall, it’s an improvement on what came before, albeit still not quite as well refined as the likes of Audi and BMW.

Nevertheless, it's a lovely environment to sit in and does the car justice.

Adding some sprinkling on top, you can connect to the car via your smartphone to change various settings, or have alerts sent to your Amazon Alexa if the Alfa moves outside a certain boundary, for example.

Space & Practicality

The seats in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio are comfortable and sporty.

You also feel low to the ground, which will please Alfa purists. Thanks to the electric adjustment in the seats, finding a suitable driving position is a walk in the park. As we said earlier, you can save your seating position by using the memory function.

Due to the low driving position, forward visibility could be better, and the thick pillars on either side of the windscreen don't help. Out of the back, it’s even more restricted as the pillars are thicker still. But thankfully, a rear-view camera and fore and aft parking sensors help mitigate the problem.

Regarding space, it's about what you'd expect. Those needing more will likely want to consider the sibling Stelvio SUV. Still, thanks to the low driving position, there's sufficient room to get comfortable and plenty of headroom.

In the back, it’s a similar story – about what you’d imagine in a medium-sized saloon car, although a combination of tall driver and lofty rear-seat passenger will leave you wanting more legroom.

The slope in the roofline reduces the available headroom somewhat, but it’ll only really affect very tall occupants in the back.

There are plenty of storage spaces for your belongings, including a generously sized cubby under the centre console. Four cupholders and some USB ports should also suffice.

The available boot space measures 480 litres, which is the same as you'd find in a BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz AMG C63. However, because of the natural shallow opening of the Giulia's boot, given that it's a saloon, you’ll battle to fit longer, bulkier items in.

The back seats fold down in a convenient and practical 40:20:40 configuration.

Alfa doesn’t provide a figure for the boot capacity with the seats folded down.


Crash-testing doyens Euro NCAP put the standard Alfa Romeo Giulia through its paces in 2016 when the car first came out.

As safety technology improves, the bar is raised higher, so the Giulia's rating has expired, and the testing criteria have become more stringent.

Nevertheless, the Giulia earned a top five-star rating, scoring 98% for adult occupants, 81% for children and 60% for safety assists.

Alfa Romeo has added a lot of safety tech, though, which today includes automatic emergency braking, active blind spot assist, driver attention alert, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and tyre pressure monitoring system.

Rain-sensing windscreen wipers and auto high beams are also part of the package, although the new ‘3+3’ full LED matrix headlights are smart enough to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic, so you can safely leave your high beam on.

Adaptive cruise control also features, while the Giulia has Level 2 autonomous driving as an optional extra, which we'll cover next.


Alfa Romeo offers quite a list of options on the Giulia Quadrifoglio.

Classic Alfa red is the default colour, while bright blue, dark grey and black are also offered as metallic hues if you’re happy to fork out more, although green costs significantly more.

Lightweight alloys, the same size as the standard 19-inch wheels, also cost extra, while red brake callipers can be added.

The Driver Assistance pack adds traffic jam assist, intelligent speed control, and a highway assist system, which are part of the Level 2 autonomous driving system. These will automatically move you along and stop you again in a traffic jam without needing to do anything, as well as keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front when moving.

You can have Alcantara and leather sports seat upholstery, but to have this, you’ll have to have the Carbonshell sports seats, which cost a small fortune.

Carbon ceramic brakes are even more expensive, while an Akrapovic sports exhaust system and exposed carbon fibre roof are among the options that will add much to your final bill.

Only then do you get to a seemingly endless list of styling elements and accessories, including coloured key fobs, to conclude the personalisation of your Giulia.

Rival Cars

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’s main competitors are the BMW M3 (below) and the Mercedes-Benz AMG C63.

Sadly, Audi doesn’t make an S4 saloon, let alone an RS4, nowadays, so you’d be stuck with the RS4 Avant, which is an estate, or the two-door coupe RS5.

Jaguar doesn't make an R or SVR version of its equivalent model, the XE, but it does manufacture the 300 Sport, which is worth a look.

Volvo has now discontinued the S60 for the second time as it shifts focus to all-electric cars and SUVs.

Verdict & Next Steps

Overall, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a remarkable car that’s a worthy rival for the best in class.

What it lacks in terms of refinement compared with the likes of a BMW M3, it more than makes up for in terms of pace and gorgeous aesthetics.

With an interior almost as cool as the exterior, it's a refreshing change from the obvious German choices for performance saloons.

Grabby brakes aside, it handles well and goes like hell, boasting strong performance and a very generous standard equipment list.

Those seeking a company car are best off looking elsewhere. We had hoped for a more impressive engine note - and the options list will inevitably make it as expensive to lease as a BMW M3.

Nevertheless, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is, without a doubt, a desirable car to lease capable of holding its own against the very best.

And, crucially, it does the Alfa brand justice – along with the century-old four-leaf clover.

Where to next?

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**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top leading independent car website reviews of the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio.

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