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car of the issue | alfa romeo giulia Renewed reverence Could Alfa Romeo be back to its best with the new Giulia? Chris Pickering puts the hi-tech car through its paces ack when Enzo Ferrari was a young man he used to work for Alfa Romeo. At the time, the brand was regarded with much the same reverence that Enzo’s own creations would later attract. Alfas were among the fastest, most exotic and most exquisitely engineered cars in the world. It stayed that way well into the post-war period. Until recently, however, the company’s glory years were a fading memory. It had been pumping out re-engineered front-wheel-drive Fiats for decades with varying success. Even the 4C sports car, with its seemingly foolproof lightweight carbon-fibre tub, mid-engined layout and torquey turbocharged powerplant, managed to miss the spot. So it was with more than a hint of trepidation that I approached the new Giulia: a mid-sized rear-wheel-drive saloon pitched into a hugely competitive market occupied by the BMW 3-Series. Simply ‘good’ won’t cut it here. And Alfa Romeo knows it’s dangerously close to exhausting the goodwill that has kept it going for the last few years. In particular, we’re looking at the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Not just because it has the most indulgently Italian name in the range but because this 503hp (510 PS) high-performance variant packs some very clever technology. Underneath the bonnet sits a 2.9-litre V6, with twin turbochargers, two ECUs and cylinder deactivation. There’s also active aerodynamics and torque vectoring, plus a liberal sprinkling of carbon fibre that helps make the Quadrifoglio the lightest car in its class. 01 3 6 T H E E N G I N E E R | J U N E 2 0 1 7 01/02 Ferrari has provided much of the inspiration for the Giulia Quadrifoglio 02 Appropriately enough, it’s Ferrari – long since brought under Fiat’s wing along with Alfa Romeo – that has provided much of the inspiration here. The chief engineer for the Giulia project was Philippe Krief, the man responsible for the Ferrari 458 Speciale, who now also leads the R&D department at Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters. Alongside was a handpicked team of other Ferrari and Maserati personnel, along with Alfa’s own engineers. The link may go even further, however. Officially, the Quadrifoglio’s V6 is a clean sheet design, but its layout and dimensions bear a striking resemblance to those of the Ferrari California T’s V8 with two of the cylinders lopped off. The bore and stroke, for example, are identical at 86.5 x 82.0mm. It has been suggested by some of the more cynical commentators that the link to this comparatively affordable saloon has been downplayed to protect Ferrari’s exclusivity. Either way, this is as close as you can get to a four-door Ferrari and it costs just £61,300 (slightly more than the BMW M3 but slightly less than the Mercedes C63 AMG). It drives like a Ferrari too. In-gear acceleration perhaps isn’t as brutal as the 3.9-second 0-to-62mph time would suggest, but the Quadrifoglio is still ferociously quick. Free from the speed limiters employed on its German rivals, the Alfa will hit a claimed 191mph. There’s something pleasingly analogue about the way that performance is delivered too. The torque curve has been cleverly massaged to hide the effects of turbocharging,