The only sedan in the 2017 Best Driver's Car competition
It’s more than a roll-off-the-tongue mouthful. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is here to put Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, and Cadillac on notice. The Giulia was the only sedan in this year’s competition, and it never once blinked at its supercar foes.
The big gun in its arsenal: a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 pounding out 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission option is an eight-speed automatic with closely spaced gear ratios backed up by an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. An auto-opening sport exhaust keeps things loud, and adjustable dampers keep the tires pressed into the pavement. Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional (we went for them), and regardless of material, the brakes are electronically actuated, not mechanically. At 3,749 pounds (1,700 kg), the Giulia is lighter than several of the two-door cars in this test.
It’s Best Driver’s Car week! Keep it on MotorTrend.com this week as we count down the finishing order of our contenders this year and share bonus content you’ll only find right here.
Between the curb weight and the powertrain, acceleration is a strong suit. Sixty mph is cleared in 3.9 seconds and the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds at 119.8 mph (193 km/h). The brake-by-wire system hauls it from 60 mph to 0 in 100 feet. On the skidpad it’ll pull an average 0.98 g, and on the figure eight it’ll do a 24.2-second lap at 0.84 average g.
“The car is wonderfully responsive and emits quite the cacophony of sounds. There is a wide array of cracks and pops: not sure if the car is in ecstasy or pain and whether it is intoxicating or disturbing. However, this is a car that does not like to drive slow and can chug and lurch in low gears. The steering in particular is incredible, almost to the point of being too twitchy. Don’t sneeze, or else you’ll veer off the road.” – Alisa Priddle
“So much balance and poise. Running up 198 in the Alfa felt like a ballerina on her way to winning Olympic gold in the 100-meter hurdles. When I attacked a corner a tad too hot, I expected a ton of understeer, but somehow the Alfa pointed itself in the right direction. This is a car you can drive hard and confidently. The engine is super eager, though I wasn’t completely enamored with its buzzy engine note.” – Erick Ayapana
Read about other 2017 Best Driver’s Car contenders:
- Mercedes-AMG GT R
- Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
- Lexus LC 500
- Aston Martin DB11
- Nissan GT-R NISMO
- Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
- McLaren 570GT
“The easy, obvious, no questions asked, hands down winner of best driver’s sedan. You’re more insulated from sound and the sensation of velocity than with the rest of the contenders, but a quick peek down at the speedo reveals that you’re hitting 911 Turbo speeds. It could use a head-up display for that reason, because if you’re shifting gears yourself, above 5,000 rpm the engine note doesn’t change. Power is deceptive, grip is AWD-like, joy is high. I love this thing. Although, in this competition it feels large.
“A midpack car for me, but only based on the quality of the rest of the competition. I have nothing bad to say about this amazing sedan.” – Jonny Lieberman
“Best-driving sedan you can buy, full stop. Makes several of these sports coupes seem boring. Steers like a super car. Super quick and precise. Wonderful chassis to back it up. Feels so light and nimble.
“Great power, right up until it decided to impose a new 5,000-rpm rev limiter instead of 6,800. No warnings, no nothing. It just would not rev above 5k in any gear. Put it back in auto, and it downshifted and put the revs over 6, but then it wouldn’t give me any throttle until they came back down. It turns out it’s an overheat protection mode we tripped on the last run of the day. When it’s cool, it revs very, very quick. I found myself running out of revs several times. It feels like it wants to keep pulling.
“Fantastic grip all around. It doesn’t want to let go, and ESC keeps you on point without making itself known.” – Scott Evans
“This might be the best handling sedan I have driven in 25 years of automotive journalism. The way it puts down power, the way it reacts with a snap to attention, the way it never seems to be caught unaware. Be wary of soft brakes when the car is cold, which can catch you out. It’s a little bit turbulent over frost heaves. But that is just part of the fun. You can’t believe a sedan is actually doing this level of work; there is so much room behind the driver for passengers, plus a Costco-ready trunk. And yet the Giulia is going toe to toe with world-class supercars.” – Mark Rechtin
“I think that there is maybe some very sophisticated controls operating beneath the surface. Probably electronics that vary how the car behaves. It changes its balance. Sometimes it’s really super neutral; it turns supernaturally. I’m thinking that’s the diff because it’s a sensation I don’t normally feel. The car is not turning just from the front. It’s yawing right around the center. I didn’t like the inconsistency because I never knew what I was going to get. I seemed like the harder I drove it, the less of that yaw effect I had, and it just turned into a pretty strong midcorner understeer. And it put down power very well—it has a lot of power. It is hard-working little motor.
“It felt like it had a ton of grip. It just varied. Same with the braking. Sometimes it stopped really, really well, sometimes not as much. A couple times I felt more braking come in right near the end with no change in pedal pressure. In fact, it was late enough in both the corners that I was probably releasing pedal pressure. And it came in harder. Which is, I think, something the Alfa does. You get beyond a point on the pressure, and you don’t get any more brake, you probably get more ABS.
“I like the car, it’s very sporting. And it sounded good, ran through the gears, and the transmission shifted terrifically. It likes to be driven aggressively. It rewards it.”
|2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Twin-turbo 90-deg V-6 alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||176.4 cu in/2,891 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||505 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||443 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||7.4 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||15.4-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 14.2-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||8.5 x 19-in; 10.0 x 19-in forged aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||245/35R19 93Y; 285/30R19 98Y Pirelli P Zero Corsa AR Asimmetrico (Tread 60)|
|TRACK, F/R||61.2/63.3 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||182.6 x 73.7 x 56.1 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||37.5 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,749 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||53/47%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||38.6/37.6 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.4/35.1 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||56.1/53.6 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||13.4 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||1.6|
|QUARTER MILE||12.1 sec @ 119.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||100 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.98 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.2 sec @ 0.84 g (avg)|
|2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP||1:39.65 sec|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,600 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$88,245|
|AIRBAGS||8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||15.3 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||17/24/20 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||198/140 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.99 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|