Quatrefoil or four leaf clover? Auto enthusiasts typically like both of these things for two completely different reasons. So what happens when you take the best of both worlds and make a car that is a combination of the two?
Pronounced qua-dri-fò-glio, where the “gl” almost turns into a y-sound, Alfa Romeo says that the story behind the Quadrifoglio name dates all the way back to the 1923 Targa Florio, one of the oldest and most revered automotive racing events, which was originally held in the Mountains of Sicily. That year, Ugo Sivocci (an incredibly superstitious driver) was stuck in a rut as a perennial second-place finisher, and always trailed behind one of his Alfa teammates. So right before the Targa Florio race, the superstitious Sivocci hastily painted a four-leaf clover on the side of his car for good luck and coincidentally won the race.
But disaster soon struck, and a few weeks after the victory, Sivocci died while testing a car at the legendary Monza race track, an Alfa that had yet to receive his good luck symbol. The four leaf clover design lived on though, and while the one on Sivocci’s car was encased in a square box, all future clovers were centered in a triangle, with the missing point symbolizing the loss of the legendary driver. To this day, the four-leaf clover remains the official crest for all Alfa Romeo race cars, and earmarks the very finest of Alfa Romeo’s high performance street vehicles.
History lessons aside, at some point the new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio must be discussed in detail. This Italian-based entity is an incredibly simple subject because, at the end of the day, it will forever remain a mode of transportation and a sedan version at that. Yet somehow we have tinkled ourselves over the thought of a car that its creators refer to as a vehicle created with the “mechanics of emotion” in mind. Who knows, maybe the Italians just got tired of not having something fun to drive here in the States.
Calling itself the “heart and soul of the automotive industry,” Alfa Romeo is more than ready to take the U.S. by storm, where a wave of fresh fascias are set to grace our shores shortly. As a guy who gets to drive cars for a living, please note that I remain just as excited about testing out both the award-winning 4C Coupe and 4C Spider as I am about this sexy serving of Italian engineering you see here.
So in a fun-filled punt at everyone else’s attempt at sporty, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio is being heralded as a way of bringing “performance and precision to the premium mid-size sedan segment.” Things look very promising too, as this particular Alfa will be completely built in Italy, boasts class-leading horsepower, has a zero to 60 time of 3.8 seconds, and open-palm spanked the Nürburgring with a record-setting 7:39 lap time recently, which garnered it a world record due to being of the four-door variety of vehicle. That’s one seriously swift sedan.
The first of multiple rear-wheel drive platforms slated for America, this monstrosity embodies what is referred to as “La meccanica delle emozioni,” that embodiment of “mechanics of emotion.” Featuring a 2.9-liter, Ferrari-based 505-horsepower bi-turbo V6, the Quadrifoglio is set to become the most powerful Alfa Romeo production car of all time. It boasts a top speed of 191 miles per hour, with cylinder deactivation technology flying standby in case a moment calls for saving 15% more fuel. With its best-in-class power-to-weight ratio of seven pounds per pony, a near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution, legendary torsional rigidity, and the most direct steering offered today, enjoying a vehicle of this caliber is sure to sway at least a few performance enthusiasts away from other options next year.
Constructed at the Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy, Alfa Romeo says the Giulia nameplate “reflects a 55-year heritage of Alfa Romeo’s lightweight, performance sedan tradition and 105 years of the brand,” with the 2017 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio beginning its first production run late in the second quarter of 2016, alongside a very reasonable starting sticker price of $70,000. With its carbon fiber active aero front splitter, ultralight materials, a carbon fiber driveshaft, hood, roof and other keypoints, and an entire line of all-aluminum four-cylinder turbocharged Giulias hot on its heels, the Quadrifoglio is the equivalent of FCA saying that the gloves are off, and it’s time to throw down with 443 pound-feet of peak power.
Sculpted to have a “menacing face,” the Quadrifoglio retains Alfa Romeo’s signature shield grille, but adds bi-xenon projector headlamps, LED daytime running lights, and a segment-exclusive active front splitter that helps achieve a best-in-class aerodynamics rating by controlling downforce courtesy of a variety of computer readings. With its extremely short overhangs, elongated hood, and widened front fenders, the car’s “ellipsis appearance” works flawlessly above those gargantuan Brembo brake calipers and staggered 19-inch, dark gray alloy wheels. An integrated diffuser at the end adds additional stability at high speeds as well as added downforce in the corners, while the quad-tipped, dual-mode exhaust system offers a fierce final touch as it straddles both sides.
Featuring a driver-focused cockpit that has been entirely wrapped in ultra-premium leather and Alcantara, the cabin is highlighted with authentic carbon fiber, aluminum, and stitched touches. The Formula-1 inspired steering wheel surely has solid grip, and groups controls together with the engine start button in front of a full-color, seven-inch multi information display (MID) cluster, with two large analog gauges on each side. This is pretty important stuff now, especially since drivers must monitor things properly when every ounce of 35 PSI makes peak boost feel like a sure shot to the sternum.
If you are able to catch your breath, please be sure to relish in the layered 3-D navigation and all of its 8.8 inches of real estate, as real-time vehicle performance pages and telemetry ride alongside, becoming activated via gesture recognition. A short-shifting six-speed manual gearbox resides here too, making one want to sing praise beyond compare as specially-made Sparco race seats and their bolsters beg to be tested in the twistiest turns.
Torque vectoring, blind spot monitoring, four different drive modes, adaptive dampers, carbon brakes, direct injection with variable boost management, and the list goes on when it comes to cutting-edge creativity. So what if red isn’t everyone’s thing? Right when I think I don’t like how the Quadrifoglio looks, the thought of it in Vulcano Black, Vesuvio Gray, or Trofeo White washes away all doubt, as multiple wheel options rotate like revolver chambers. Could this really be the perfect sedan to pit against something like the Jaguar XFR?