By Miles Downard
The very first car I ever wanted was an Alfa Romeo, more specifically a GT Veloce which is more commonly, albeit it incorrectly, known as a Junior. A teacher at my primary school had one; tatty it was, but that shape caught my attention in a way no other car ever had.
Years past, taste changed, but my love for Alfa Romeo has never wavered. In fact I recently joined the owners club having acquired my very own 156 GTA. I know it’s not the best car ever built, in fact far from it. The front bumper is so low it kisses every blemish in the road surface, the shock absorbers are filled with concrete, the interior has all but disintegrated and the once deep, rich rosso corsa (racing red) has not fared well in the South African sun. But I don’t care; there’s a human element to every Alfa Romeo that only the owner can appreciate – in the same way a mother loves her children regardless of any flaws.
The company itself has been through a period producing vehicles that perhaps fell short of the world’s expectations from something wearing a badge steeped in such a tremendous history. Fiat, the parent company, has chopped and changed its plans for Alfa more than premier league teams change managers. This hasn’t helped.
A couple years ago that all changed. With a clear vision and the money to back it up Alfa Romeo announced that its entire line-up would be overhauled. The biggest change being the return of rear wheel drive – the Holy Grail to any driving enthusiast. Housing the new drivetrain would be a proper saloon body, with all the right underpinnings. Music to my ears.
The first of that new line up hit our shores in early January. Called the Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde (or QV for short), this is the pinnacle of saloon car motoring. Crafted in a manner only the Italian’s can achieve, there’s not an angle nor profile which isn’t pleasing to the eye.
But good looks aren’t the end of this story. Under that sculpted bonnet lies a Ferrari derived 2.9 litre V6 with two turbochargers to deliver a gob-smacking 380kW and 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds. Eat that in your BMW M3.
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There’s all-aluminium suspension with an extremely sophisticated double-wishbone setup at the front. Aluminium is used extensively through the body shell too, keeping weight down to give nimble handling. Helping that along is a steering rack claimed to be quicker than any rival.
A transaxle arrangement (ie gearbox at the back) gives ideal weight distribution together with a dual clutch torque vectoring limited slip diff. There’s carbon fibre bits too, used for the propshaft, roof and bonnet. Brakes are carbon ceramic, if you so wish. All of this has lead to the Giulia QV setting the fastest ever time for a saloon car around the famed Nürburgring, by some margin too.
I think this car has me just as excited as the day I saw my teacher’s GT Veloce back in Grade 1 – and that’s what motoring is all about. To the 45 lucky customers who are now taking delivery, enjoy every minute.