THE Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde packs the 4C's 1750 turbo four when combined with the TCT twin-clutch transmission. Improved materials quality, a more aggressive soundtrack and a host of detail changes see the hottest Giulietta come out swinging.
WHAT IS IT?
The 2015 Giulietta QV has developed into a capable and credible Volkswagen Golf GTI rival courtesy of a huge tick-sheet of improvements. The engine and gearbox combo is all-new and there have been incremental gains right across the board that demonstrate Alfa Romeo is finally listening.
WHY WE'RE TESTING IT
Plumbing Alfa Romeo's best engine and transmission into the pointy end of a Giulietta will be enough to have many looking for a dotted line to sign on, but there's more to this QV version than that. The interior quality is leagues better, the styling has been tweaked, there's a new Uconnect multimedia system and there's even launch control for the perfect getaway.
Ford Focus ST, Mini JCW, Renault Megane RS 265, Volkswagen Golf GTI
THE WHEELS VERDICT
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV delivers convincing performance in the go, stop and steer department. That much was expected; the quality of the rest of the package is the big surprise. Although it's still not as meticulously buffed across the board as a Golf GTI, you’ll never need pre-prepared excuses.
PLUS: Handling; soundtrack; pace; TCT transmission; value
MINUS: Packaging; still no looker
THE WHEELS REVIEW
IF YOU'RE anything like us, the measure of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde is a considered estimate of how long it will take for buyer's remorse to give you a solid shoeing. The good news on this latest model is that this period isn't going to be measured in mere hours, days or weeks. It's a genuinely well-sorted package thanks to the availability of the 4C’s direct-injection 1750 turbo four when teamed with the twin-clutch transmission.
The six-speed TCT option tacks another three grand onto the manual car's $39,000 asking price, but where the manual car uses a carry-over powerplant, the TCT model gets the superior aluminium-block unit that lifts power to 177kW. It also gets launch control. This carves great chunks out of the 0-100km/h time, dropping it from the manual model's 6.8 to 6.0 seconds.
Previous QV models sounded rather adenoidal, the 1.4 MultiAir engines in lowlier Giuliettas delivering a more sonorous soundtrack. This time around, the car pipes the winning sound of intake manifold through the scuttle. The 'QV Intake Engine Sound' pretty much clues you in to what you're going to get, delivering the Barry White through a soilpipe bass timbre that the reedy 1750 was so signally lacking.
Plug the DNA driving mode selector into Dynamic and torque cranks up from 300 to 340Nm. For such a modest capacity, this direct-injection four is a lugger, with meaningful go on tap from 2000rpm. It also means you rarely feel the need to worry the wheel-mounted paddles, the TCT box's software deftly returning you to the main vein of turbocharged torque each time with barely there 130 millisecond shift times.
The launch-control mode doesn't require an arcane 17-point sequence to initiate and sets the revs at a sensible 4000rpm before you sidestep the brake pedal so as not to cremate the front P-Zero Rossos.
The steering is authoritative, the Brembo brakes well up to the mark and the ride firm, though with just enough secondary suppleness to pass muster. Front-end grip impresses and the stability control goes all the way to zero if required.
The Chrysler-sourced Uconnect multimedia system is slick and intuitive, interior materials have improved, and the new leather and Alcantara seats are a welcome upgrade.
There are still some typically casual design signoffs – seat recliner pinioned beneath the seat belt and clunky air-con controls – and you'll need to be the final arbiter on the styling updates. But buyer's remorse? Not going to happen.
Model: Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
Engine: 1742cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v
Max power: 177kW @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 340Nm @ 2200rpm
Transmission: 6-speed TCT automatic
0-100km/h: 6.0sec (claimed)
On sale: Now