Cars Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (2020) review
Alfa Romeo reveals updated Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeo has unveiled its refreshed Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio models. The update follows on from tweaks made to the standard Giulia and Stelvio models, which tweaked their appearance while bolstering interior technology levels. The revisions are much the same for these performance-orientated Quadrifoglio models. A larger 8.8-inch infotainment screen is now the focal point of the cabin, while its revised software includes race-orientated displays and functions.
Being anenthusiast – one of the Alfisti – is a bit like being a Crystal Palace fan. There are moments of hope and rare bursts of brilliance, mixed with regular let-downs and long periods of weary resignation.
Alfas, with very few exceptions, always look fantastic. But the classics dissolve like bath bombs at the first hint of rain, while the moderns are mostly dressed-up Fiats: unreliable and disappointing to drive.
This car, though, is different. It has awith two cylinders lopped off. It has a ‘Race’ mode next to the gear selector. It has a carbon fibre bonnet and roof, active aerodynamics and (optional) carbon-ceramic brakes.
BMW M2 CS 2020 review
The new CS is a good deal more expensive than the standard M2, but how much better is it to drive?Before we get under way, though, the reworked cockpit. As you would expect, it’s largely the same as that of the M2 Competition, but there's a new carbonfibre centre console that goes without the usual centre armrest, the same M Competition Sport front seats used by the M4 CS and some added Alcantara for good measure. It’s not exactly overflowing with luxurious confirm, but nor is it the pared-back road-racer that some might expect. It even has rear seats...
And it hits 62mph faster than you can say ‘Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’.
The Quadrifoglio (‘four-leaf clover’ in English) is Alfa’s £65,555 flagship. On paper at least, it’s a bona fide super saloon, a car with BMW M andlocked in its crosshairs.
It certainly looks the part, with gaping air intakes, 19-inch Teledial alloys, a bare carbon spoiler and four fat tailpipes – but you’d expect that. What matters is how it drives.
I’ll level with you: this is one of those ‘burst of brilliance’ moments. On the right road, the Giulia is simply sensational: a four-door Ferrari that leaps balletically from one bend to the next.
It’s brutally quick, yet finely balanced, with supple suspension that soaks up the worst British roads can throw at it.
Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 2020 UK review
Naturally aspirated 4.0-litre engine feels like the missing piece of the puzzle. The Boxster GTS is as sublime to drive as it is easy to use day to dayHere we have a modern-feeling and equipment-rich mid-engined sports car that possesses a 7800rpm naturally aspirated engine developing 395bhp and, in the context of unstressed induction, an impressively healthy 310lb ft. And it comes with three pedals, and an encouragingly low kerb weight of 1405kg.
Clearly, with 510hp coursing through the rear tyres, luridis never more than an indelicate prod of the throttle away, but the Alfa never feels unruly or intimidating. It’s more ‘sports car’ than ‘muscle car’ – unlike some of its rivals.
The 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 makes a gruff growl, augmented by pleasing pops from the exhausts in Dynamic and Race modes. It’s no high-rev screamer, but there’s immense mid-range punch; few cars overtake so briskly and decisively.
Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio meets Giulia Ti Super on the Arese test-track.
One is *slightly* quicker than the other.
— Tim Pitt (@timpitt100)
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and intuitive – even if you’ll prefer to take control manually using the huge-style paddles.
The mega-Giulia isn’t perfect, of course. Its steering is rather light and flighty for my taste – much like most recent Ferraris, in fact. And the carbon brakes feel strangely wooden at low speeds, making them a £5,500 option you can probably do without.
Praho: the unique Alfa Romeo you might never have heard of
For the latest classic car news, features, buyer’s guides and classifieds, sign up to the C&SC newsletter here The great Italian coachbuilding houses have been sadly decimated since the ’60s, unable to face the challenges of a world in which car makers can competently design and produce even their low-volume models in-house. Back then this colourful industry was still very much in its pomp, made buoyant by the growing momentum of the Italian economic miracle (and its attendant industrialisation) plus a wealth of homegrown talent. Nowhere else could you find such a happy blend of artistic and technical skill when it came to styling and fabricating motor-car bodywork.
Also, while the carbon-backed Sparco bucket seats – themselves a £3,250 option – look fantastic, the rest of the interior is a mixed bag. At least Alfa Romeo has improved the infotainment system for 2020, with standardand Android Auto connectivity.
There’s also the spectre of unreliability. Mid-way through its week in our care, the Alfa mysteriously flattened its battery and refused to unlock via the remote. A call to the AA sorted it, but I can’t help wondering if the old clichés still have some truth.
So, this is a car you buy primarily with your heart rather than your head. But it was ever thus with Alfa Romeos, and this one tugs at the heart-strings much harder than most.
I’d still plump for the rather more mainstream Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, but buy the Alfa and you’ll earn my unqualified admiration and respect.
There’s no doubt what the middle-aged gent who collects the keys would choose. As we both stare wistfully at the Quadrifoglio, he tells me he’s owned no less than six Alfas over the years. “This is something else,”, he says, “I think it’s the greatest Alfa Romeo ever made.”
Porsche 911 Targa 2020 UK review
Aside from its looks, the 911 Targa has always struggled to stand out against its rangemates. Now, there’s a new one. We put it to the test in the UK for the first timeIn these environments, the Targa rides with plenty of purpose, but isn’t so firm that that you’d think twice about using it as more of a long-legged GT - something plenty of Targa owners will no doubt have done over the years. Coupled with the 911’s fantastic driving position and excellent visibility front and rear, it is a sports car in which you could quite happily endure big-mile schleps.
With cars like the 33 Stradale, Montreal and Alfasud in the back-catalogue, that’s a bold statement. But, you know what, I think he may be right.
0-62MPH: 3.9 secs
TOP SPEED: 191mph
CO2 G/KM: 206
MPG COMBINED: 30.7
Gallery: Oops! 20 motoring misfires (Classic & Sports Car)
How to save fuel when driving .
We took part in the WLTP Challenge, learning how to drive as efficiently as possible. Here are our top tips to save fuel – and money.Our car for the 250-mile challenge was an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, a performance saloon capable (before the recent update) of achieving 27.2mpg. That’s if your willpower is strong enough to resist unleashing the full fury of its Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre twin-turbo engine.