All posts in “Alfa Romeo”

2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Review

The old guys were right.

As a youth increasingly intrigued by sports cars, I’d frequently spend my weekends out at the local road course watching various car clubs and racing associations test their mettle on the track. Back then, I’d read enough car magazines to know that Alfa Romeo was something of a revered name in automotive circles so I always looked forward to watching the Alfa Romeo club run.

The thing was, in the late eighties, the Alfas were all, well….OLD. 1960’s and 1970’s Giulias and Spiders. Their cars lacked a sexiness that I expected from Italian manufacturers. There was more exoticness (and breakdowns) at the Lotus Club gatherings. Were the glory days of Alfa Romeo long past? Had it remained on the European continent and bypassed the US? Looking around the paddock, I’d try to gauge the state of Alfa Romeo. The enthusiasm was still there in the smiles and bright eyes of the drivers. The flame still burned brightly for these guys, who proudly kept it alive. “Best cars ever,” they’d say. “There’s nothing like an Alfa Romeo.”

Alfa Romeo abandoned the American market shortly thereafter though and I assumed that Alfa Romeo was a fading entity passing into oblivion. Fast forward nearly 30 years and Alfa Romeo has returned to the American market. The brilliant yet underrated 4C, the excellent Giulia, and the fast and practical Stelvio are all extremely capable cars. As I drove each in turn over a two year period, I began to understand the appeal that Alfa Romeo had for those old guys at the track. They were fantastically fun to drive while being as practical as a Camry. And the Quadrifoglio – well, there isn’t a better car to help you understand the appeal of Alfa Romeo. And I’d managed to get my hand on one for a full week’s test.

I found myself on a wet twisty road in the forested hills of northern Michigan….


The landscape was starting to blur. The engine was winding out. My fingers brushed up against the cool-to-the-touch aluminum paddle shifters behind the wheel in anticipation. It’s like pulling the trigger on a gun.


I’m not sure whether it’s the blow-off valves or the exhaust valves but each shift prompts a loud boom and the acceleration pushes you back in the seat all over again. The power and sound swell exponentially. Ferociously. Addictively. It dumps a load of adrenaline in your system, which when combined with the scalpel-sharp and lightening fast steering, can actually induce sweating palms and involuntary shaking. Make no mistake – under that attractive sport sedan wrapper, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a lean race car. It can scramble your brain, exhaust your nerves and body, and reorder your understanding of the supercar world.

Alfa Romeo Giulia QV Blue

We drove and reviewed the Giulia Quadrifoglio last Autumn. Still in huge demand by the media outlets at the time, Alfa had to limit us to four days with it – a short loan since two of those days involve picking it up and dropping it off but it was a tempestuous four day affair. We fell hard and hopelessly in love with her. So after several months of heartache and longing, we decided to ask for a longer loan this year just to spend a little more time with her. Y’know…just to see if our memories were accurate or if time had embellished them.

The Giulia they delivered was the same color as last years: Misano Blue. It’s an utterly beautiful shade of blue that was no doubt inspired by the Mediterranean Sea. The brake calipers this year were black instead of red and unlike last years car, the roof was body colored instead of the optional carbon fiber. The billet aluminum V in the front grille still looked great with the blue paint. Carbon fiber accents along the rockers and the rear spoiler stood out, giving it a very sporting but very aesthetically appealing appearance.

But it’s the heat vents and the white triangle badge featuring the four-leaf clover on the front quarter panels that really get your pulse racing. For these features designate this Giulia as a Quadrifoglio, or QV as it’s known by the the faithful. The QV stands for Quadrifoglio Verde (or “green four-leaf clover”) which has been applied to every Alfa Romeo racing car since early in the company’s ancient history. While it still decorates all their racing cars, it’s also applied to Alfa Romeo’s highest-level performance vehicles. The Giulia and the Stelvio each have a QV version and they’re both insanely fun to drive.

Inside is an appealing mixture of leather, suede, aluminum, and carbon fiber. The seats are leather with suede interfaces to help hold you in place. They’re heavily bolstered to hold you like a baseball glove holds a baseball. As a result, you don’t move much, even through radical transitions. They’re firm but still quite comfortable and they’re easy to get in and out of. They’re heated, as is the steering wheel. Carbon fiber trim is everywhere – the center console, the dash, the door latch bezels. Aluminum also factors prominently into the design.

2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV Center Console

The door pulls, the steering wheel spokes, the vents, and the paddle shifters are all in aluminum and control trim is colored silver to match all the aluminum. The gauges are large and easy to read – both a tachometer that redlines at 6700 rpm and a speedometer that reads to 200 mph (330kph). What surprises you most though is how roomy the interior is. Even with a passenger, you don’t ever feel crowded or tightly packed in. And the backseat not only has plenty of headroom for adults but there’s plenty of legroom for them also. Everyone wanted the front passenger seat for drives, but no one complained from the backseat either. The interior isn’t as comfortable and soft as, say, a Lexus but it’s still comfortable. It’s less a plush living room and more an office where there are minimum distractions so you can focus on the business of going fast.

And going fast is what the Giulia QV does best. The direct-injected and turbocharged 2.9L V6 makes 505 hp and 443 lb-ft and is tuned for maximum performance. Attached to a chassis that weighs only 3500 lbs, it provides massive thrust that can best be described as “rocket-like.” It makes this power through the entire rev range so no matter what gear you’re in, there’s enough power on call to warp space and time. It has a slightly rough idle, no doubt due to how highly it’s tuned, but once you’re rolling it’s a smooth as washed glass. It’s hooked to an electronic 8-speed automatic transmission with evenly spaced gears and beautiful large aluminum paddles behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel.

All this technology works together to reach 60 mph in under 4 seconds, 100 mph in about 7 seconds, a top speed of close to 190 mph (though we didn’t come close to that number – for obvious reasons) and a Nurburgring record time of 7 minutes, 32 seconds. Yeah, it’s amazingly fast. The mid-range and upper range powerband is enormous. Quickly downshift a few flips of the paddles and plant the throttle and the turbo’s rush of power catapults the car down the road like it borrowed an engine from one of SpaceX’s rockets.

All that power is arrested very capably by enormous Brembo brakes. The front discs measure 360mm in diameter and the rears measure 350mm. The 6-piston (front) and 4-piston (rear) calipers pinch down on the drilled discs with a vengeance and stop the car RIGHTNOW. While they’re extremely effective, they do feel a little spongy at first. Not something you’d expect from Brembo, so maybe they were a little tired from so many journalists abusing them.

The brakes hide behind attractive 19” Alfa Romeo 5-hole wheels that are shod with very sticky 245/35ZR19 tires. The grip doesn’t seem to end, though with judicious use of the throttle you can burn them up pretty easily. Otherwise the car just sticks and goes. It’s up to you whether you take the fast line or the hooligan line. Both are massively rewarding in the Giulia Quadrifoglio.

The suspension is firm but extremely effective at controlling the chassis movement in all situations, including the most extreme driving maneuvers. The front consists of double wishbone control arms and active coilovers, while the rear consists of a multilink setup. It’s all tied together by Alfa’s DNA selector on the center console. The round knob allows the driver to select A (all-weather), N (natural, or default), and D (dynamic).

All weather slows all the systems reflexes, retarding the engine responses, softening the suspension, and increasing the control of the various traction control systems. Natural is the natural default when you start the car and it’s a good blend of performance and comfort with the emphasis on comfort though the performance is available with a little push of the throttle. In Dynamic, the performance systems take center stage and the valves in the exhaust system open fully, the responses quicken, and a little slip is allowed into the performance envelope.

Finally, there’s Race mode which is engaged by turning the DNA dial past Dynamic to Race and holding it there for a few seconds. The nav screen lights up an image of the Giulia and it lists all the systems that have now been turned off. Suddenly your only safety net is your control over your right foot. You can immolate the rear tires. You can slide the back end around corners. You can immolate corners. If Dynamic turns on the performance, Race gives it a shot of ephedrine. You can’t imagine that the car can get any faster, yet it does. It becomes frantic, frenetic, furious.

Alfa Romeo Giulia QV Exhaust

While all that sounds amazing, you just have to experience it to believe it. If you enjoy spirited driving, you’ll love the QV. You quickly realize that it’s a friendly and forgiving platform, encouraging you to push a little harder than you did last time, and rewarding your efforts for trying. Within a few hours you’re able to push the QV so hard and fast that your focus and reflexes are forced to increase in order to keep up with the car’s abilities.

You don’t realize how much your reflexes have adjusted to this higher order of performance until you stop and take a break. As you wander the aisles of the convenience store or refuel the car, you notice that your breathing is shallow, your body is shaky, and your hands are sweating. You find yourself getting irritable with people who aren’t thinking and acting as quickly as you are. The only solution to this malady is to get another fix, to get back into the Giulia QV and plant your right foot again.

Surprisingly, and despite our best intentions, we averaged around 20mpg in the week that we drove it. While fuel economy isn’t exactly the Giulia QV’s specialty, it did quite well.

The base price was just above $74,000; just shy of $79,000 with a few decorative options and the delivery fee. People laughed when I told them it was a bargain but for the performance it delivers and the smile it plasters across your face, it really IS a bargain.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio has been reviewed by nearly everyone by now. It’s been universally lauded and rightly so. There are few cars that are as capable and entertaining on the market today. God bless the Italians for keeping things interesting. As for the reverence of Alfa Romeo, I get it now. I understand the appeal of Alfa Romeo; why those guys at the track with their old Alfas were so happy to be hanging out at the track on a cold October day, driving and sharing the day with other people who understood the Alfa Romeo appeal. There’s just something special, some undefinable thing that grabs you. The old guys were right. There’s nothing like an Alfa Romeo.


High school design students sketch out FCA’s ‘ultimate status vehicle’

Each year since 2013, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) hosts a design contest for high school students called Drive for Design intended to educate and encourage automotive career hopefuls. For 2019, FCA prompted 10th, 11th, and 12th graders to imagine the “ultimate status vehicle.” The top three choices include two Alfa Romeos and a Maserati.

FCA named first, second, and third places in the contest. Maximillian Cooper (lead image) from Design and Architecture Senior High in Miami won first place. Mason Ross (first inline image) from Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Wash., took second. Vincent Piaskowski (Maserati image) from Ernest W. Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Mich., placed third. ​

FCA Drive for Design

The three winners of the contest will be awarded with numerous valuable prizes. They will get behind-the-scenes tours at the FCA U.S. Product Design studios, as well as mentoring time with some of FCA’s designers. They will also get scholarships to attend the Precollege Summer Experience Transportation Design program at the College for Creative Studies. Lastly, they’ll have the honor of serving as junior judges at the EyesOn Design Car Show.

FCA Drive for Design

Although each sketch has a unique look, all three take the same approach: cab-forward, bubble-top supercar coupes with dramatic lines and curves. Piaskowski’s shows direct inspiration from a shark, but we wouldn’t be surprised if all three students have special places in their hearts for the Pininfarina Maserati Birdcage Concept.

Alfa Romeo 4C Mole Costruzione Artigianale 001 to be Auctioned

A special Alfa Romeo 4C will cross the auction block next month. A one-off Alfa Romeo Mole Costruzione Artigianale has been announced for RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction. It is the first chassis to come from Mole Costruzione, fresh from its debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2019.

The Alfa Romeo Mole Costruzione Artigianale is built upon a well-used 4C chassis. RM Sotheby’s have confirmed that the donor car carried 40,000 km prior to its conversion. It uses a 1.75 litre inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine, most likely sharing the 240 hp power rating of the donor car.

It’s the bodywork that impresses the most though. It is virtually unrecognisable compared to the standard 4C. Pumped up front and rear bodywork gives a more muscular appearance. Additional louvres over the rear hatch, new rear tail lights and a new interior make this 4C a cut above the rest.

It joins a world class auction docket. Among the highlights are an Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake, Delahaye 135 S and a rare Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider.

You Can Buy a Brand-New Alfa Romeo 8C

A Once In A Lifetime Opportunity

Sometimes you get second chances, and that’s exactly what this sounds like to us. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is now offering up one Alfa Romeo 8C Coupe and one 8C Spider for sale. Neither car had ever left the factory despite the fact that they were built in 2007 and 2010 respectively. This means they’re brand new. 

The 8C was the car that started the revitalization of the Alfa Romeo brand. The car was produced in limited numbers and was one of the most beautiful cars of the last several decades. Alfa made only 500 of the coupe and 500 of the spider. These two cars were a part of the Automobiles’ Reloaded by Creators, which is an FCA Heritage program. The department decided to sell the 8C cars it had, according to CarBuzz.

Both of the cars only have a few miles on their odometer and have been gone through and certified by FCA Heritage. When the cars were new, the coupe went for $265,000 and the spider went for $299,000. The value of the 8C has gone up considerably in recent years, so these two cars should fetch more than that. 

There’s a new 8C coming, but it won’t be like the old. It will be a mid-engine supercar capable of producing over 700hp. If you want the original, real deal item, then you’d better pony up the money for one of these special cars. There likely isn’t an 8C out there in better condition. 

Alfa Romeo Unveils 4C Spider Italia Special Edition in Chicago

Called the Italia But Exclusive to North America

Continuing what seems to be the neverending run of special edition models coming out right now, Alfa Romeo keeps 4C rolling with a special edition. The company calls it the Italia and debuted it in the Windy City at the Chicago Auto Show. 

The new version of the pint-sized mid-engine sports car comes to North America via Modena, Italy. There, workers will build each of the 15 examples of this special edition car by hand. An Italia Special Edition 4C Spider will only run you $5,000 more than the regular version of the car.

What makes the 4C Spider Italia special is its exclusive Misano Blue Metallic exterior paint, piano black front air intake, piano black rear diffuser, special 4C Spider Italia graphics, aluminum dashboard insert with 4C Spider Italia badge, and a numbered plate on the center console. 

Alfa Romeo also announced the 4C’s 2020 model year with the 4C Spider Italia. The automaker will continue to produce its low-volume mid-engine sports car. Alfa’s 4c is truly unique in its design and layout. At a comparable price, few cars can match it.

The 4C Spider Italia features no upgrades from a performance standpoint, and neither does the standard 2020 4C. The car still has its all-aluminum 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s mid-mounted and its 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. While it would have been cool to see Alfa Romeo change things up and get more power out of the four-cylinder, we’re just glad the 4C still exists for the 2020 model year. 

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Is Already a Legendary Car

You can’t be a genuine gearhead unless you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo. It’s a common axiom. That’s because Alfa Romeo, above all other automakers, understands that driving is a sensual, visceral experience. Alfas look gorgeous. Their engines sound explosive and sonorous. Their potency comes with a distinct personality. Driving an Alfa Romeo reminds you why you love cars.

The current Giulia Quadrifoglio ($73,700) is a proper Alfa Romeo. It was the perfect car to reintroduce Alfa Romeo to the U.S. market. Already a legend, it is destined to be a modern classic.

One must appreciate Alfa Romeo’s sheer ambition. BMW’s M3 provides the benchmark for sport sedans. That reputation stems from decades of excellence. Alfa, with help from Ferrari, took on the M3 with the Giulia Quadrifoglio and blew it out of the water. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is faster. It’s more compliant. It looks better in metallic blue paint.

A German dad and former M3 owner hailed me in a grocery store parking lot. He asked whether the Giulia Quadrifoglio was as good as he had heard. The most forthright answer, after admitting the car wasn’t mine, was “yes, it’s incredible.”

Driving the Giulia Quadrifoglio thrills. It’s as close to a four-door Ferrari production sedan as we’ll ever get. The “Ferrari-derived” 505hp Twin Turbo V6 makes the Giulia QF lightning quick. It would be unnerving but for the supreme balance and laser-precise steering. It can be as maniacal or as composed as you want it to be. The German ZF transmission is dulcet and intuitive. You forget the paddles (or the absent manual option in the States) after a short while. The Giulia shifts better than you can.

The transmission misstepped once in a week’s worth of driving. When I accelerated from zero to 20mph over the speed limit, the Giulia Quadrifoglio presumed I wish to keep going. In true Alfa fashion, it was more in tune with my heart than my head.

Daily driving the Giulia Quadrifoglio is not annoyance free. Lane clogging SUVs will annoy you. Our oppressive regime of traffic laws will subdue your buzz. The Giulia QF can still provide a compelling drive at normal speeds. But, you’re ever cognizant of how much fun you could be having if not for other people.

Performance comes with impeccable Alfa style. The Giulia is beautiful. Clear lines project the available power and aggression under the hood. But a subtlety and effortless restraint underlie the whole package. The Quadrifoglio version does not announce its hotness beyond the odd clover. It doesn’t need to. The Giulia looks like what it is, an M3 redone with better taste.

The sports sedan is the ultimate real-life driver’s car. The Giulia Quadrifoglio may be the ultimate high-performance variant. It may never be topped.

It also brings the noise. The Giulia Quadrifoglio’s engine is a purified raucousness. Think Beethoven over Metal Machine Music. You find yourself cranking up the revs to hear it again, at every stop sign, light, or gap in the traffic.

Alfa Romeos are perfect. Why doesn’t everyone who can afford one own one? They don’t always run. Stereotypes depict Alfas as notoriously unreliable. Some stereotypes are rooted in fact. My parents still remember the name of their old GTV 2000’s mechanic forty years later. They remain convinced he was sabotaging the car. It didn’t seem possible to them that many things could go wrong with a car.

In that respect as well, the Giulia Quadrifoglio has proved itself a proper Alfa Romeo. There are two general reviews of the car. The first rates it as at or near “best car on the road” status. The second describes where the reviewer was driving when the engine light popped on and the car died with an unclear prognosis. Mine had zero issues for what it’s worth. Though, I only drove it for a week and did not track it.

Issues, particularly in early press cars, no doubt stemmed from the development process. Alfa Romeo rushed the Giulia into production in two and a half years. Most cars take four-plus to put out. Working out some of the inevitable electrical gremlins happened with real drivers on the road. Things could get worse as these cars age. If you want a sedan to bore you with its obsessive reliability, buy a Toyota Camry.

Okay, so the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a great car. It’s a mind-blowing drive when it runs. Why, beyond that, will it be collectible?

Animalistic car performance will be at a premium moving forward. The sports sedan is the ultimate real-life driver’s car. The Giulia Quadrifoglio may be the ultimate high-performance variant. It may never be topped. A pocket rocket sedan with a 3/10 EPA smog won’t be on the menu moving forward. Manufacturers are phasing out both sedans and internal combustion. Even Alfa will be moving toward plug-in hybrids and EVs. Performance may well be “ludicrous.” But, it won’t feel or sound the same. This car will remind purists what they loved about gas and be worth what may be a crushing expense to fuel it.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio is part Ferrari, the important part. It’s not an affordable car. But, it’s more attainable than a true Ferrari. It’s a special and memorable collaboration. The notion is similar to the legendary Mercedes 500E from the early 1990s that had a Porsche designed chassis and was assembled on a Porsche line.

Giulia Quadrifoglios should be relatively rare. Alfa does not sell in huge numbers compared to Mercedes and BMW. The Italian company did have a record U.S. sales year in 2018. But, that was still fewer vehicles than Mercedes sells in the U.S. during one month. Most Giulias sold will be lower trims, not the Quadrifoglio. My local Alfa dealer has 86 2018 and 2019 Giulias listed in its present inventory. None are Quadrifoglios.

Finally, it’s an Alfa Romeo, a darn near impeccable one. Alfas charm car people. They charm non-car people. My wife scolded me for shifting out of dynamic mode and softening the suspension on the highway on the way back from dinner. My other passengers gushed about rides around the block. The Giulia Quadrifoglio’s charisma was infectious. Or, perhaps, it was my persistent glee rubbing off on everyone I met.

Ugur Sahin Design’s Alfa Romeo “Nivola” Looks Better Than the 4C It’s Based On

Improving On A Beautiful Design

I used to think the Alfa Romeo 4C was one of the best looking cars around, but now I know that it was only vaguely what I actually wanted it to be. This new design from Ugur Sahin Design called the Nivola is what the 4C should have always been. 

The Nivola Concept came about after the design firm’s CEO Ugur Sahin saw the Alfa Romeo Stradale 33, designed by Franco Scaglione in 1967, win at Pebble Beach. Its name comes from racing legend Tazio Nuvolari. Nivola was Nuvolari’s nickname, and it suits the car well. 

According to Ugur Sahin Design’s website, “He epitomized courage and daring and for 30 years he amazed the racing world with his exploits on both two and four wheels resulting in several championship titles in motorcycle as well as sports car championships.”

Elegant and Well-Proportioned

The Nivola Concept perfectly merges old and new design. It’s at once modern and retro and takes the 4C’s donor car shell to whole new levels with smooth curvy lines. It makes me wonder why automotive designers ever thought creases in bodywork sheet metal were a good thing. 

Sahin said the 4C was an obvious choice for his modern interpretation of the Alfa Romeo Stradale 33. The hard points of the chassis for the mounting of the body panels differ dramatically from the original car. That means he had to get creative to make his concept work. 

Sahin certainly pulled through. The car is beautiful with near-perfect proportions. In order to achieve this, Sahin had to increase the length of the rear of the car. While the car is based on the Stradale 33 it’s not an exact copy. Shin made a point to make the concept his own. It’s a homage to the original car, but it’s not a replica or a recreation. If Alfa was smart, they’d hire him to do the next generation of the 4C if there is one. 

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

It’s a revelation having Alfa Romeo back in the United States. Unlike other car companies doing business in the US, every single car and SUV it produces and offers here in North America is focused on performance and driving. As such, each car they’ve delivered to us has been a terrific experience, from the tiny but engaging 4C to the new Stelvio Quadrifoglio. As someone who loves driving good cars, this is encouraging.

Earlier this year we reviewed the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport. We found it to be a very capable SUV; comfortable for the driver and passengers, with a peppy engine and sharp handling. It was on the sportier side of the SUV market and we felt it was a great addition to Alfa Romeo’s line-up. However, as much as we enjoyed it we couldn’t help but wish we were driving the then-new Quadrifoglio version – Alfa Romeo’s high-performance version of the already impressive Stelvio.
With a twin-turbo 2.9L V6 engine producing 505 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque and a performance all-wheel drive system, it presented a tantalizing opportunity to further explore Alfa’s engineering prowess as well as Alfa’s idea of what an SUV should be.

So we begged and pleaded and offered bribes and wept bitterly and tried asking with fake angry Russian accents and at long last – after a few torturous months of waiting – Alfa Romeo was able to deliver a Stelvio Quadrifoglio for us to play with for a few days.

They delivered to us a Vulcano Black Stelvio Quadrifoglio with dark grey wheels. It was nearly a blacked-out package, which made the aluminum V-grille and the almost neon yellow brake calipers pop against the black background. White triangular badges with green four-leafed clovers (“quadrifoglio”) on them decorated the fenders. The wheels were wide and wrapped with equally wide Pirelli performance tires. It looked mean. It looked intimidating. It looked fast.

Inside, the interior was black too. Black leather and suede seats, black carpets, black plastics, and carbon fiber trim. Aluminum accents were the only brightwork, and Alfa Romeo made sure to use them liberally to offset all the darkness. The seats were plenty comfortable though and well-bolstered. They were also electrically adjustable in several ways. Legroom was plentiful in front and acceptable in back. The backseat also folded flat to increase cargo area. All the controls were laid out logically. Alfa’s D.N.A. selector that controls the drive mode was on the center console, in front of the electronic shifter by the infotainment selector and volume knob. The leather and carbon fiber wrapped steering wheel hid two of the largest aluminum paddle shifters you’ve ever seen. They’re like aluminum artwork behind the wheel. It comes loaded with just about every conceivable luxury option. Like the standard Stelvio, it feels like a quality interior and you get the impression that it’s a prestige-level car. As it should be.

The Quadrifoglio version means increased power but it isn’t just all about the motor. There’s a lot more to it. There’s a torque-vectoring differential to send power to the wheels with better traction. There’s active suspension that adjusts at the turn of a knob – from All-weather to Normal Conditions to Dynamic, which ups the ante performance-wise, and finally to Race, which promises nothing but sweet goodness. There’s also the optional CCM (Carbon-Ceramic Matrix) ultra-high performance brakes that our car had, which come in at a hefty $8,000 but stop this SUV right NOW! and can do so repeatedly all day long without fade. The bright yellow calipers with “Alfa Romeo” in black script look sublime. Plus the carbon look of the disks just exude cutting edge awesomeness.

So what’s it like to drive? I’m glad you asked. Climb in.

Reach for the start button on the dash aaaaand….there isn’t one. It’s on the steering wheel instead. Press it and the engine whirrs to life. Oddly, the 2.9L V6 engine idles roughly, as if it’s unbalanced. Not something you expect in a $80,000 SUV, let alone the base $40,000 Stelvio we drove earlier this year. However, once in motion it smooths right out and you don’t notice it anymore. It behaves like a race car engine, tuned so highly for speed and high rpms that it struggles to idle. You never get the sense that it’ll stall though, and it never did for us.

Put your foot on the brake and making sure to press the button on the back of the shifter, pull it back towards you until “D” lights up on the shifter and on the dash display. Let your foot off the brake slowly and the release of the CCM brakes will feel different from standard steel brakes. It comes across as a slight drag of the pads on the rotors, then it’s fine. At low speeds around town, it’s perfectly comfortable stopping and starting and sitting in traffic for extended periods of time. As I said, the brakes feel a little different but don’t operate any differently and don’t require any special maneuvers. The suspension is firm but not harsh, even in Dynamic mode. It absorbs bumps and potholes well while instilling confidence in it’s abilities. It would be a great car for commuting or running the kids to soccer practice.

And if you come to a stoplight and some dude in a muscle car lines up next to you, revving his engine to signal his desire to race, or if some woman is tailgating you because she thinks she’s faster, well…you might have to drop the hammer on them and show them the error of their ways. If the rough-idling engine was meant to emulate a race car engine, giving that right pedal a good solid poke will have you believing it really is a race car engine. The turbocharged 2.9L V6 absolutely rocks this platform, driving it up the road like it’s on an aircraft carrier catapult. The suspension keeps things flat and level and in control and the all-wheel drive system gets enormous purchase on the road beneath you, the meaty Pirelli summer tires twisting against the hot asphalt to push you out ahead of everyone in the blink of an eye. The 8-speed electronic transmission quickly snaps off shifts as rapidly as the needle can reach the redline, which is amazingly fast. With each shift, the wastegates dump huge amounts of air with a loud “Whump!” While some may find this annoying, it’s the sound of pressurized power and it immediately reminded me of the 4C with the race exhaust (a car at the top of my wishlist) and I was immediately smitten with it. The effect of all this power and performance leaves other drivers in a state of shock. “What the heck just happened?!? you can almost see their lips mouthing in the rear-view mirror. Nobody expects an SUV to have this level of performance and it’s quite entertaining to gauge people’s reactions when you demonstrate it.

Hit an entertaining secondary (or tertiary) road and you’ll quickly realize that it’s not just a straight-line muscle car. The suspension makes the Stelvio Quadrifoglio a very stable and agile platform. It effortlessly follows the twisting, winding roads, never getting caught out by a curve or off-camber section or patched and rough road sections. The steering is direct and intuitive, pointing the Stelvio exactly where you want it, with the rest of the car eager to follow. With the D.N.A. selector set to Dynamic or Race, the turbo engine is always ready to provide a tidal wave or torque to shoot you up the road even faster, making the scenery out the windows even blurrier. And should you find yourself in over your head, with too much speed and too little asphalt, a reasonable application of the Brembo CCM brakes will reign everything back into compliance. At speed, the CCM brakes feel more natural, although their abilities are borderline supernatural. Really stomp on the brake pedal and you’ll hang yourself in your seatbelt. They’re extraordinary.

Engage the paddle shifters and you can take control of the transmission too. The long wide aluminum paddles (left for downshifts, right for upshifts) are almost as tall as the steering wheel so it’s almost always available to your fingers, no matter what angle you have the wheel turned to. There’s nothing worse that a slow-shifting electronic transmission when you’re trying to go fast and Alfa agrees. In Dynamic or Race mode, the shifts are rapid-fire fast and really enhance the performance capabilities of the car.

Gas mileage is rated at 17 in the city and 23 on the freeway. I don’t think I witnessed those numbers, but I have to confess that when i have a 505 hp turbo engine at my disposal, I tend to use it hard and often. I think I was regularly getting 14-15 in the city and I think I may have managed 21 on the freeway. Again, that’s with hard driving.

The performance is simply unreal. Alfa Romeo claims it’ll go from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. I have experienced that. They also claim it’ll top out at 176 mph. I completely believe that too. It’s one fast machine.

The fantastic thing about the Quadrifoglio version is that it really is a driver’s SUV. It’s no less capable than any high-end sport sedan and it’ll go up against the best on the market – all while carrying more cargo in the back and providing you with a more elevated view of the road ahead. Ultimately, this is more than just a high-performance street SUV. This is a fully-trackable SUV that would probably embarrass some highly regarded performance cars at a track day event. In fact, it recently destroyed the record for an SUV at the Nurburgring with a time of 7 minutes and 51.7 seconds. That’s not just impressive, that’s mind-boggling.

While we really liked the Stelvio Ti Sport, we completely fell for the Quadrifoglio. Alfa Romeo has done a magnificent job of planning and building a top-tier performance car. That it’s an SUV is even more impressive. Now let’s go find a fun backroad to push this thing on. Or a race track.

Future Alfa Romeo 8C Could Get 800hp Hybrid Powertrain

Rumours have been circulating this week surrounding Alfa Romeo and the possible revival of the Alfa Romeo 8C. The badge was last used on Alfa Romeo’s 2 seater, front-engine supercar more than a decade ago, it looks set to return in 2021. The news is nothing new as in June earlier this year, it was widely reported that the late Sergio Marchionne had given the green light to the project as part of the company’s future product strategy.

Marchionne’s vision for the company was to offer two ‘specialty’ sector cars, a new Alfa Romeo 8C and a larger, Coupe style GTV. The latest set of rumours emanate from Car Magazine’s cover story which allegedly dishes the dirt on the development of the project.

The 2021 Alfa Romeo 8C will almost certainly be a two seater with a mid-mounted engine. It will be based around a carbon monocoque with the familiar 2.9 litre twin-turbocharged V6 providing power together with an electronic motor. The drivetrain is expected to be shared by the long-delayed Maserati Alfieri. Car Magazine suggest that the 600 hp petrol drive train and 150 Kw electric motor could generate power of around 800 hp.

The design team are said to be targeting a sub-three second 100 km/h sprint with a special E-boost system to achieve those figures. The 8C will undoubtedly receive four wheel drive with technical systems such as torque vectoring and advanced traction control.

The 2021 Alfa Romeo 8C will almost certainly be a limited production model, the last 8C was available with 500 coupes and 500 convertibles. Alfa Romeo will probably expect to sell more this time around, expect no more than 1,000 copies to become available.

The Alfa Romeo 8C makes sense for Fiat Chrysler these days. With Ferrari generating a huge amount of revenue for the group and with access to the legendary Italian company’s expertise, it shouldn’t prove too difficult to manufacture an ‘entry level’ supercar for Alfa Romeo. Hopefully it doesn’t end up like the Alfa Romeo 4C.

Our above renders were carried out by Yung Presciutti. The Car Magazine article linked above also includes some pretty interesting renders which combine elements of the Alfa Romeo 4C with the Ferrari 488 and LaFerrari!

Alfa Romeo Mole 001 Coupe

You don’t need to own a country club to own the Alfa Romeo 001 Coupe, but you probably have to be a member of one. And who wouldn’t want to be if you got to show this beauty off?

The Alfa Romeo is the new friend to the group, the one your girlfriend tells you not to worry about. Why? Because with this model, Alfa have emerged into the mid-engine 4C coupe scene in stylish fashion. The two-seater is beautiful and Italian, a combination to envy. Alfa Romeo have indirectly paired up with Mole Automotive to get this car to where it is now – not just a looker but a performer too.

The finalized car oozes dramatic dynamism. Its retooled and fresh body embraces an acerbic fiber carbon film that wraps around a 4C high-performing engine. Ultimately providing a shaken-not-stirred martini of aesthetics and speed. As common within the work of Mole Automotive, this project was a sole custom redesign. Nevertheless, the finished result is so exceptional that even Alfa Romeo’s designers may just look up from their drawing boards too.


Alfa Romeo 4C

“An Extraordinary, Unfiltered Driving Experience”

The aforementioned is Alfa Romeo’s catchline for the 4C; it’s definitely accurate in hindsight, but could be misleading beforehand. To truly get it, you would have to drive the car first.

The Alfa Romeo 4C is arguably the marque’s most important car in decades and is a notable amalgamation of the company’s values – building affordable cars with an outspoken spirit and unique philosophy. This means that Alfa Romeo has engineered the 4C (available as a Coupe or Spider) to deliver uncompromised performance while pricing it at a level that many people can afford.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Working in tandem to achieve this goal, are its compact 237-horsepower turbocharged engine and – thanks in huge part to its use of a carbon fiber tub chassis – its ridiculously low 925 kg curb weight (1,118 kg in the US due to extra bracing required to meet crash regulations).

This provides drivers with the sensation of supercar characteristics, particularly at the limit. However, that’s about where the similarities end when pitted against the standards of a modern supercar. Afterall, it starts at just $57,495 USD, so we should accommodate the notion that the 4C will have its limits and has to make sacrifices somewhere.

Engine & Transmission

The transverse 1.7L turbocharged powerplant packs quite a punch, especially when measured by the horsepower per liter. Producing 237-horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200 rpm, the engine delivers a robust 139-horsepower per liter.

Due to the 4C’s low curb weight and thoughtful aerodynamics, it is able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 160 mph. The low-end torque ensures that the car doesn’t have to be driven in a high-strung manner in order to pass traffic during the daily commute, or attempt an overtake on the race track.

Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission; unfortunately, a manual transmission is not an available option, which would have seemed like an obvious thing to have. However, the DCT offers both precision and convenience, while being complemented by the Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector which allows the driver to set up the car for different uses.

Chassis Design & Interior

Now found across the Italian marque’s entire line-up, the Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector allows for four different driving modes in the 4C – Natural, All Weather, Dynamic and Race.

The latter two modes allow for greater throttle response from the engine and transmission, with Race mode also turning off all electronic driving aids. Natural mode is the standard for regular street driving with its more conservative settings, while All Weather mode is considerate of inclement weather conditions such as rain and snow.

Brembo brakes come standard with the car, and offer plenty of bites and very analog feedback. They work well with the entirely unassisted steering, providing the chassis with an unadulterated, electronic-less driving feel. Arguably this is the best feature about the car, should this be your cup of tea.

The car’s lightness (only 925 kg, or 1,118 kg in the US), rigidity, low center of gravity, suspension, and aerodynamics all work together in a harmony to provide a rewarding experience for drivers who both appreciate, and have the skill to drive at the limit. With that in mind, the rawness that is required for tactile, spirited driving precludes a sense of comfort and refinement; and this is felt especially during daily driving.

The cramped cabin is full of exhaust notes and engine noises – after all, the 4C is about saving weight, so sound deadening and creature comforts play second fiddle to keeping on the diet.

To save not just weight – but also money – the interior is decidedly basic, with primarily plastic pieces – as opposed to carbon fiber – making up the majority of the space.

Space for anything other than two people is also at a premium in this two-seater, and anything more than a carry-on won’t be joining you for the trip.


The Alfa Romeo 4C is an unfiltered, track-focused car that intends to emulate supercar driving characteristics and evoke the sensations of racing enthusiasts. It actually does this very well but doesn’t bring up many positive talking points beyond that.

Buyers who are looking for a well-rounded sports car – one that offers performance without sacrificing refinement, or vetoing any and all practicality – need to look elsewhere.

If sophistication isn’t your emphasis, but track performance capability is, then the Alfa Romeo 4C could be a good pick. Besides finding a used Lotus Exige, there isn’t anywhere else you can go to get this unique of a combination of chassis, engine, and design, at this price.

Specifications And Performance Summary

Pricing And Model Info

Make Alfa Romeo
Model 4C
Generation 2013 – Present
Car type Coupe / Targa
Category Series Production Car
Built At Modena, Italy
Base Price (USD) $57,495

Chassis And Powertrain

Curb Weight 925 kg, 1,118 kg* (2,039 lbs, 2,465 lbs*) *US model
Layout Mid-engine
Driven wheels Rear-wheel drive
Engine Inline 4
Aspiration Turbocharged
Displacement 1.7 Litres
Transmission 6-speed DCT

Engine Output

Power 237 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Power / litre 139 hp / litre
Power-to-weight ratio 8.6 lb / hp
Torque 258 lb-ft @ 2,200 rpm


0-60 mph 4.1 seconds
0-100 mph 11.1 seconds
¼ mile 12.9 seconds @ 107 mph
Top Speed 160 mph (258 km/h)

Photo Gallery

Video Reviews

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Alfa Romeo 8C to be Resurrected as 700hp+ Super Coupe

Alfa Romeo is set for some considerable rebranding in the years leading up 2022. Sergio Marchionne set out his vision for the Italian brand on Friday with a market move upmarket one of the key takeaways from his presentation.

The photos below show Marchionne’s vision for the company. Most notable is a move out of the B segment which is currently occupied by the MiTo city car. While the Guiletta will remain, it will be supplemented by a C UV, no doubt to compete with Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Audi at the lower levels.

At the higher levels, Alfa Romeo will retain the recently released Giulia and Stelvio models with planned releases of PHEV drivetrains, higher levels of connectivity and autonomous driving. Both will gain long-wheelbase versions to satisfy the Chinese market.

Looking higher up the model range, Alfa Romeo also plans an E segment SUV, likely to rival the Maserati Kubang and Jaguar F-PACE as well as their German rivals.

The juicy information was in the news that two models will return to the Alfa Romeo range. Alfa Romeo has, historically, excelled at performance cars and in particular, on the race track. In recent years it has dabbled with cars inspired by its golden years. The 8C is a particular highlight with the 4C also notable.

The presentation slides reveal that the Alfa Romeo 8C will be resurrected in time for 2022. The slides reveal it will use a carbon fibre monocoque with a twin-turbocharged mid-engine hybrid unit pushing out figures in the 700 hp range. A predicted sub-3 second 100 km/h time should make it extremely interesting.

The 8C will be joined by a similarly performance oriented GTV model. The GTV was a product of the mid-90’s, a front engined, rear wheel drive coupe and convertible. It should come equipment with more than 600 bhp, E-Boost technology, all-wheel drive torque vectoring, a 50/50 weight distribution and room for four.

In the whole, Alfa Romeo will be phasing out diesel engines from its range. By 2022 it will launch a range of mild hybrids, hybrids and plug-in hybrids shared across the Fiat Chrysler Group. It should offer an electrified version of every model by then with six PHEV’s.

Alfa Romeo at the Geneva Motor Show 2018

There was nothing new for Alfa Romeo at the Geneva Motor Show 2018 this year. Instead, we saw a set of NRING special editions which pay tribute to both the Giulia and Stelvio’s Nurburgring lap records. We took a closer look at what the special edition models get you!

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio NRING

Both the Stelvio and Giulia NRING editions are based on the Quadrifoglio versions of their respective models. Both cars feature Circuito Grey paintwork, with carbon detailing on the grille and door mirrors, black wheels and standard-fit carbon ceramic brakes.

Inside, both cars get carbon-shelled Sparco sports seats with red contrast stitching. There is plenty of carbon, a numbered build plaque and a leather/Alcantara steering wheel. Alfa Romeo will also offer a Harmon Kardon audio system to complete the package.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio NRING

As a reminder, the Quadrifoglio versions of both cars feature a 2.9 litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine with 510 hp and 600 Nm of torque. The power allowed the Giulia to lap the Nurburgring Nordschliefe in just 7 minutes 32 seconds while the Stelvio managed 7 minutes 51.7 seconds.

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible

Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible To Compete With Porsche 911

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible Version To Compete With Porsche 911

The Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe is still at least a year away from production. The upcoming 4C will debut on the market as a mid-engine bruiser with a 0-60 sprint of around 4.5 seconds and curb weight of under 2,000 pounds, making it a contender to Porsche 911 buyers.

Alfa Romeo handed over early development and then brought in-house, Dallara, the company behind carbon fiber components found in the Alfa Romeo 8C, Bugatti Veyron and the KTM X-Bow.

Now, rumor has it that the Italian automaker could be stepping up the competition to Porsche with a drophead version of the 4C.

If the rumor is true, we won’t see the 4C convertible until 2014 at the earliest.

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Convertible

Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign

Independent Italian automotive designer, Marco Procaccini – MPcardesign, has designed a new concept based on the Alfa Romeo 4C. The sports coupe concept has emerged with the name Alfa Carlo Chiti after the famed Italian engine and racing car designer Carlo Chiti, who revolutionized the motorsports division at Alfa Romeo. The Alpha Carlo Chiti boasts rear-wheel drive and a front-engine layout and measurements of 4050mm long, 1830mm wide and 1250mm tall. The sleek styling can be seen in the video and images below.

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign

Sx-Z | Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Design by MPcardesign