Is there no limit to the tortures to which our testing would subject a car?
Over the past few months we’ve hammered the Giulia Quadrifoglio till its tyres combusted, and – all in the name of rigorous enquiry, y’know – repeated the process at Alfa’s track, and Red Bull’s and finally our own. We’ve pasted it up and down an Italian mountain pass. And then, to be quite sure we had judged it absolutely correctly the first time, an Austrian one too.
It covered itself in glory. You knew that.
But, my friends, we must together face a sad truth. Life for a £59,000 fast luxury saloon can’t all be track days and high mountain passes. People buy them for the everyday too, to use as any normal high-quality saloon. What if the Quadrifoglio turned out to have lousy comfort, grumpy urban habits, unrefined motorway manners or shonky ergonomics? It couldn’t just shrug its pretty shoulders and plead divine handling and epic power.
So the test tortures of tracks and mountain passes aren’t enough. It must face the torture of actual life. Which is why the Giulia finds itself jammed among the buses along Oxford Street on a wet winter’s London night. I’m using it as, y’know, a car. To get about. Errands around the capital first. Some suburban schlepping. Then a slog up the motorway.
Although I happen to rather enjoy motorway driving. Some of it. Especially since I’m including the length of the wonderful bleak northern section of the M6 and M74 across the Borders. Destination some awesome Scottish B-roads. Because, well, divine handling and epic power. Part of what makes the Giulia so fascinating is that it’s a car-industry rarity: a totally new car. We all know we love Alfa, and we’ve rehearsed why on these pages often enough, so I have major emotional investment in this drive. But I also have genuine curiosity because the Giulia is an Alfa done by a new group of people using all-new parts. They holed themselves away from the rest of the Fiat Chrysler Group and went to extraordinary lengths to do their own pure thing.
OK, they used the industry-standard ZF eight-speed auto, but the engine, platform, bodyshell, interior, those are all spanking fresh.
Not even the infotainment system is borrowed. They could have done a reskin of the top Chrysler one. That’s what Maserati did, and it’s good actually.