Alfa Romeo predates Ferrari. In fact, Enzo Ferrari got his big break running the Alfa Romeo Grand Prix racing team in the Thirties. In 1947, he set up on his own and when Scuderia Ferrari beat Alfa Romeo not long after, Enzo wailed operatically. “I have killed my mother.”
In 1980, he toyed with the idea of building a four-door saloon, but decided that Ferrari could never do such a dreary thing. Slide behind the wheel of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, though, and you can feel the contemporary Ferrari DNA coursing through it in a way the old man would approve of. This isn’t coincidental.
The new Giulia’s development was overseen by a hand-picked team of the company’s top engineers, many of whom had worked on various Ferraris, including the 458 Speciale, possibly the best Ferrari ever, and certainly possessor of one of the great engines of all time.
And that makes this one of the greatest Alfas ever. The engine is a glorious twin-turbo, 2.9-litre, 503bhp V6, the chassis is a clever mix of aluminium and steel, and the roof and bonnet are made of carbon, as are the various bits of aerodynamic addenda.
Like modern Ferraris, the Alfa’s steering is lightning-fast and inspires you to engage with the machine and the whole experience of driving in a way that increasingly anaesthetised modern cars don’t. Fun, I think, is the word. Even the eight-speed, dualclutch auto heightens the emotion rather than numbing it or dumbing it down.
The Giulia QV is also as pretty a four-door saloon as anyone has managed in years, though the interior is patchy. That apart, what we have here is a car that channels Fellini and Ferrari in equal measure, and stirs some much needed soul into the business of getting from A to B.