You’ve heard it a million times: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But when does imitation cross the boundary? Well, having spent more time in the Alfa’s cabin, this is a point I’m struggling with. See, anyone familiar with Audi and BMW cockpit controls may see some visual similarities between them and the Giulia’s gearstick and rotary menu control.
When I say similarities, I mean, they look exactly the bloody same to me. But making things look the same is easy, emulating the tactility and haptic pleasures is much, much harder. And this is where the Giulia comes up short. Both the BMWesque gear selector and Audi-style rotary control feel incredibly cheap and plasticky compared with its German rivals.
Poring over the materials in the Quadrifoglio’s cabin serves up a plate of confusion. There are some wonderful elements: the big metal paddles on the steering column that move with wonderful solidity, exposed carbon trim and classy green and white contrast stitching.
But then there are the basic, uninspiring and slightly shoddy parts; the heating controls, in-house infotainment system and rattly hi-fi. But then you press the big red Start button on the carbon-bottomed steering wheel. The engine fires into life and these worries subside.
With the carbon weave on the underside of the bonnet winking at you from the driver’s seat, lots of headroom, comfortable seats and good visibility it feels smaller to drive than an M3. And better too. But more on that next month.