Two critics, one car — Alfa Romeo Giulia QV
This is the car that Alfa Romeo has needed for more than a generation. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is a modern sports sedan that has to make almost no apologies, especially when it arrives as the QV powerhouse that's set against the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.
ALI: Wow, this is not your average family wagon. Is it completely new?
PAUL: Totally new and a different approach for Alfa Romeo. It's trying to be mainstream luxury, up against the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the rest.
ALI: I love the look. It's really grunty.
PAUL: It helps that we have the QV - for green cloverleaf - with what amounts to a cut-down Ferrari engine and all the go-fast gear.
ALI: So it's a competitor for the C63? And probably the M3 from BMW, I'm thinking.
PAUL: Spot-on. It's a little cheaper than the BMW and a fair bit under the Benz but any Alfa is still going to be a heart-over-head purchase based on the brand's history.
ALI: I love the two-tone leather trim. The small, sporty steering wheel is comfortable to handle.
PAUL: The wheel is the best I've handled for a very long time and so much better than an AMG Benz. A little thing but it means a lot in a fast car.
ALI: I like the ease of this infotainment, which is a great upgrade for Alfa and distinct from other brands. I rate the audio, too, with a massive subwoofer in the boot.
PAUL: I find the infotainment too fiddly and the display area is tiny in a dash with lots of space.
ALI: OK, so I'm not so in-love with all the warning buzzers. The lane assist sounds like someone ate too many baked beans so I'd be looking to switch this off, making it a useless feature.
ALI: As a city car, this would be a challenge for me. I find the way it lurches forward and the air-conditioning turning on and off to save power is very annoying.
PAUL: It's not happy going slow and even the brakes take a good hard shove at slow speeds. But the eight-speed double-clutch gearbox is smooth once you get rolling and there are plenty of modes - the track setting has the inevitable exhaust pop-bang.
ALI: Yes, but that's not for commuting. It's for show-offs.
ALI: I'm not in love with the way this car tries to be fast all the time. Once it tried to lurch out of a shopping car park spot. I think they need to add a Zen setting for parking.
PAUL: The view is not great and I'm not impressed with the boot. It doesn't have any sort of split-fold - even though I know that adds strength in a sports sedan, it's a big compromise.
ALI: Now I agree with you about the infotainment display. The reversing camera is far too small and they have plenty of space they haven't used.
PAUL: And did I mention that the seat-height adjustment switch fell out? It ruined my impression of the carbon-fibre sports buckets.
ALI: It happened on both sides. That's terrible for any new car and it gets me thinking once more about Alfa Romeo horror stories.
PAUL: As a driving car, this thing is brilliant. The V6 turbo is fantastic, the chassis is so compliant and enjoyable, and it grips and goes in all conditions.
ALI: I took it up the mountain to visit my mum and it handles corners like a dream. It really works well when you let the engine open up.
PAUL: For me, it's more subtle than an AMG Benz and the engine is fantastic. Cutting down a Ferrari V8 to a V6 for Alfa is a big win.
ELI: I liked feeling all the turns in this car, like a computer game for real. I didn't like the lack of a centre armrest.
PAUL: It's not particularly practical. Just four seats and the compromised boot.
ALI: There is a surprising amount of legroom in the back but not a lot of head clearance for taller passengers.
ALI: Those switches have me worrying about the quality but it's a fun car that gets a Tick from me.
PAUL: I've got a couple of friends who would plain love this car. I like it, despite some doubts, so it's another Tick.
ALFA ROMEO GIULIA QUADRIFOGLIO
PRICE From $150,693 drive-away (costly but competitive)
SERVICE 3 years/150,000km, $2465 for 3 years (expensive)
ENGINE 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo, 375kW/600Nm (just plain wonderful)
SAFETY 5 stars, 8 airbags, AEB, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert (what it needs)
THIRST 8.2L/100km (reasonable)
SPARE None; inflation kit (small fail)
LUGGAGE 480L (good; no split-fold)