The 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV offers a tidal wave of power thanks to a 505 hp, 442 lb-ft 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 that punishes the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Handling and performance is class-leading although you pay top dollar for the privilege. Some less-than premium cabin materials mar an otherwise quality interior and specification levels are high too. Navigation, heated front seats and rear-cross traffic alert are standard while the driver assistance package adds adaptive cruise control and brake assist.
by James Allen
Alfa Romeo has never built a 500-hp performance sedan before, but you’d never guess it from the excellent Giulia QV.
As probably expected, considering how solid the standard car is, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV is a remarkable piece of kit. Despite having no prior experience with making a car of this ilk before, Alfa Romeo has built a genuinely impressive sports sedan in the Giulia QV that rides, handles and performs to an almost class-leading level. Some buyers may be put off by the slight practicality limitations and the iffy-in-a-handful-of-places material quality, but overall the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV is one of the best cars you’ll find in this class.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia QV also impresses when it comes to fit-and-finish.
It’s borderline cliché to comment on how special Alfa Romeos feel on the inside, but the Giulia QV genuinely feels rather unique in this class. Whilst there’s admittedly nothing wrong with the execution of the cabin construction in cars like the BMW M3, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Cadillac ATS-V, the aesthetic flourishes here and there (with our highlight being the beautifully-crafted aluminum paddle shifters behind the steering wheel) do make the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV’s interior stand out from the pack. The Alfa Romeo Giulia QV also impresses when it comes to fit-and-finish. Admittedly, its aforementioned rivals do have the edge in this regard, and the cheaper-feeling materials and switchgear lower down in the cabin do diminish the premium feel a bit, but overall the construction and layout is befitting of a vehicle with a $72,000 base price. Likewise, the main controls are intuitive to use, with the 8.8-inch infotainment display in the dashboard being particularly easy to operate and responsive to inputs.
Sadly, space isn’t quite as impressive in the back seats.
Up front, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV fares well when it comes to practicality. The side door bins are of a good size, and the glove box is big enough to accommodate more than just the owner’s manual. More importantly, there’s lots of head and leg room up front, and the heavily bolstered sports seats offer good amounts of support. Sadly, space isn’t quite as impressive in the back seats. Whilst adults can fit in the rear seats, the sloping roofline does mean head room is rather restricted for taller passengers. Leg and shoulder room isn’t that great by class standards either – though, in the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV’s defence, the door openings are big enough to make ingress and egress fairly straightforward. What isn’t defensible, however, is the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV’s tiny trunk: at 12 cubic feet in capacity, it’s the smallest you’ll find in this segment by a noticeable margin. For sure, the wide-ish opening and 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats do improve the versatility, but we wouldn’t recommend the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV if you’ll regularly be ferrying about four adults and their luggage in your performance sedan.
The steering in particular is worthy of note.
Alfa Romeo made some pretty bold claims about the Giulia QV’s handling traits, so we’re very pleased to report those statements weren’t hyperbole. So good is the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV to drive, in fact, that we’d go as far to say it should be near the very top of your performance sedan shopping list if you’re after a car like this, The steering in particular is worthy of note. Whilst it’s lacking a bit in feel, enough information is transmitted through the wheel rim to let you know what the front wheels are doing, and the steering does weight up pleasantly as you apply more steering lock. Having such a quick steering rack also, in combination with the very grippy tires, means the front end is very responsive to inputs – yet, surprisingly, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV never feels nervous or twitchy when you’re pushing it hard on a track.
Considering the car’s weight, the taut suspension does a very impressive job at controlling the car’s mass when cornering.
Braking performance is also very impressive on the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, with the standard Brembo brake setup being able to shed speed very effectively. Buyers who’ll be taking their Giulia QV on a track will also want to consider the carbon ceramic brake option, which further increases the stopping power on top of being less prone to overheating after repeated heavy uses. It’s the body control, though, that’s really surprising about the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV. Considering the car’s weight, the taut suspension does a very impressive job at controlling the car’s mass when cornering. At public road speeds, though, the suspension also satisfies in its ability to iron out lums and bumps in the asphalt surface – though, as expected from a vehicle of this caliber, the setup isn’t quite cossetting enough to filter out the sharper jolts over fixtures like highway expansion joints. Having big tires does result in quite a bit of tire roar, but the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV isn’t drastically impeded by this. Not only do many vehicles in this segment suffer from the same problem, but the noise insulation in other areas is more cohesively suppressed – with the lack of wind noise at highway speeds being worthy of note. Likewise, whilst there are chunky rear pillars to contend with, the large windows do go some way to offsetting some of the blind-spot-induced visibility issues.
The 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder gasoline engine’s 500-hp output makes it the most potent base engine in this segment.
One area where the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV well and truly trumps its competitors is in terms of power. Despite being one of the smallest engines in this segment, the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder gasoline engine’s 500-hp output makes it the most potent base engine in this segment. The only way to have even more power from a stock car is select the optional 503-hp engine in the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG sedan. Being so powerful, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV has very impressive performance statistics to its name. The 0-60mph time is claimed to be just 3.8 seconds, and the top speed of 191mph makes this performance sedan the fastest on-paper vehicle in this class.
The only transmission available on the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV is an eight-speed automatic transmission.
There’s more to the engine beyond the headline horsepower figure. With 442 lb-ft of torque on tap from 2,500rpm to 5,500rpm, the 3.0-liter unit also offers lots of pulling power across a sizeable portion of the rev range – ensuring you don’t need to use all of the revs when accelerating or overtaking on the highway. Should you decide to use all of the revs, though, you’ll be treated to a sonorous (if perhaps a tad muted) bellow from the exhaust pipes. Fuel economy was always going to be a bug bear for the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, though the claimed figures of 17mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway aren’t bad by class standards. The only transmission available on the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV is an eight-speed automatic transmission, which does a very good job at changing gears quickly and smoothly in the fully automatic and manual modes. If there’s a complaint to be had, it’s that rival transmissions are that bit more seamless when it comes to gear changes, but – as the Alfa Romeo’s setup gets the job done very well and is very responsive to inputs from the paddleshifters – it’s not a major complaint to be had.
Admittedly, you do get a decent amount of equipment for the money.
Easily the largest downside to the prospect of Alfa Romeo Giulia QV ownership is the high asking price. With a base price of $72,000, the Giulia QV is considerably more expensive to purchase than a BMW M3 ($64,000), Mercededes-Benz C63 AMG ($65,200) and Cadillac ATS-V ($60,695). Admittedly, you do get a decent amount of equipment for the money. Available on every single Alfa Romeo Giulia QV are blind spot monitoring, built-in navigation, parking sensors, heated front seats, rear cross traffic alert and a premium audio system. In fact, the only optional extra we feel a majority of buyers should consider is the $1,500 Driver Assistance Package, which adds adaptive cruise control and emergency autonomous braking to the spec list.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia QV is an unknown at the moment in terms of reliability and residual value ratings.
More dedicated driving enthusiasts with a sizeable budget may also want to consider the $5,500 carbon ceramic brake setup – and especially if they’ll regularly be taking their Alfa Romeo Giulia QV on a track. A $2,750 set of carbon-fiber-backed Sparco bucket seats are also available, though it’s worth pointing out that specifying this option does remove the heated seat functionality from the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV. Being a new car from a brand that’s only just officially returned to the United States after a long hiatus, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV is an unknown at the moment in terms of reliability and residual value ratings. Whilst the early signs are promising, it’s impossible for us to state at this moment in time how much the car will cost you in the long run. Likewise, safety ratings aren’t known as of yet, as neither the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV or the regular Alfa Romeo Giulia have undergone crash tests yet.
In summary, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV is a surprisingly terrific performance sedan. As a driver’s car, very little in this class can match the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV’s in terms of ride and handling, and even fewer have the power on tap to match the vehicle’s ferocious straight-line pace. Better still, the car’s quite comfortable and refined by segment standards. If you can afford the higher asking price and look beyond some of the uncompetitive practicality aspects, then the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV should definitely be considered as your potential next performance sedan purchase.