back to article Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde: Fun, but not for all

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a car with far too much power. The 240hp from the 1750cc turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine overwhelms the fat tyres, so it struggles for grip and torque steers. Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde. Pic: Simon Rockman Alfa Romeo Giulietta And I love it. I had a lot of things to do …

  1. Simulacra75

    Alfa ownership

    Having owned an Alfa in the past, there's a price to pay for all that fun and it's not what's on the sticker. Constant trips to the garage for suspension parts, amongst other things and a hefty wedge to pay each time. Very hard to shift on second-hand too.

    Pity really given how fun they are to drive.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Alfa ownership

      Yes, and I keep spending that money on my 156 because it puts a smile on my face when I drive it. I can't say that the Gulietta is as pretty as the 156 - in particular the 'frigtened animal' look from the front is pug ugly. It has a nice arse, but the whole package is meh.

      Not driven the cloverleaf varient, but more power can't be a bad thing

      Been waiting for a replacement for the 159spacewagn for too long. The Gulia has slipped a year every year for too long, and now looks like it will be priced outside my range.

      1. Hardcastle the ancient

        Re: Pug Ugly

        Yes, the current Alfas are appalling to look at, and not much fun to drive. Interior is foul too.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: Alfas and preconceptions...

          Nice to see a reviewer who gets why people buy Alfas. Soft-touch dashboard plastics are no substitute for having fun while driving.

          @Robert - the car to (finally!) follow the 159 will be launched in Summer. There's supposed to be a Sportwagon version either at launch or shortly after.

          I have a Giulietta (but a 2.0 diesel rather than this QV model -- diesel is far cheaper than petrol here in Ireland, and I have nobody to pay my fuel bills!). I had two 147s before that. I do believe that the "reliability" story is now as much perception as reality: my previous two 147s were completely reliable, and never stung me with "additional service items" in the twelve years I had them (5 years for the first car, seven for the second; both bought new).

          I did, however, need to replace wishbones prematurely on the 147s: they're almost a consumable part thanks to the overuse of too-tall speed bumps in our towns. (Tellingly, I don't remember seeing many speed bumps when driving in Italy a few years ago).

          Hardcastle, would you like to share the details of when you drove a Giulietta, what model it was, and what you compared it with?

          I test-drove A3, 1-Series, Volvo V40, A3 Focus 3 and Golf 7 against the Giulietta, and bought the Alfa. Just because I'd owned Alfas in the past, I didn't automatically go for the new Alfa: I wanted to see what else was there. I liked the 1-Series, but not the horrible pedal placement, and the body. Volvo was too hard (a sin in a Volvo), the other three just didn't do anything for me (A3 in particular was utterly devoid of any kind of driver feedback).

          I'm happy to hear first-hand experiences, but yours sounds like the usual "all Italian/French/Japanese cars are crap" nonsense that stopped me buying magazines long ago.

      2. oj98

        Re: Alfa ownership

        I still hanker after my 156 days, and haven't found the car to replace it. I have to say mine wasn't that expensive to keep, but did eventually have to go when I'd done 90k. Was worth peanuts by then though.

        I adored that car.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Italian cars are usually always fun to drive, but a bit dubious to own.

    In my youth I owned several Lancias, which were absolutely brilliant fun. I remember my 1300 beta coupe showing a clean pair of heals to an XR3 down the twisty lanes, and the huge grin on my face given I'd only paid a couple of hundred quid for it, and the XR3 was brand new.

    Of course the flip side to this is maintenance which, for an Italian car of that age, is constant. But cars were simple, carburettors could be swapped in an afternoon, and when the holes in the bodywork finally got too much (Or you'd interfaced with a ditch), you got rid of it, or bought another for a couple of hundred quid.

    Fast forward many years and I now drive a sensible, and reliable German car. I often wondered what time had done to Italian cars... So it was with some excitement I discovered the small car assigned to me as a holiday rental was a FIAT.

    Oh what fun, bowling through the twisty lanes, skinny tires squirming for grip, little engine singing along, invariably in the top 3rd of the rev range. It brought back so many fond memories.

    Even more so when I discovered the windscreen washer didn't work, the cigarette lighter didn't work to charge the sat nav, and the central locking packed up on one side halfway through the first week... Being Italian, I knew finding the fuse box was never going to fix the problems, and of course it didn't.

    I didn't care, it was great fun to drive, and I only had to live with the faults for a few days.

    Which I think sums it up for me... They're great fun to drive, but with more on more electronic complexity installed, you want to be able to give it back after a couple of weeks, I really don't like the idea of constant maintenance of that volume of Italian electronics!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not sure I agree

      Firstly some of the newer Fait's aren't that great to drive.

      Secondly I had a Fiat made in the late 90s and it was both fun and bullet proof, no rust, no problems with the electrics.I joined a forum for that particular model and it seems the others weren't having lots of problems with them either.

      Perhaps we were just all very lucky.

      I'm not saying it was perfect, the electric windows were slow whenever it got cold and the door handle design was nice looking but easily got frozen up in the cold. However, it always started and nothing stopped working.

  3. Dr_N Silver badge

    Driven Alfas for years

    I've had 3 Alfas since 2001 and apart from the odd battery failure or problem with a German made piece of electronics or sensor have never had a major engine or mechanical issue with any of them.

    With only the Giulietta or MiTo in the range to choose from (4C is a long wait and not an everyday car for work) 2014 has been the first year in 13 that I was Alfa-less.

    And boy I miss it. This review gets close to capturing the Alfa "thing".

    Alfisti have already waited too long:

    Roll-on the new models and new (petrol) engines.

    1. teabag36

      Re: Driven Alfas for years

      Hi,

      I too have had several Alfas (and a Lancia Fulvia - which was truely epic). They were completely reliable (well, my 33 let me down once - Bosch electronic ignition module - but that's german electrics for you).

      I've also driven the Giulietta (both in the UK and Italy). It was quick and quirky, but not less involving than say the 156.

      I do hope cars aren't converging into mediocracy - Alfa is one of the last hopes.

  4. Bad Beaver

    Models, models, models …

    I learned to drive on a 90s Spider 2.0. That car was full of surprises. There was a little open canal behind the seats, I think a little less than an inch deep, that cought the water leaking in on rainy days. You would never know what would stop working next. It was a wonderful little car and I loved it dearly.

    Yet whenever I see the Gulietta I cannot help myself but think "boy, that thing is ugly". It is high time for them to reintroduce some decent designs and widen the range. The 4C is pretty nice but if I wanted an impractical racer I would much rather pick a Lotus. 156, 166, Spider and GTV are dearly missed.

    And please stop making them look like fat, frightened little rodents, it is unbecoming.

  5. OffBeatMammal

    I really hope they bring something like this State-side.

    I grew up in the UK and covered a lot of miles in a Lancia Delta and then got a new 155 V6. Totally agree on the maintenance heartaches - my first electrical fire in the 155 was *before* I drove it off the dealers forecourt, going round a roundabout (at a reasonable clip I'll admit) the interior lining fell off the passengers door (girlfriend *wasn't* impressed!), power steering died randomly one day... in the middle of North West Wales ... but I would buy another one in a heartbeat for the same reason I drive a Mustang today... the sheer grin on your face every damn time it starts!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      although the 'four-leaf clover' isn't available in the states, the giulietta has been available since 2013 as the dodge dart (fiat owns chrysler).

      1. Kristian Walsh

        The Dodge Dart is a very different car. It's wider, longer and --crucially-- much heavier than the Alfa, despite sharing its architecture.

        Wait until Summer, when the 3-Series sized Alfa is to be launched: that will most definitely be sold in the USA. If you can't wait, well, there's always the 4C ;)

  6. jason 7

    Cover over the badge...

    ...I'd think it a Mazda to be honest.

    Does look fun however.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: Cover over the badge...

      I thought it was an updated Rover 25...well, guess that's the issue with computer generated jelly mould cars these days.

  7. HildyJ Silver badge

    I've owned an Alfa SV, FIAT 124, FIAT X1/9, and Alfa Milano (the 75 in Europe). When the last one got smashed by an idiot running a red light, there were no more Italian cars available new in the States. I miss them. When my Golf GTI gets old, I hope that Alfa will be back. If not, the FIAT 500 Abarth is my current choice.

    What can I say? The Italians just consistently make great cars that don't run consistently. Love and logic are never consistent.

  8. phil dude
    Coat

    cost of petrol/gas....

    When I went to the grocery store yesterday , $2.29/gal ($0.60/litre).

    Carry on...

    P.

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: cost of petrol/gas....

      Bargain, can you get Diesel that cheap as well? If so I would like 60 litres please. Delivery to the UK.

  9. ISP

    Not for me

    I really liked the Gulietta when it launched, while the looks may not be as good as some Alfas they are at least distinctive in a class which is largely quite dull.

    For me the killer though was the proximity of the clutch to the centre console, this is probably a non-issue on LHD cars but when added to the shape of the console meant that from knee down my leg was hitting off it. The current Focus was the same, seems to be a design fad.

    Shame really..

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I miss my 145

    Wallowing round corners, chewing through tires like nothing else, scraping ice from the inside in the winter, oh but what fun.

  11. MJI Silver badge

    Pity not 4WD

    With that much power it would have been tamed nicely.

    Sorry but torque steer terrifies me. Rather handle oversteer.

    The 4C though, sounds fantastic.

  12. cosymart
    Happy

    If you want POWER!

    If you want a fun? drive try an artic power unit, amazing to drive and more power than you would ever need. The forward/back rocking motion is interesting.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: If you want POWER!

      I once chased one down a long twisty country road, with high hedges, on my Duc'. The driver was going at a faster pace than I could have done alone, because they had such an amazing view over the hedges. The tractor unit had stunning accelaration too, hardly surprising when you consider its normal burden. However if I wanted a cage with a colossal diesel engine, I think I'd prefer the fuel consumption of a Trident Iceni. If I could afford an Iceni, I'm sure they could fit a periscope to give the view of an artic. tractor unit without the drag penalty. (http://www.tridentsportscars.com/) Dream on: Now If only an Italian company would mass produce an Iceni equivalent at a reasonable price...

  13. joed

    odd choices

    Without the proper gearbox it's more of a imposter than a sport car. Slush-box in Europe. I guess that's what you get for the merger with Chrysler. And having sacrificed the functional gearbox they still managed to place the fake one in the place destined for cup-holders while forgetting in include an armrest. And then 4 door - type R my a..

    1. ISP

      Re: odd choices

      It's not a slush box, doesn't have a torque converter. Rather it is a twin clutch automated manual affair like VW's DSG. Apparently Chrysler are getting this from Fiat instead...

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: odd choices

      Without the proper gearbox it's more of a imposter than a sport car.

      I drove manual sports cars for years (and one of the best was my Alfa Bertone GTV). But I'm not sure that automatic transmission disqualifies this one.

      Once upon a time cars were equipped with a manual advance-retard control. When it became clear that a machine could manage the ignition timing more reliably and safely I don't suppose anybody regretted the change. A modern automatic gearbox can change gear faster than the driver can, and it can manage more gears - does anybody really want to stick-shift through 8 or more ratios?

      I don't think it will be long before manual gearshifts are as indicative of performance as fake air vents and external exhaust pipes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: odd choices

        A modern automatic gearbox can change gear faster than the driver can,...

        But they can't pre-empt, so when you bang it down into a bend, you want to make sure you are in the right gear, though and out of it.

  14. Winkypop Silver badge

    Alfa Romeo the heartbreaker

    Loved my past Alfas, so did the mechanic. (2.0 Alfetta*, 2.5 V6 90, 3.0 V6 Spider)

    When something went wrong it was always in multiples of $500 to fix.

    The melted wiring loom was the worst.

    Italian cars eh!

    * favourite

  15. Daniel Bower

    Bought a Cat D write off 147

    Off eBay three years ago. Did the cam belt as a precaution and it needed new upper wishbones on the front and apart from that she's been faultless.

    Coming on for 92k miles and I've done 40k of those and enjoyed them all. Great car.

    Would I buy one of these-in a heartbeat...

  16. ScottME
    Happy

    Great cars

    I'd not long passed my driving test - mid 1970's I'd guess - when my father acquired an Alfetta, and I was allowed to drive it. To this day, I've never driven a car that was so engaging, so communicative, and so lively. It was also ridiculously unreliable, and he'd have got rid of it far sooner if it hadn't been such fun, and more importantly, if his employer hadn't been footing the repair bills.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reliable

    My petrol 147 has done 156K miles, 125K of those I have done personally. Original clutch. Does 60 miles a day and has started first time every time. Still a joy to drive. Without a second thought I'd get another Alfa.

  18. IsJustabloke

    Ha! A journo that understands the Alfa virus... I love Alfa's I'm just lining up a mito QV to accompany my 1986 spider. Until about 3 years ago that spider was my daily car. I drove it every where and it *never* let me down. It was the cost of running it that made me get a more modern car.... 18 to the gallon and I drive it like I stole it (where possible ;) ) not to mention the fat end of 300 quid a year to tax; surprisingly it was very cheap to insure although that could be my age I suppose I

    couldn't afford another Alfa at the time I needed to get a car so I'm currently driving a FIAT punto on a daily basis (my spider comes out at the weekends) its surprisingly alright but its no Alfa.

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