In its base form or its high-performance guise, the 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia quick and agile sport sedan that is always fun to drive. We rate it an 8 out of 10 for its especially quick steering, ready power, and agile moves. The Guilia Quadrifoglio would rate even higher if we rated it separately.
Alfa Romeo offers the Giulia in two basic flavors, spicy and hot as hell, with variants on the spicy version.
The base engine is a 280-hp turbo-4 that teams with an 8-speed automatic transmission to send plentiful, quiet power to the rear or all four wheels. It’s smooth, too, but not as buttery as BMW’s outstanding turbo-4 of the same size. The transmission delivers quick, stable shifts and drivers can shift on their own via available steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
The Giulia’s standard suspension is firm but not punishing, and the relatively tall sidewalls on its standard 17-inch alloy wheels are a good match for pockmarked roads. Live where the pavement is glassy smooth and we’d recommend opting for the available 18- or 19-inch wheels.
Steering is the Giulia’s best trait. It has a thick-rimmed steering wheel that feels good in your hands, the 11.8:1 steering is exceptionally quick, and it provides lots of feel.
Alfa Romeo’s DNA selector has Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency modes to dial performance up or down. Get the optional adaptive dampers that come with a limited-slip rear differential, and Dynamic mode is a blast with its sharper moves, quicker throttle, heavier steering, and enhanced ability to put the power to the pavement.
That’s the appetizer. The main course is the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio that increases performance in every metric.
The Quad is powered by a Ferrari-derived, 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 that shoves its 505 hp exclusively to the rear wheels.
The twin-turbo V-6 screams as it revs toward its 6,500-rpm redline. Its max torque arrives at 2,500 rpm, which is higher than most turbocharged engines. The effect is an engine that asks the driver to push it to tap into the most-willing power. Its beefed up version of the 8-speed automatic plays well with the extra power and pops off firm, fast shifts in Dynamic mode or in the Race mode that is added for the Quadrifoglio. Those modes also firm up the suspension’s adjustable dampers, but even the Quadrifoglio’s ride is never too harsh on the street.
The Giulia Quadrifgolio’s steering manages to act quicker than the standard model’s because the suspension is more responsive to steering inputs. That just translates to more fun, though the brake-by-wire Brembos feel wooden during everyday driving. Push the Quad, though, and the brakes have strong stopping power and feel more natural.
On a track, the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s handling is neutral and balanced, and it carves precise lines through turns. Its 19-inch performance tires provide tremendous traction, though the tail can step out if pushed, but that’s attributable to the amazing power and rear-wheel drive rather than chassis balance.
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