What it is: First, I want to crush your hopes a little bit. The Giulia does start at a relatively modest $38,295, but I drove the Quadrifoglio (Italian for four-leaf clover) version which starts at a much heftier $74,245. Most of the difference in price is attributed to the engine. The base version uses a turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine whereas the Quadrifoglio uses an all-aluminum, twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder 2.9-liter engine derived from the Ferrari F154 engine that is used in the Ferrari 488 GTB, California T and Portofino. It’s of course not this simple, but it’s basically the Ferrari engine with two of the eight cylinders lopped off. The result is still breathtaking, with the Quadrifoglio generating 503 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
The Quadrifoglio was designed to compete with cars like the BMW M4 and Mercedes Benz C63, and certainly delivers with Italian flair. This is a car that is very serious about performance and is even available with optional Carbon Ceramic Brembo brakes ($8,000). The model I drove had the optional Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat paint ($2,200) that is one of the most beautiful reds I have ever seen on a car. The interior gives a very race-inspired feel, but being a four-door sedan, it still gives you the practicality to move your kids around. If you are still sold at this point, then I would recommend the Sparco-branded red and black carbon fiber front seats ($3,500). They are absolutely stunning with the whole rear of the seat made of exposed carbon fiber.
The driving experience definitely delivers. The steering is very neutral, which makes it very easy to control. The engine loves to rev, and the large metal paddle shifters make it easy to rev up to the mid 6000 RPM redline at will. Being twin-turbocharged, those hundreds of lb-ft of torque push you back into the seat immediately.
The Giulia is not a particularly large car, so it’s easy to see out of and gives you a good balance between interior room and cargo storage in the trunk. It might be too small if you are constantly packing four people inside plus cargo, but I wouldn’t hesitate in 95% of situations since most people drive by themselves or with one other person.
MPG: 17 city/24 highway
Price: $81,540 as-tested.
Upsides: All of the Italian sex appeal without an exotic price tag.
Downsides: Reliability questions.
Wrap-up: This car is beautiful and it’s a blast to drive. I would imagine that like other high-end luxury cars, many buyers are actually leasers. While reliability numbers have gotten better, the Giulia will never be a Lexus, so it would be difficult to swallow that you would be on the hook for ongoing maintenance. If you’re planning on commuting every day, I would probably skip the Quadrifoglio, but if you are looking for a weekend race rocket, then go ahead and throw caution to the wind.