Am I driving a flashy Ferrari?
Random Italian children at the autostrada Autogrill are excited to see the car. Bolognese boyracers in assorted Fiats and Seats slow down suddenly or speed up enthusiastically to check out the car. Curious old men seated outside trattorias turn their heads to gawk at the car.
I’m not driving a flashy Ferrari. I’m driving an Alfa Romeo saloon with a “Ferrari-inspired” motor (to quote from the press release).
The inspiration in question has manifested in the form of a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6, a mechanical masterpiece that generates 510bhp and 600Nm, all sent to the rear axle of the Giulia Quadrifoglio (“Cloverleaf” in Italian).
With a power-to-weight ratio of over 300bhp per tonne, the GQ is one chop-chop cloverleaf, hitting 100km/h from a standstill in 3.9 seconds and cracking the 300km/h mark. I don’t know how many seconds it takes to dash from 100km/h to 200km/h, but I know it takes my breath away.
It’s way faster than the last rapid Alfa I drove, the 4C junior supercar. It’s almost as fast as the Ferrari blast from the past (I never drove) with a 2.9-litre engine and twin IHI turbos, just like the GQ – the F40.
The GQ is a quick decelerator, too – 100km/h to a stop in 32 metres, according to Alfa Romeo.
Thankfully, it also decelerates quickly enough on the autostrada to avoid rear-ending a pesky Fiat 500 that does an Indy 500 on me by cutting into the fast lane taken by the frigging fast Alfa.
The hard braking is less heart-stopping than expected, with only the tick-tocking of the automatically activated hazard lights to indicate the seriousness of the slowdown.
The brake pedal feels well-modulated underfoot, the sizeable disc brakes bite nicely and the whole structure remains steady, with nothing leaning like the Tower of Pisa.
But the GQ is no Venice gondola ride for the road tripper. There’s noticeable noise from the low-profile Pirelli rubber, plus wind turbulence from the side mirrors, front pillars and rear windows that starts at around 100km/h, becoming more turbulent with every 20km/h increment.
Thank goodness there’s a rousing Italian opera housed in the engine room.