Nothing has changed under the bonnet, the engine is still three-quarters of the block from a Ferrari Portofino, giving us a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6. Revving to around 7,000rpm it produces 510PS (375kW) at 6,500rpm and 600Nm (443lb ft) at 2,500rpm. That is sent through an eight-speed ZF gearbox to the rear wheels and the rear wheels only. If you want to compare the Stelvio to the Giulia, this one is the hooligan.
Everything about the Giulia feels very analogue (except for the auto ‘box), even the dials on the dash have a real needle to whizz round, rather than a digital set. Stamp the throttle and the Giulia will summon everything from that howling V6 – although there’s a definite lag between throttle hitting floor and action – and then wonder exactly what to do with it. You can feel the rear-driven nature of the Giulia the moment you set off, any hard acceleration leads to a touch of wheelspin, no matter the surface, and while the Giulia’s sprint to 62 is only 0.1 seconds slower than the Stelvio, you can really feel the difference. But when it does harness all that power, the effect is impressive, especially when you later arrive at something interesting.
The Giulia has Alfa’s standard DNA switch for the adaptive driving settings, where N is Normal and D is Dynamic. There’s a definite difference in damping between the two, the Giulia feels softer and ready for a cruise in N, but rattles a bit more in D – Track will remove your fillings. Unless you’re cruising D will always feel better, but you never need to involve the harshest damping settings unless you really want to.
Hit a corner and the Giulia requires control, there’s no front wheel power here to help you through. Power on mid corner will induce more traction issues, making the back end actually quite useful, the Giulia will slide wider on corner exit than many of its competitors, as the fronts push rather than pulling, but the throttle is a useful tool in such situations. Through it all it’s not a scary situation, no matter how lairy the car is getting, the feel through the chassis is excellent and you know exactly what everything is doing at all times. A spirited drive in the Quadrifolgio is a workout, but a fun one.