Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde: Glamorous Grown-Up Hot Hatch

A refined, classy and stylish ‘grown up’ hot hatch, the Giulietta QV is the re-branded, updated and subtly face-lifted evolution of the 1750 TBi pitched somewhere between the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Audi S3.

Stylishly designed and appointed inside, the Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde is the updated hot version of Alfa Romeo’s C-segment family hatchback. First introduced as the Giulietta 1750 TBi in 2010 and face-lifted as the Qudrifoglio Verde – or QV – earlier this year, the Alfa hot hatch receives a 5BHP power hike, aluminium engine block and twin-clutch automated gearbox, all shared with Alfa’s compact mid-engine 4C halo sports car. Subtly revised, the face-lifted Giulietta QV will carry on the brand’s front-wheel-drive format into the next few years until plans for a rear-wheel-drive based line-up and upwards brand re-positioning take shape at Alfa Romeo.

Yet better looking when viewed up close, the Giulietta QV’s elegant lines, exquisite detail and deep rich red paint are best appreciated in the flesh. In person, the Giulietta QV’s sense of width also lends it a greater sense of presence, with the distance between its diamond-shaped headlights and slim trademark shield-like grille looking wider than photos suggest. Smooth, flowing and stylish, the Giulietta QV’s Shield-grill extends to a V-shaped bonnet ridge, while its waistline features subtle curves and its roofline gently slants towards its tailgate. With its elegant body design as a canvas, the Giulietta’s attention to detail makes it stand out further.

To celebrate the Giulietta nameplate’s 60th anniversary, the hot hatch version bears the brand’s iconic Quadrifoglio Verde – or Green Cloverleaf good luck charm – badge, which first appeared on an Alfa Romeo racer in 1923 on the first of ten Targa Florio race wins. Aside from Alfa Romeo’s awn distinctive and evocative brand emblem, the Giulietta’s attention to detail includes its sporty off-centre license plate and hidden rear door handles, positioned in the C-pillars for a coupe-like silhouette. Of two cars driven at Alfa Romeo’s Balocco proving grounds near Turin, the limited Launch Edition version featured particularly fetching matt grey five-spoke ‘phone dial’ style alloy wheels.

Powered by the same improved 1.75-litre turbocharged direct injection engine that Alfa Romeo 4C lightweight sports car inherited from the Giulietta 1750 TBi, the QV promises quite the prodigious punch for its engine size. Developing 137BHP at 5750rpm and also benefiting from a quick-shifting 6-speed dual clutch gearbox with a launch control feature, the QV can hold revs at 3750rpm before dropping the clutch and launching from standstill to 100km/h in 6-seconds dead – 0.8-seconds quicker than its predecessor. Producing 251lb/ft torque throughout 2000-4100rpm, the Giulietta QV can attain a 244km/h top speed, and returns 7l/100km combined fuel efficiency and 162g/km combined CO2 emissions.

While the Giulietta QV develops 80% of its maximum torque by 1800rpm for confident motorway cruising, it however seems to get lively for track driving duties in its’ mid-range, with a muscular surge beginning to build significantly by just before 3000rpm and all the way through to maximum power, during which on-the-move acceleration and high speed accumulation is brisk and confident. Refined and well insulated, the QV’s engine does however feature distant intake sounds to give it a sporting character. With high boost pressure the Giulietta QV delivers impressive 136BHP/litre specific power, 195Nm/litre specific torque, and muscularly capable top-end performance.

Eagerly muscular at high revs, the Giulietta QV is most rewardingly driven when one more accurately anticipates required gear change and throttle application and lift-off points owing to its highly boosted character. Approaching a corner during track driving, the Giulietta QV is most effective when one brakes just after throttle lift-off, as from full load, the highly boosted engine isn’t as quick to wind down as naturally-aspirated unit. Through corners, one should ensure a gear that keeps revs in the mid-range sweet spot for responsiveness and enough range to carry through the apex and onto the straight, and to avoid mid-corner down- or up-shifts.

Though shedding 20kg due to its aluminium alloy engine block, the Giulietta QV’s now mandatory dual clutch gearbox adds the same, and so its 1320kg weight goes unchanged. Also unchanged is the QV’s front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link chassis, which provides smooth, settled and forgiving ride characteristics. Agile, maneuverable and tidy when turning into and driving through corners on track, the Giulietta QV is a reassuring, adept and fun, but emphasizes real world usability over ultimate razor sharp at-the-limit reflexes. Steering feel and response is balanced between sporty and refined, while front Brembo and rear disc brakes are reassuringly effective in shedding speed.

Pushed to the edge of its handling envelope in a high speed track convoy led by the 4C sports car the QV’s electronic Q2 front differential works hard in countering creeping under-steer as it aggressively enters a tight corner, while its electronic stability controls soon release power to the driven front wheels to accelerate onto the straight. Fitted with Alfa Romeo’s DNA adaptive chassis and throttle selection system, the Giulietta’s body control and reflexes are best in the sharpest Dynamic mode. Comfortably smooth and reassuringly stable at high speed straight sand sweeping corners, the Giulietta QV has a refined and ‘grown up’ feel to it.

The Giulietta QV however excels inside, where its stylish, uncluttered and clean design is above the segment average. Materials include quality leathers with contrasting stitching, aluminium pedals, nicely padded surfaces and refined textures. Logical and intuitive layouts are mated with sporty cone-like instrumentation, chunky contoured flat-bottom steering wheel and Quadrifoglio Verde kickplates and centre console emblem. Cabin refinement and comfort are high, while seat and steering adjustability is accommodating. Seating position and visibility are similarly good, while high bolstered seats are supportive and comfortable. Generous equipment levels include an intuitive Uconnect infotainment system with voice recognition, text reader, audio streaming, USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde

  • Engine: 1.75-litre, all-aluminium, transverse turbocharged 4-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 83 x 80.5mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.25:1
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, variable valve timing, direct fuel injection
  • Gearbox: 6-speed automated dual-clutch, front-wheel-drive
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 237 (240) [177] @ 5,750rpm
  • Specific power: 136BHP/litre
  • Power -to-weight ratio: 179.5BHP/ton
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 251 (340) @ 2,000-4,100rpm
  • Specific torque: 201Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight ratio: 257.5Nm/ton
  • 0-100km/h: 6-seconds
  • Top speed: 244km/h
  • Fuel economy, urban / extra-urban / combined: 9.8 / 5.3 / 7-litres/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 162g/km
  • Fuel capacity: 60-litres
  • Length: 4,351mm
  • Width: 1,798mm
  • Height: 1,465mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,634mm
  • Boot capacity: 350-litres
  • Kerb weight: 1,320kg
  • Suspension, F/R: Modified MacPherson struts / multi-link, anti-roll bars
  • Steering: Power-assisted rack & pinion
  • Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs, 330mm / 278mm
  • Tires, F/R: 225/40R18