Do Nürburgring lap times matter? Plenty of enthusiasts think they do and will even base their next car buy after studying the records recorded on the German track that winds through the Eifel Mountains. Alfa Romeo thinks so, too, especially since its new Giulia Quadrifoglio, the performance version of its new midsize luxury sports sedan (the one with a Ferrari-derived twin-turbocharged engine) ripped around the fabled Nordschleife in 7 minutes 39 seconds, a new world record for a production sedan.
Now let me, for a moment representing the non-enthusiasts, ask a dumb question: When it takes almost as long to get around a track as it does to listen to Prince’s epic track “Purple Rain,” do a few extra seconds make any difference at all to those of us who live in the real world?
Alfa, you already had me (and others who think Nordschleife is something you order with pretzels and beer) at “Ferrari-derived.”
Carrying such quality credentials, the Giulia Quadrifoglio (which is currently slated to arrive in the summer of 2016, but who really knows?) takes aim at such track-ready sport sedans like the BMW M3, Cadillac ATS-V, and Mercedes-Benz AMG C63. Though Alfa felt it necessary to bring out its big gun for its first take on the establishment, the Italian maker will follow the Quadrifoglio with tamer versions of the Giulia equipped with a 276-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an optional all-wheel-drive system.
The Quadrifoglio comes well-armed with a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine, generating 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque that twists through a six-speed manual gearbox and carbon-fiber driveshaft to the rear wheels. Alfa claims the Quadrifoglio can run from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 191 mph — those are serious performance numbers that best some of the segment’s benchmarks.
Additional performance upgrades include the expected: rear torque vectoring technology, Brembo performance brakes, a two-mode sport exhaust, an adaptive damping suspension, staggered width 19-inch performance tires on a choice of four different wheel designs. Drivers can use the Alfa DNA Pro system to select between Advanced Efficiency, Natural, Dynamic, and Race driving modes, while a Chassis Domain Control system optimizes the suspension, torque vectoring differential, and stability control to ensure maximum performance capability.
Key to that record at the ’Ring was the car’s light weight (according to Alfa Romeo it’s distributed evenly between the front and rear axles), with the added lightness coming from a carbon-fiber hood, roof, rear spoiler, and active aero front splitter, which can supply up to 220 pounds of additional downforce at speed. Speaking of which, the Quadrifoglio averaged 90 mph on its record lap, and if you think that’s no big deal — heck, you averaged 90 mph on your last run from L.A. to Vegas — then take a trip to online videoland and catch a few of the many filmed laps of the Nordschleife to see just how challenging 14 miles can be.
But, let’s get back to reality: The driver sits in performance-bolstered seats facing an asymmetric dashboard, simple and legible white-on-black analog instrumentation, and what Alfa Romeo says is an F1-inspired steering wheel (thankfully without the six dozen or so buttons). Appropriately, a red engine start button ignites the muscular twin-turbo V6.
Standard appointments are, of course, of a premium level, including leather with Alcantara inserts and genuine aluminum and carbon-fiber interior trim. Five different color combinations will help the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s moneyed buyers get just the car they wanted. For those who might want to make the trek to a track (you can rent laps at the Nordschleife!), planned options include Sparco racing seats with a carbon-fiber shell.
At its expected lofty price point, the Quadrifoglio is fitted with a range of convenience, infotainment, and driver assistance technologies. One feature included with the available high-resolution, gesture-recognition, 8.8-inch touchscreen display with 3-D navigation system is technology that allows the owner to track real-time performance metrics.
After all, bragging rights matter, even if by just a few seconds on the ’Ring, and even if it’s just your personal time from LA. to Vegas.
For more information, options, and pricing, please visit our 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio page on AutoWeb’s search and configure site.
Photo Credit © FCA