If you’ve read about cars for any length of time, you’ll begin to recognize all the ways writers try to describe how a car feels. It has some sort of human characteristic, or maybe it tells you about its own history. Sometimes, there are metaphors. But it all means the same thing. This car isn’t just a mechanically advantageous way of transporting you and your things, it’s alive. Maybe you’re skeptical of all this navel-gazing in car reviews – they’re just machines, after all. Well screw you, unimaginative straw man, I’m here to tell you every over-the-top analogy and tortured metaphor have been justified. Cars have all been made by Geppetto, and now they really are real boys. They all have souls and temperaments and opinions and can also become extensions of our undeserving bodies. I can tell you all of this because I recently drove 4 laps of a race track in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.
I drove the fastest of the new Giulias during a press event at Denver’s High Plains Raceway, along with a wide variety of other cars. Most of them were capable track tools, and all of them were fun. But only the Alfa had an electricity about it from the moment I touched the door handle. Everything you do in the car feels special. This isn’t the fastest car I’ve ever driven around a race track — hell, I suspect it wasn’t the fastest car I drove THAT DAY. It also isn’t the prettiest car, or the most expensive, or the most anything else. But here’s the thing: it is without question the best car I’ve ever driven. It’s also incredibly difficult to explain why.
Walking up to the Giulia, I wasn’t immediately certain it was a pretty car. It’s stunning, and you definitely won’t lose it in a parking lot of BMWs and Mercedes. But whether or not you find it attractive says more about you than the Giulia. Call it the Benedict Cumberbatch of cars. The interior is a different story. It won’t stand up to rigorous scrutiny, but I couldn’t care less. The things that really matter, the pedals, the steering wheel, the driving position, and oh god those shift paddles are all perfectly judged. Who cares if everything else shakes apart around you in 10,000 miles?
Any gripes you manage to come up with are forgiven once you’re moving. Pulling out on track, I immediately felt comfortable pushing the car. That confidence remained through the deep chills the first time I stomped on the brake pedal to activate the massive carbon-ceramics. Grabbing gears with those amazing aluminum paddles was a joy. The steering is just perfect. The balance is exactly where you want it. And the sensation of speed perfectly matched the amazing growl from the exhaust. Even when it moves around underneath you (and it will!), the confidence remains and you’re rewarded with an amazing bit of feedback through your seat. You have to be paying attention, but you will be because everything feels so damn great. An alien invasion could have happened right there at the track and I wouldn’t have noticed.
Honestly, I’m running out of ways to be effusive about the Giulia. But, we’re here, let’s give it a shot: I’ve never driven a car that is at once exciting, confidence inspiring, and challenging quite like this car. And now, I need to lie down for a little while.
For the full breakdown of our press day, you can listen to episode 96 of the TeamClearCoat podcast at all the podcast places, YouTube, or here: http://media.blubrry.com/teamclearcoat/files.teamclearcoat.com/podcasts/96-WeGetIt.mp3