Our impressions after 500 miles of mixed driving

The 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is undoubtedly in a league of its own. This high-performance sedan enjoys an exceptionally light curb weight, a 505-horsepower V-6 with twin turbos, carbon fiber body parts, and a racing heritage that would make any historian proud.

Now as Alfa Romeo makes its long-awaited come-back into the U.S. for the 2017 model year, we got the privilege of spending a week with an early model Giulia Quadrifoglio – even before dealership had access. For those who might not know, the Giulia is Alfa’s compact sedan contender, competing against the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Quadrifoglio designation is revered in racing legend as the premium performance model. Think of Quadrifoglio as Alfa’s version of the M division or AMG outfit.

Back story aside, we had plenty to discover with the Giulia Quadrifoglio. One of the biggest stand-outs during our week-long press loan was the brakes. However, not for a particularly good reason. Our tester came fitted with the standard Brembo brakes rather than the optional carbon ceramics. These big Brembos feature 14.2-inch front and 13.8-inch rear rotors. Both are clamped with four-piston aluminum monoblock calipers. Cross-drilled holes help keep the high-performance pads in contact with the rotor, while helping dissipate heat.

When it comes to stopping hard from speed, the Brembos work amazingly. The Quadrifoglio holds straight as an arrow with almost no nosedive. The Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, measuring 245/35ZR19 up front and 285/30ZR19 in back, are extremely sticky and prevent squirming or skidding. The ABS only activates should there be any loose pebbles or dirt on the road surface. The possibility of experiencing fade on public roads is a joke. And with a confirmed lap time around the Nürburgring of 7:32, it’s a sure bet even the Green Hell couldn’t induce the debilitating reduction in braking power. (Though admittedly, Alfa surely used the optional carbon ceramic bakes for the ‘Ring.)

However, there’s a price to pay. The Brembos are rather touchy around town. The brake pedal has a surprisingly short range of motion. A quick check with a measuring tape showed only 1.5 inches through the travel. This leads to a sensitive pedal that is hard to smoothly modulate at low speeds, especially when stuck in traffic. Despite the most careful of tries, the car produces a head-bobbing stop nearly every time. Brake feel and the ability to modulate the pedal is perfectly fine at highway speeds, however.

This is only a chink in the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s impressive armor and could be considered nit-picky by some. Other owners might not be so forgiving.

Stay tuned to TopSpeed for more upcoming stories on the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

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