Four modes induce wild mood swings

Mood swings in people aren’t fun to deal with, especially when emotions vary to a large degree. Mood swings in the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio are quite the opposite, giving the high-performance sports sedan a split personality that would make Dr. Jekyll envious. For the Giulia, the personality quirk is buried in its DNA – or rather Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency settings found on the rotary dial affixed to the center console. Yes, the Alfa has multiple personalities; that much is true. But to call it a personality disorder would be a great misdiagnosis.

See, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio uses this dial to call into action four wildly different driving modes, each with a particular feel and purpose. Each setting changes parameters like the steering and throttle response, transmission shift points, adaptive suspension, and the traction control system.

D, or Dynamic mode puts the car into a high-strung state with a firm suspension, itchy throttle, touchy brakes, heavily weighted steering, and a more boisterous exhaust note. This is preferred setting for spirited, on-road driving.

N, or Natural mode offers a more relaxed driving experience. Driver inputs are not as answered with lightening fast responses, but rather something equiviant to the speed of sound. Make no mistake, Natural mode is still taught, but not as direct as Dynamic. Nevertheless, this is the setting you’ll choose when driving grandma to bingo night.

A, or Advanced Efficiency takes Natural mode and combines it with cylinder deactivation. Yes, Alfa (with plenty of help from Ferrari) included the fuel-saving feature in this 2.9-liter V-6 with twin turbochargers and all-aluminum construction. The result is a smooth, nearly imperceptible transition from V-6 to V-4 modes when not under load. Aside from cylinder deactivation, the V-6 also uses an auto start/stop system to help conserve fuel at red lights. This is active in all DNA modes. The system is defeatable should you not prefer the engine cutting out while waiting on a green light.

But then there’s a fourth mode – Race. This mode activates an overboost function with the engine, enabling an increased torque limit. It also maximizes throttle response, while braking, steering, transmission, and suspension settings carry over from Dynamic mode. The traction control and stability control systems are fully switched off, making the car completely nanny-free.

Race mode is only recommended for on-track use with an experienced driver. Sadly, there is no in-between setting for the nannies – its either all or nothing. The DNA system also has another trick up its sleeve. The center button allows the suspension to enter “soft” mode, even when Dynamic or Race modes are selected.

Just like personality disorders found in people, Dr. Jekyll isn’t the only case of multiple personalities. The same holds true with the Alfa. The Giulia Quadrifoglio isn’t the first car with drive modes, but its particular system is certainly a standout in the compact sport sedan segment, just like the fictitious story of Dr. Jekyll some 130 years after it was penned.

Stay tuned to TopSpeed for more reviews on the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

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