The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a Cheat

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio made landfall earlier this year and and has laid waste to all competitors in it's class. It's a lightweight (sort of) sport sedan packing a 2.9 liter twin-turbo V6 producing 505 horsepower and sends all 443 lbs ft of torque through a ZF 8-speed automatic to the rear wheels. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio can be optioned with carbon ceramic brakes, carbon bucket seats. It's comfortable. It's fast. And it's a damn cheater.

The Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio is so fast that it rips to 60 MPH from a stand still in blistering 3.8 seconds. Yes, yes, Tesla P something’something D. Moving on. Keep the right foot down and the Alfa crosses the quarter mile in about 12 seconds flat at 120 MPH, too. But nobody cares about drag racing. Let’s talk about lap times.

This is when panties start getting wet. Looking at some of the quicker Nurburgring laps we have the BMW E92 M3 GTS at 7’48”. A little quicker is the Porsche 911 GT3, 997.2, at 7’41”. The Nissan GTR Spec-V did a 7’34”. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, piloted by Alfa Romeo and Maserati test driver, Fabio Francia, lapped a 7’39” and then supposedly followed up with a 7’32” with the automatic transmission. That’s faster than the Audi R8 GT, Lexus LF-A and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera. You can watch the video here.

If you wanted a car capable of besting the Giulia Quadrifoglio around the Green Hell, you could do it in a million dollar Porsche Carrera GT. If that’s not in your reach, try for the McLaren MP4-12C or the latest Porsche 911 GT3 RS. None of which are well suited for a trip to Kroger. Or Shoppers, if that’s your bag.

“What is this SORCERY”, you might ask? Rubber.

It’s all in the tires. Repeat after me. It. Is. All. In. The. Tires.

The secret weapon was to rock a tire specifically designed for the car by Pirelli, knowing damn well they were pulling one over on their customers.

Alfa Romeo worked closely with Pirelli to design competition tires for the Giulia Quadrifoglio.

Alfa knew what they were doing. They needed the Giulia Quadrifoglio to light heads on fire. The secret weapon was to rock a tire specifically designed for the car by Pirelli, knowing damn well they were pulling one over on their customers. And not just any tire. They needed a cheater tire. Sure, it’s there printed right on the spec sheet but most buyers don’t know the wiser.

Giving credit where due, most automotive outlets will state that it has fancy tires but they do not clearly express just how important they are. By the time the reader skips to the performance and test results, the thought had passed.

Pirelli designed the P Zero Corsa AR Asimmetrico exclusively for this car. See that “AR” designation in the name. Guess what that stands for.

Let’s use Tire Rack’s tire tests for study. Many tires they test against groups of other similar tires. They test things like lateral Gs, road noise, steering response and dry and wet lap times. There are performance summer tires that lap the course in 31 seconds and there are performance summer tires that lap it in 29. So if the gap is 2 seconds for every 31 seconds on course, on the ‘Ring that would slow a 7:30 second car to over 8 minutes.

And that is the potential difference just between similar performance street tires. The gap could and would likely grow greater if the comparison was with the Pirelli P Zero Corsa AR and a tire that comes on one of the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s so-called competitors, such as the BMW M3 Competition Package or Cadillac ATS-V.

So while you Giulia owners and fanboys might argue it’s a “street tire” because it comes on a car that’s driven on public highways, they’re wrong. It’s not a street tire. What the Pirelli P Zero Corsa AR Asimmetrico is, is a street legal race tire with a 60 UTQG rating. You can read more on UTQG here.

The P Zero Corsa AR Asimmetrico comes with just 6/32nds of tread depth. This reduces squirm in the tread blocks for better response and heats up the tire quicker. Tire Rack labels it “Streetable Track and Competition tire” followed with a WARNING. “P Zero Corsa System radials meet DOT requirements, however they are not recommended for driving in wet conditions where standing water is present and there is the risk of hydroplaning; drivers should drive cautiously at reduced speeds if they encounter these conditions.”

That doesn’t sound like a tire I’d want on any car I would consider taking on a road trip.

Before you call me a hater of some sort, let me clear this up by saying I would gladly purchase an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. I simply can’t afford one. Maybe second hand down the road if they prove reliable, and after my E92 M3 is paid off (and begins to bore me).

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio power slide
The torque of the 2.9 liter twin turbo engine puts even the stickiest of tires to work when mounted on a 3,700 lb sedan.

I’m going to take this another step. If you’re at all familiar with time trials, or “time attacks” as the kids call them. I call them that too. Then you might have known that most all venues restrict street cars to a specific width (285 is typical for RWD) and 200 UTQG rated tires or higher. Why?

BECAUSE IT’S A GOD DAMN STREET CAR. And the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is not a fucking race car. It’s a street car with an automatic transmission, navigation, comfortable power seats and back seats for children or your in-laws (not recommended).

Just watch. Soon Giulia owners will be out replacing their tires with actual street tires because they want to drive a sport sedan every day like a normal human being. And suddenly the car doesn’t handle the same.

Earlier this week Motor Trend placed the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio against the BMW M3 Competition Package at Thunderhill Raceway. Thunderhill is a 2 mile road course with some great corners and high speeds that should have highlighted the Giulia Quadrifoglio and it’s cheater tires. Only the Alfa didn’t win. But in all fairness, neither did the BMW M3. Both turned a 1:23.89.

What’s interesting is that the BMW M3 Competition Package uses 300 UTQG rated Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and has a 40 horsepower deficit. So, no, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio isn’t king sport sedan. Fuck you, Alfa.

About the author

Josh Taylor is a tuner car enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge gained from owning over two dozen dual-duty performance cars including the likes of the legendary NSX, along with Corvette, M3’s and Z cars. Each car saw track time and grocery bags. Some saw magazines and trophies.

Find Josh on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

  • Ike

    Some one seems a little pissed their BMW lost to a italian

    • I don’t particularly like the new M3/4 whatever with their turbo nonsense. So, nope.

  • William Byrd

    As a potential buyer, I would want multiple tire options. Magazines could (would likely) still test it using the higher spec rubber, as part of a comp package or whatever Alfa would call it, but owners would have tires that actually work in the rain and take longer to wear. If they so choose.

    As far as cheating, Alfa sold the car wearing a tire, the car got tested using that tire. That ain’t cheatin. Whether owners will get pissed over time, we’ll see, but any car company could do the same thing. If they so choose.

  • Justin Hughes

    Tires really are everything. My BRZ, on its stock tires, was the opposite extreme. Narrow, slippery tires made it slide all over the place – a plus for the drift crowd, but a minus for me. They seriously held the car back from reaching its potential. If they’d given it wider, grippier rubber it would’ve done much better on lap times and in the comparisons. Might even have beat the Miata in the 1/4 mile.

    On the flip side, the new WRX comes on Dunlop Sport Maxx tires. Summer tires, and the cars are quite popular in the snow belt. That definitely helps its warm weather performance a bit and boosts the numbers, but holds it back when conditions get slippery – conditions that the WRX was made to conquer.

  • Pingback: The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a Cheat()