What we’re driving: Alfa Romeo Giulia QV
What it costs: $143,900 list price (around $156,932 drive-away)
The Alfa Giulia QV is all about emotion. It’s an Italian dream machine, if you one night dreamt of a sedan, with sexy four-door styling mated to a highly-strung V6 engine developed by Ferrari.
After too long sitting on the underachiever’s list, the Giulia is the comeback car for Alfa Romeo in Australia and the QV flagship is the latest to wear the green four-leaf clover emblem that signifies something extra-special from Italy.
There are four models in the Giulia range, priced from $59,990 drive-away, but the QV’s crosshairs are centred on two of the best driver’s cars in Australia today: the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63.
At $143,900 the QV doesn't have the thumping V8 power of those would-be competitors, but it’s rapier sharp on a twisty road and its twin-turbo V6 is packed with brio.
On the outside
There's something about Italian design, and the Giulia has it. This curvy four-door sedan looks more like a coupe, particularly when lined up against its chunkier German rivals.
The compact body is shrink-wrapped around the important mechanical parts, including the oversized 19-inch alloys, with a bold nose and the Alfa badge set front-and-centre.
The cooling demands of the turbocharged engine means big scoops in the front end and, even with slimline headlamps, the only available space for the number plate is offset on the right-hand side.
Two pairs of shotgun exhaust tips dominate the rear view...
... with an aero diffuser tucked until the tail.
Under the bonnet
The engine in the Alfa is a cracker. It’s effectively three-quarters of the V8 used in the latest Ferrari 488, which means it snorts and howls and fires the car up the road.
There's a choice of four driving modes up to the Race package that translates to a slingshot sprint to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
An eight-speed automatic gearbox purrs through the city or punches into the country with gorgeous alloy paddles behind the steering wheel for manual shifts.
While lacking the grumpy thump of the V8s in its German rivals, the QV's sweet V6 has more than enough personality to make any trip an aural delight. It is genuinely one of the best engines on the road in 2018.
On the inside
The cabin of the QV is a contrast between old-school leather and new-age carbon fibre, but it’s a combination that works.
Climb into the race-style bucket seats and it's clear that the dash design hones its focus on the driver, who also enjoys a steering wheel with carbon fibre highlights and a big red Start button – although the slim infotainment screen is much smaller than those of its German rivals.
Eye-catching trim marries red stitching to black leather, and even the back seats are well shaped for a couple of adults.
On the road
Any drive in the Giulia QV is a fun run. Dribble around town and you can enjoy the fruity exhaust note, the positive bite of the front tyres through the steering wheel, and surprisingly compliant suspension.
Unlike the German motors, which can be too thumpy over slow-speed bitumen acne, the Alfa is always smooth and plush for a sports sedan.
It also shines in the country, where the balance between the chassis grip and the engine power is just about perfect.
You're encouraged to play, to hustle through twisty bits without fear and then slingshot down the straight with the brilliant V6 symphony playing in the background.
There's a lot to like about the Giulia QV, and even more to love. This Italian antidote to an overdose of German performance cars is a cracking good drive, packed with emotion and is easily fast enough for whatever you ask of it.