Somehow, Jalopnik's 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Didn't Break Down, But It Sure Wasn't Exactly Perfect

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Jalopnik published its review of the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (man, Quadrifoglio takes forever to type) and the world discovered that Jalopnik’s Giulia did not require a tow truck.

That sounds terribly sarcastic, but we wouldn’t be compelled to point out the relative reliability of Jalopnik’s Giulia Quadrifoglio (my goodness, Quadrifoglio takes forever to type) if Giulias hadn’t failed so miserably at other prominent publications in the recent past.

Jalopnik’s 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio didn’t struggle with remote starts, spend time getting fixed at a dealer, stall while parking, or die in traffic. Bless its thumping Italian heart. But Jalopnik’s Giulia Quadrifoglio was far from perfect. Editor-in-chief Patrick George says he doesn’t care: “I am willing to do what the Alfisti have done for decades and chalk up most of its flaws to that thing that is so elusive in modern cars: character.”

But George told me yesterday, “It’s not weirdo enthusiasts like me that Alfa Romeo has to convince. It’s normal folks who might otherwise buy a BMW or a Lexus.”

“And they’re not going to put up with these issues.”

Car And Driver’s Giulia Quadrifoglio (I will never learn to type that quickly) died following a remote start on more than one occasion.

Consumer Reports’ Alfa Romeo Giulia, a car Consumer Reports bought and paid for, has spent so much time at the dealer that editors aren’t getting seat time in the car.

After Motor Trend encountered no reliability issues with two Giulia Quadrifoglios, a third Giulia “died in traffic, leaving one of our senior staffers blocking the road until the flatbed arrived.” A fourth Giulia, Motor Trend says, “showed off its Italian heritage by stalling randomly during a photo shoot.”

As for Jalopnik’s Giulia Quadrifoglio press car example, “The inside is rife with rough and cheap-feeling plastic, not to mention a persistent rattle from the dash plagued us on our weeklong test.” While the optional seats are nicely bolstered and comfortable, “they feel cut-rate and have a bizarre wiggle every time someone sits on them.” George wrote about troubles with the infotainment unit, too. “At one point the audio from the stereo and nav directions stopped working entirely until I restarted at a traffic light.”

TTAC hasn’t yet had an opportunity to test and review an Alfa Romeo Giulia. (Constant coverage of Alfa reliability woes experienced by other publications isn’t increasing the chances of a Quadrifoglio landing in my driveway.) And we wouldn’t suggest that vehicle reliability studies should be conducted based on a handful of vehicles. But if the quality woes experienced in press cars is deemed by the reader to be invalid because of the small sampling size, should verdicts rendered on other aspects of the car likewise be appraised as baseless?

If car reviewers are supposed to ignore the fact that, for example, Jalopnik’s Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio featured a persistent dash rattle made worse by aggressive driving and rougher roads near their Bear Mountain State Park photo location, should the steering Patrick George described as “among the best I’ve encountered” also be ignored?

After all, if it’s just the one car being tested that suffers from quality woes, then it’s just the one car that has excellent steering, intoxicating engine noises, a smooth ZF eight-speed automatic with lightning quick shifts, and tremendous carbon ceramic Brembo brake stopping power. The Alfa booster will posit that the Giulia’s reliability/quality issues we’ve heard so much about won’t necessarily carry forward to all consumer-directed Alfas. But if that’s true, wouldn’t we have to believe that all the Giulia Quadrifoglio test specimens’ positive characteristics may not, either?

Of course not. A car review should represent a comprehensive viewpoint.

Patrick George clearly enjoyed driving the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. If I’m afforded the opportunity to test a Giulia Quadrifoglio, it’s safe to assume I’ll double my weekly mileage average on unnecessary coastal drives and pointless roundabout laps. I may even learn to type Quadrifoglio in fewer than 15 seconds.

The 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio battles the usual German suspects “with a Ferrari-derived turbocharged engine and some of the best driving dynamics you can find in this class,” George writes. Unfortunately, the Giulia also enters that battle “with a series of letdowns you might expect from Alfa Romeo.”

Those expectations are not high.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

Timothy Cain
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  • ChiTownCarGuy ChiTownCarGuy on Apr 26, 2017

    I've loved the Giulia since seeing it at the Chicago Auto Show, and have been happy to see dealer stock finally improving. I was enthusiastically preparing to lease one this summer until seeing this and similar articles about reliability/quality problems. But if you want to see another red flag, check out the lease terms being offered by Alfa. They are setting residual value at 48% on 36 mo. deals. Obviously not a vote of confidence. Passing the risk of low resale values onto customers has spooked me even worse. Audi, Infiniti, Jaguar and the other competing brands set residuals at 54% and up (Jaguar has a special going on XE's at 62%!). Alfa obviously not willing to bet on its own vehicles. ☹️

  • Ra_pro Ra_pro on Jul 20, 2017

    Fiat is going to loose money on each car sold, no question about it even with residuals at 48%. That's not a problem if they manage to built a reputation. But I am afraid of the opposite they are going to loose money and destroy their reputation or whatever is left of it. They just don't get a simple fact of life; in Europe the distances are short and one has plenty of friends/acquaintances leaving nearby, getting a lift is not a problem. This doesn't exist in North America, people cannot afford to loose a car for a day or a week. That's the crucial difference; in Europe unreliable car is just a car with character to most, in NA it's a piece of shit not worth a gamble. Once Fiat understands this and produces their cars accordingly it will do fine. But it appears that hasn't happened so far.

  • Daniel J Locally they just passed new/stricter hands free laws. Without mirroring, hands free is pretty difficult with Mazda's older infotainment system. So yeah, it's pretty important. I passed on buying a Camry back in 2018 because they didn't support AA at the time.
  • Bd2 I use my smartphone as a mirror to check my hair and contact lenses in the morning if that's what you're asking
  • 1995 SC I have it in one car. My other just has a normal Bluetooth connection. The later just works. I can take or leave car play at this point.
  • Buickman OnStar for me.
  • Fred My 2020 Fit has a great phone pairing system and Andriod Auto. However I never use AA and rarely pair my phone through BT. I listen to FM and have an old school XM receiver with a strong transmitter that I use daily.
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