We’re quite certain we don’t need to tell you the stereotypes surrounding exotic Italian cars. All our motoring lives, we’re brought up to believe that they are the epitome of shoddiness – that Italian sportscars are finicky, temperamental, undependable, and expensive to mend.
As much as it might want to prove such stereotypes myth, since its 2014 re-launch in North America, Fiat Chrysler’s premium Alfa Romeo brand has already been observed carrying on in that tradition too many times for comfort.
Writing for Road & Track, Editor-at-Large Sam Smith recounted the tale of his disappointing track day outing in an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio – Alfa’s high-achieving, top-spec sedan, which set a new lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife for production four-door automobiles. The car, he wrote, failed to give him even a single complete lap at Michigan’s 2.21-mile Gingerman Raceway road course; it kept throwing check-engine lights and automatically jumping from Race mode back to Normal.
Road & Track could just have gotten a lemon, of course, so Mr. Smith consulted the experiences of other publications. Many of them, too, had issues with the Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Handily, Jalopnik kept a list, noting that Consumer Reports‘ Giulia had gone to the dealer for servicing three times since it was purchased, and The Sunday Times, where Jeremy Clarkson has a column, went through three Giulia sedans. The publication also took note of Pistonheads‘ press car, which broke down during a three-way comparison test, and Motor Trend‘s example, which failed to make it up a gentle driveway after one wheel left the ground.
On top of that, Jalopnik‘s own Michael Ballaban was stranded on the side of the road when the Alfa Romeo Giulia he was driving simply decided it didn’t feel much like running any more. Motor Authority, like Road & Track, also had issues trying to drive the car at the racetrack. And finally, Car and Driver has had three separate issues with its three individual Giulia press cars: one dropped into a low-power efficiency mode whenever the remote start was used, refusing to be switched into another drive mode; one refused to rev up to redline at the racetrack; and one had a sunroof that jammed open.
All of these separate, very different, issues highlight the unfortunate possibility that Alfa Romeo’s current production cars – and in particular, the Giulia – can’t be trusted to work reliably. Worse, the broad variance in the sorts of issues encountered can’t be traced back to a single part or fault, condemning instead the entire machine, no matter how brilliantly visceral or pleasurable to drive it is.
For what it’s worth, we had an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio to test for a week, and encountered no issues of any sort (apart from a punctured tire, which obviously can’t be blamed on the car). What’s more, we can confirm that it represents a positively sublime driving experience, and you should sell whatever four-wheeled, petrol-powered machine you currently have to make a downpayment.
Just don’t do anything that might void the warranty.