Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA

540hp Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA turns the QV up to 11

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA 2020 Geneva

Alfa Romeo has revealed the thrilling new Giulia GTA online in place of a physical unveil at the now-cancelled 2020 Geneva Motor Show.

Based on the popular Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde (QV) super saloon, it turns this Italian super exec up to eleven, with more horsepower, less weight, and a track-oriented focus that’s spoiling for a punch-up with the Jaguar Project 8

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA

A faster version of the already ballistic Giulia has long been rumoured. So what does the GTA bring to the table?

In Alfa lore, GTA means exclusivity, racing provenance, and reduced weight. It also means jaw-dropping muscular Italian looks.

ALSO SEE: Great Motoring Disasters – Alfa Romeo 156

The standard car wasn’t exactly timid, but a healthy smothering of arch extensions and carbon aero addenda have upped the snarl. 

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA 2020 Geneva

Those arch extensions have pushed the new 20-inch centre-lock wheels out by 50mm, while re-engineered suspension keeps it rigid in the corners.

Wider would ordinarily mean heavier, but the Giulia GTA uses carbon fibre extensively, for the arches, driveshaft, bonnet, roof and front bumper. The ‘A’ in ‘GTA’ does stand for Allegerita, or ‘lightened’, after all. 

It’s not all talk and diet, either. The GTA comes with added muscle, up to 540hp, from its revised Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine.

Acoustics also come improved courtesy of a bespoke Akrapovic exhaust system, exiting through the centre of the giant new rear diffuser.

Giulia GTAm – look out, Jaguar Project 8

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA 2020 Geneva

While we all thought Jaguar was slightly mad in lopping out the rear seats and adding a big wing to its small executive saloon, Alfa was clearly impressed.

So the GTAm is the Italian Project 8, with the rear seats junked in exchange for a roll bar, racing fronts and six-point harnesses to go with. 

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA

Out back, there’s a nice chunky wing to go with the diffuser on the GTAm, again taking the fight right to the Project 8. The windows are framed with Lexan polycarbonate to get the weight down even more, for a total weight of (around) 1,520kg for the GTAm.

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA 2020 Geneva

While it’s down on power compared with the big Jag – there’s no increase compared with the 540hp ‘normal’ GTA – it’s also very much lighter, by over 200kg.

62mph arrives in just 3.6 seconds thanks to the launch control system, though we wonder if it’ll match the QV’s top end of 191mph with all that new aero. We expect that the GTAm might gun for the Jag’s dubious four-door Nurburgring record very soon.

GTA – the ultimate in exclusivity

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA 2020 Geneva

GTA is the Alfa Romeo equivalent of GTO for Ferrari. It’s an integral part of the brand’s legend and as such, the new car will be very exclusive.

Just 500 will be made, numbered and certified. Each car will come with a personal experience package, including a special Bell helmet in a GTA livery, full race suit loves and shoes, and a Goodwool car cover.

If they so desire, customers can get involved in a driving course with the Alfa Romeo Driving Academy.

Get your orders in quick if you want a slice. With just 500 to be made, it’s more exclusive than the V8-powered 8C supercar of 2007.

As for price, no pound figure has been mentioned yet. But, given the modifications and limited numbers, expect the price to rival the six-figure Project 8, too…

Rare Alfa Romeo owned by Mussolini is unearthed

Mussolini's Alfa Romeo is being restored

Classic and vintage car restoration specialist Thornley Kelham has begun work on a 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport once owned by Benito Mussolini. 

If that name doesn’t ring a bell, he was the dictator in charge of Italy around the time it aligned with Hitler and Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Mussolini's Alfa Romeo is being restored

Thornley Kelham’s research has turned up an image, found in the Archivio Luce, Cinecitta’s main archive in Italy. Taken in April 1931, it shows Mussolini driving the car, and was found alongside film footage of him using it on a rally.

This material is being used as a reference for restoration. By enlarging and enhancing one of the period photos, they were able to ascertain that the car wore Stabilimenti Farina coachwork.

In period, chassis were built and sent off to be bodied by one of a number of coachbuilders, of which Farina was one. The car was at some point modified for racing, into a stripped-down style.

Much of the bodywork was removed following the car’s move to Asmara with its next owner, Renato Tigillo, in 1937. It’s believed he used it for hillclimb racing, which was common in the region at the time.

Mussolini's Alfa Romeo is being restored

On inspection, the car bore very little resemblance to the original, with few of its authentic panels and an different grille fitted. We’d describe its current condition as ‘fascinatingly dilapidated’.

The chassis, engine and transmission are original, however. Thornley Kelham now plans to return it to its early 1930s condition, as when Mussolini drove it.

Several thousand hours of fabrication, engineering and assembly will be required by the company’s team of skilled technicians. 

Mussolini's Alfa Romeo is being restored

“We’ve undertaken many challenging restorations here at Thornley Kelham but this Alfa Romeo presents us with perhaps our greatest test to date,” said Simon Thornley, company co-founder.

“Over the course of its extraordinary life, it has been graced with a beautiful hand-crafted body from Stabilimenti Farina, owned and piloted by one of the world’s most (in)famous dictators, and stripped out for motorsport and raced on the streets of North Africa. 

“Our challenge now is to restore it to the condition it first left Stabilimenti Farina’s carrozzeria, based on further painstaking research and thousands of hours of expert craftsmanship. Automotive history like this has to be preserved, and we are delighted to be involved in the latest page in its amazing story.”

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review: the closest thing to a Ferrari SUV

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

‘Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio’. Does any new car boast a more richly evocative name? Alfa Romeo you know: it’s the visionary Disco Volante, voluptuous 33 Stradale, Targa Florio road race and Dustin Hoffman fleeing Mrs Robinson in a red Spider Duetto. The Stelvio Pass, meanwhile, is one of the world’s great roads, a pulse-spiking ribbon of tarmac with more hairpins than Toni and Guy. And ‘Quadrifoglio’? That’s Italian for four-leaf clover, the good-luck symbol worn by Alfa Romeos since 1923.

Lest we forget, Alfa has also dished up plenty of disappointment over the decades. Cars like the 1983 Arna hatchback, a marriage of dowdy Japanese design and indifferent Italian build quality. Or the 2005 Brera, an exotic-looking coupe that was about as exciting as Ed Sheeran. Don’t get me started on rust, either. Even Alfa’s great cars – and there have been many – used to dissolve at the merest hint of humidity.

Back to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Affixing such a glorious name to the portly posterior of an SUV seems a recipe for Alfisti anguish. However, this isn’t just any school-run SUV. Behind that shield-shaped grille lurks a 510hp 2.9-litre V6 – a cut-down Ferrari engine, no less. You’ll also find carbon-ceramic brake discs and (optional) hard-shell carbon bucket seats. Oh, and it has a drive mode labelled ‘RACE’. Things are looking up already.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

The Stelvio shares most of its oily bits with the Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon, with one crucial difference: four-wheel drive. That helps catapult this 1,830kg family car to 62mph in 3.8 seconds – and lap the Nurburgring in a scorching 7min 51.8sec. Among SUVs, only the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S has gone quicker. Indeed, the muscle-Merc and Porsche Macan Turbo are arguably the Stelvio’s only real rivals.

From the outside, there’s no doubting the Quadrifoglio’s sporting intent. Spidery 20-inch alloys fill its stretched wheelarches and four meaty tailpipes jut from its rear diffuser. Inside, those £3,250 Sparco seats, trimmed in Alcantara with red stitching, lift an otherwise mediocre cabin. There are far too many cheap plastics for a £70,000 car, while the fiddly infotainment system feels at least a generation behind the Germans. However, a recent facelift – UK cars will arrive soon – does improve matters here. 

Prod the red starter button, pull the slender aluminium paddle and you’re away. The engine sounds undernourished at first, but its note hardens into a salacious snarl as the revs rise, punctuated by pops from the exhausts. And by God, it’s quick. An almighty wallop of turbocharged torque has it rocketing to the redline as swiftly as you can grab the next gear. This, for now, is the closest you’ll get to that much-mooted Ferrari SUV.

While the rear-driven Giulia is inclined to go sideways at the merest flick of a right ankle, the 4WD Stelvio – with its quick steering, punchy gearbox and sharp brakes – feels tenaciously tied-down. It bites into apices more aggressively than many sports cars, the usual SUV body-roll all but banished. For an average driver like me, it’s certainly a faster car than the Giulia: safer, more confidence-inspiring and perhaps more rewarding as a result. I’m not sure even the Macan matches it for B-road thrills.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

The trade-off for such iron-fisted focus is a ride that’s brittle at best, downright uncomfortable at worst. Even in its more relaxed drive modes – selectable via Alfa’s usual ‘DNA’ dial – the Quadrifoglio is arguably too unforgiving for a family car. You’ll be having a blast while your partner calls the chiropractor.

After a week behind the wheel, I’ve rather fallen for this flawed Italian firecracker. It’s a heart-over-head purchase, in true Alfa Romeo tradition. Most will prefer the more rounded appeal of rivals, but the Stelvio has a bombastic charm all its own.

Price: £70,900

0-62mph: 3.8sec

Top speed: 176mph

CO2 G/KM: 222

MPG combined: 28.8

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio: in pictures

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Sorry, Greta: driving slowly in a Giulia Quadrifoglio really sucks

I might be the first person on earth to take any notice of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’s fuel economy figure. It’s an irrelevance. As meaningful as an energy efficiency sticker on an American-style fridge freezer.

The hot Alfa’s performance figures are far cooler. Top speed: 191mph. Zero to 62mph: 3.9 seconds. Horsepower: 510 at 6,500rpm. Torque: 442lb ft at 2,500rpm. Numbers that once upon a time would have been strong enough to elevate a supercar to bedroom wall poster status.

The figures look great on paper, but reports suggest that they’re even better when translated to asphalt. I’ve never had the pleasure. The Giulia Quadrifoglio remained on the bucket list, sandwiched between dinner with Keeley Hawes and tackling Route 66 in an AMC Eagle.

I can tick one of those off the list. I haven’t left the country and Keeley won’t return my calls, so that leaves the Giulia Quadrifoglio. A chance to see what all the fuss is about. Where should I go? The Brecon Beacons? Scotland? The Yorkshire Dales? Nope, a business park in Bristol was my destination, within earshot of the M4 and a stone’s throw from Screwfix. Great.

The Alfa was one of 21 cars taking part in the inaugural WLTP Challenge: a driving event designed to prove the effectiveness of the new standardised fuel economy test procedure. In theory, WLTP should be more reflective of real-world driving conditions, rather than the old NEDC figures, which were about as truthful as a party political broadcast.

In the sterile surroundings of a car park in Bristol, the Alfa stood out like a pimple on an adolescent’s face, and not just because of its Competizione Red paint. The other vehicles were, for the most part, designed to be driven by people who nod in agreement to callers to the Jeremy Vine show and live out their days eating carrot cake in garden centre cafes.

Cars built with WLTP regulations in mind. Cars that don’t wear Quadrifoglio badges.

Go rogue or go home

Alfa Romeo Giulia WLTP Challenge

It’s at this point that I should tell you that the Giulia Quadrifoglio has a WLTP figure of 27.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of 206g/km. Not too shabby for a four-door saloon powered by a Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged engine. The mission was to meet or exceed that figure over a 220-mile route designed to ‘simulate a typical journey for an employee driving on company business’.

This meant a visit to a Starbucks, lunch at an office block in the West Midlands, a visit to one of those sex shops on the A1, and half an hour in a layby to watch the highlights of the En-ger-land match on YouTube. I skipped the last two, primarily because I may have made them up.

The organisers were at pains to point out that the cars should be driven ‘in a normal way’ to reflect real-world motoring. Looking back, this should have been my invitation to drive the Alfa in the manner a 510hp real-wheel-drive manic saloon should be driven, but fearing for my next freelance commission, I towed the line.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio at Starbucks

What followed was an incredibly frustrating and at times tedious day behind the wheel. Hypermiling can be rewarding, but not, in turns out, when you’re popping your Giulia cherry. The temptation to ‘go rogue’ was ever present – after all, I might not get another opportunity with the fiery Italian.

Wales looked more appealing than lunch in Walsall, while Castle Combe offered greater riches than a slow crawl through the Cotswolds. But the car was being tracked and monitored by a team of big brothers, so I knew that it wouldn’t be long before I was hunted down by a crack crew of environmentalists and shipped home in the back of a Prius.

Skinny lattes and Greta scores

Having prepared for an eco drive, I knew what was required to show the electric, hybrid and diesel vehicles a thing or two about sipping fuel. A skinny latte was ordered to save weight, before I killed the air conditioning, left the optional Harman Kardon sound theatre turned off, and switched my right foot to featherlight mode. Time to spank the economy drive, or something.

Momentum is the key. Every time the car stops, you’ll waste precious fuel getting up to speed. Roundabouts and traffic lights require careful consideration if you’re to avoid stopping, while maintaining a safe distance to the car in front is the key to avoiding any unwanted braking.

Tipping its coppola to Extinction Rebellion, the Giulia features a couple of displays designed to get the most out of the tiny 58-litre fuel tank. One is an eco rating, which monitors your acceleration, braking and gear changes to deliver a kind of ‘Greta score’. At one point, this was as high as 91, although it’s mildly amusing that the system awards its own eight-speed automatic transmission the full 100 points.

Eco rating in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

The other is an economy gauge nestled below the dials, which features a sliding scale of fuel consumption. Coast downhill and it shoots to the right; climb a hill and it disappears off to the left.

Hills are the enemy of an eco drive. Twenty miles of hard work can be undone by the slightest incline, sending Greta into a tailspin and putting the nearest petrol station on full alert. Dab the throttle before you climb to give yourself a fighting chance of staying green.

Motorways, on the other hand, are where all your earth dreams come true. Sticking to a steady 60mph saw the Giulia display a rather optimistic 44.1mpg, although this – along with my spirits – dropped as I ventured off the M5 and into the West Midlands. By lunchtime, I had had my fill of eco driving, and not even a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich could lift the mood. Forget WLTP FTW, this was more like WLTP FML.

Home before bedtime?

The route back to Bristol included tortuous motorway traffic and a drive through the Cotswolds on roads that should feel superb in a Giulia Quadrifoglio. Fast sweeping bends, glorious views, wide roundabout exits and long straights combined to create a natural habit for a rear-wheel-drive saloon. But not today, sonny. Today you must follow a line of traffic behind a WLTP challenger in Honda CR-V hybrid doing a steady 42mph on his way to a remarkable 70.08mpg – around 30mpg more than the claimed figure.

The Alfa’s economy after 223 miles: 36.39mpg, which is, as near as makes no difference, a 34 percent improvement on the WTLP figure. Not bad, especially when you consider that the Quadrifoglio is about as far removed from an eco car as I am from enjoying a caesar salad with Ms. Hawes.

But is a 34 percent upshift in economy worth it for all the frustration and torture of being overtaken by a Ford C-Max and tailgated by a Vauxhall Corsa? Of course not.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio at the petrol station

Air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent, so it was switched off. But this results in a sweaty back and the need to open the windows at traffic lights, at which point you breathe in all of those delightful toxins being pushed out by the surrounding lorries. A few years off your life to save a few mpgs – no thanks.

And because the future of eco driving means following a CR-V at a steady 42mph, the nation’s company car drivers will be late home for bedtime stories with their children, which will result in arguments with their partners and the breakdown of relationships. The kids need the Gruffalo, so put your foot down, Mr CR-V.

You’d be better off sticking a Giulia Quadrifoglio in the garage for weekends and holidays, and using a Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line for the daily commute. A chap managed to achieve 56.6mpg on the WLTP Challenge, in a car that’s fun to drive, cheap to buy and, on this evidence, cheap to run.

I can’t tell you a great deal about the Giulia Quadrifoglio, aside from the fact that the superb £3,250 Sparco bucket seats are worth every penny, the infotainment system is painfully poor and the ride comfort is great at 56mph. The car also turns more heads than halitosis.

The problem is, I was so preoccupied with whether or not you can drive a Giulia Quadrifoglio with restraint, I didn’t stop to think if I should. It’s a dinosaur in an age of electrification, but I’d urge you to enjoy cars like the Alfa while you still can. The car deserves more than to be restrained like a tiger on a leash.

Drive it like you’ve stolen the last gallon of fuel. Sorry, Greta.

Opinion: Now is the time to buy a used Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Unless you’re buying a new car, depreciation is a wonderful thing. The faster a car sheds its value, the more attractive it becomes to used car buyers. Which brings us on to the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

You could spend upwards of £65,000 on a new Giulia Quadrifoglio, and we wouldn’t blame you. After all, who wouldn’t want to own a rear-wheel-drive ‘four-door Ferrari’ with 510hp on tap? But there are two good reasons why you shouldn’t.

Firstly, used examples start from around £33,000. That’s not for a well-used and well-worn Quadrifoglio with many miles on the clock and several careless owners to its name. That’s for a 2017 car with 5,000 miles on the clock.

Admittedly, that’s a one-off, but low mileage 2017 cars tend to cost between £35,000 and £40,000. Got a niggling doubt about Alfa Romeo reliability? Don’t worry, those cars are still in warranty.

Don’t take our word for it: the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio has just been crowned Performance Car of the Year at the What Car? Used Car Awards 2019. 

“With its fantastic performance and that thrilling handling, it’s no wonder we love the Giulia Quadrifoglio.”

Not our words, Carol, but the words of What Car? magazine. Niggling doubts begone. Time to visit your local Alfa Romeo showroom?

Time to buy a used Giulia Quadrifoglio

It might not be the most sensible choice, but sensible people buy beige slacks from M&S and drive Honda CR-Vs. They don’t buy an Alfa saloon with a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged engine and enough power to hit 191mph, and 62mph in just 3.9 seconds.

‘Remarkable value’

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car? said: “Even in a category that was jam-packed with so many truly exciting cars, the Giulia Quadrifoglio stood out, thanks to its fantastic performance and thrilling handling.

“It sounds great too, thanks to its wonderful 503bhp [510hp] twin-turbocharged V6, and its undeniably massive appeal, whether you’re driving it, sitting in it or even just looking at it, is only increased further by the remarkable value it offers as a used buy.“

Andrew Tracey, marketing director for Alfa Romeo added: “Winning an award as a used car is testament to the quality of the Giulia Quadrifoglio. With its impressive performance credentials, coupled with a five-year warranty, the Alfa Romeo Giulia remains a great buy long after it has left the showroom”.

Still want that German performance saloon?

Custom Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio to star in Gumball 3000

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Gumball 3000

Alfa Romeo has unveiled a custom Stelvio Quadrifoglio to celebrate the 21st year of the Gumball rally.

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio will be one of a number of Gumball 3000 cars leaving Ibiza on 15 June for a journey across 11 countries. The event will finish in the Balearics, but not before it has paid a visit to Alfa Romeo’s Balocco Proving Ground.

In Gumball terms, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a relatively tame affair, although the fluorescent green accents, large snake motif and green alloy wheels aren’t items you’ll find on the Stelvio options list.

The green Alfa Romeo logo on the black brake callipers have been “specially created to attract attention”, says Alfa Romeo. Well, this is the Gumball 3000.

Beneath the bonnet you’ll find the ‘standard’ Quadrifoglio 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6, although with 510hp on tap, the Alfa Romeo SUV should have little trouble keeping up with the other Gumballers.

Green with envy?

Gumball 3000 Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV

Alfa Romeo Stelvio prices start from £37,505, but you’ll pay at least £69,510 for the supercar-taming Quadrifoglio edition. It’s the version you need if you fancy mimicking the celebrities and shrinking violets who have signed up for this year’s Gumball 3000. We’re sure you can find somebody who will create your own ‘tasteful’ wrap.

Last month, the Stelvio became the first vehicle to set SUV production car lap records around three of the UK’s most iconic race tracks.

Professional racing driver David Brise set a trio of blistering lap times at Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Silverstone in an unmodified Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

Brise said: “Doing anything that is a first on track is exciting, but the Stelvio Quadrifoglio made it an even more enjoyable experience for me.

“The performance from this family SUV is astonishing, its handling characteristics were really confidence inspiring and totally at home on track. It gave me all the things I needed to extract the best possible lap times and establish the three records.”

In pictures: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Gumball 3000

These are the most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Last year was absolutely huge for record-breaking classics, including the most valuable car ever sold at auction.

That – plot spoiler – was a Ferrari, but it wasn’t all about Prancing Horses of the Swinging Sixties. Indeed, the top 12 sales of 2018 weren’t short on diversity…

1958 Porsche 550A – £4.03 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

We kick off with a very appropriate sale for 2018. In Porsche’s 70th-anniversary year, this 1958 550A made a cool $5.17 million (£4.03 million) at the Bonhams Scottsdale sale.

It was a factory-backed car in period and, unsurprisingly, has quite a provenance and race history. How does second-in-class (fifth overall) at Le Mans and a class win in the Nürburgring 1,000km in 1958 sound? Few cars are as important to the genesis of Porsche as the 550.

1955 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spider – £4.03 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Last year was big for Maseratis, as we crown the new most expensive car to wear the trident ever sold at auction.

This one-of-three Frua-bodied 1955 A6GCS/53 Spider is a former concours winner and deserving record-holder, achieving the same $5.17 million (£4.03 million) at Pebble Beach as the Porsche. Interestingly, that was a few hundred thousand dollars short of the estimate.

1932 Alfa Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Monoposto – £4.5 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

This Alfa Romeo Tipo B earns its place thanks, principally, to its significance as the winner of the inaugural Donington Grand Prix in 1935, plus its status as the first successful central single-seat Grand Prix car.

It’s also a veteran of Scuderia Ferrari’s formative years – that is, as a team rather than a manufacturer. What price for this unique piece of racing history? Try $5.83 million (£4.5 million) for size.

1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar – £4.6million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Perhaps the biggest surprise of this list is this comparatively modern legend: a 1985 Porsche 959 Dakar. It sold at RM Sotheby’s Porsche anniversary sale for $5.95 million (£4.6 million).

Resplendent in its Rothmans livery, this unique rally-fettled supercar campaigned at the 1985 Paris-Dakar, is an Amelia Island concours winner and has seen action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed with Jacky Ickx at the wheel.

Interestingly, unlike the road-going 959, it does without turbochargers. Perhaps natural aspiration is more reliable when charging through hot desert sands? It’s one of just seven developmental examples built, of which four remain in Porsche’s care.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Berlinetta – £5.2 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

The Tour de France name was recently applied to the fastest, most extreme version of the Ferrari F12, but its origins date back to the 1950s. The 250 GT TdF Berlinetta comes from an era when road-going GTs also competed in endurance events. The car seen here raced in both the 1958 Targa Florio and Trieste-Opicina hillclimb.

With coachwork by Scaglietti and a V12 beneath its long, voluptuous bonnet, this TdF pushed bidders up and up and it sold for $6.6 million (£5.2 million) at Pebble Beach last year. It was previously owned by a renowned Ferrari collector for 52 years.

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale – £6.4 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Now, this is something a bit, um… ‘speciale’: the only 275 GTB built by Pininfarina and the personal car of company boss Battista Pininfarina. The Ferrari has numerous bespoke design details and was displayed at many motor shows in-period, including Frankfurt, Paris and Turin.

Its V12 engine has the desirable six-carb specification but hasn’t been started in many years. As such, vendor Gooding and Company advised it ‘will require mechanical attention prior to road use’. The car sold for $8.09 million (£6.4 million) at Scottsdale in January.

1966 Ford GT40 Mk II – £7.7 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

This is one of the three 1966 Le Mans GT40s that cemented this Ferrari-beating blue-collar legend into history. As racing provenance goes, it doesn’t get much better than that – which is why this third-placed GT40 sold for $9.8 million (£7.7 million) at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale.

Since that famous finish at Le Mans in 1966, it’s been wheeled out at numerous historic motorsport events, including appearances at Goodwood (both for the Festival of Speed and Revival), and indeed Monterey. It received the people’s choice award at 2003’s Pebble Beach concours.

1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato 2 VEV – £10.08 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

One of the most famous Aston Martin racing cars ever made is a coach-built victim of a prang at Goodwood. With F1 legend Jim Clark at the wheel, driving his – and the car’s – second Goodwood TT, it spun into the path of John Surtees’ Ferrari 250 GTO at Madgwick. The result was two bent super-GTs and one of the most famous crashes in Goodwood history.

Fitting, then, that this one-of-three super lightweight Zagato was up for grabs at the 2018 Festival of Speed. It eventually crossed the block for £10.08 million. Prior to the sale, the car had been in the same family for 47 years. In 1993, a previous keeper was involved in another prang in ‘2 VEV’ on the Isle of Man. Since then, after a painstaking restoration, the car has led a somewhat more static concours-winning existence.

1963 Aston Martin DP215 – £16.9 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

A Le Mans racer that reached 198.6mph on the Mulsanne Straight in 1963, this aero-enhanced Aston Martin sold for $21.5 million (£16.9 million) at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale. That makes it almost the most valuable British car sold at auction – beaten only by a $22.5 million (£17.7 million) Aston Martin DBR 1 in 2017.

DP215 is a true one-off and the final racing Aston of the David Brown era. It was restored with help with designer Ted Cutting, who was originally tasked with building the car in just two months – with a budget of £1,500. Sadly, although DP215 led Le Mans for two hours, it would retire with gearbox problems.

1935 Duesenberg SSJ – £17.3 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

This high-class hot rod became the most expensive American car ever sold at auction when it appeared at Pebble Beach. Dripping with raffish, jazz-age glamour, it’s one of only two SSJs built, combining a short-wheelbase chassis with a 400hp supercharged in-line 8-cylinder engine.  

Duesenberg had factories in Minnesota, New Jersey and Indiana, and rivalled Cadillac, Rolls-Royce and Bugatti in its day. Production lasted from 1913 until shortly before World War II.

This particular car was delivered new to Hollywood actor Gary Cooper, then later owned by racing driver Briggs Cunningham.

1956 Ferrari 290 MM – £17.3 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Racing pedigree always boosts the values of classic cars – and this $22.005 million (£17.3 million) 290 MM has a suitably star-studded competition CV. It was a Scuderia Ferrari works car for the 1956 and 1957 seasons, driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, Peter Collins and Stirling Moss.

One of just three surviving 290 MMs, the car retains its original Scaglietti bodywork. It was restored by Ferrari’s in-house Classiche department in 2015, including a respray in 1957 ‘12 Hours of Sebring’ livery.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – £38.1 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

In first place on our list, somewhat predictably, is a Ferrari 250 GTO. This 1962 example enters the record books as the most expensive car ever sold at auction – with a hammer price of $48.4 million (£38.1 million) at Monterey in August.

The 250 GTO is the third of 36 examples built and won its class in the 1963 and 1964 Targa Florio. It still has its original engine, gearbox and rear axle, while factory Series II bodywork was added in period by Scaglietti. Will its record be beaten in 2019? If so, only another 250 GTO seems likely to top it…

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Porsche tops list of Europe’s most popular classics

Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classicsClassic Trader, Europe’s largest classic car trading website, has announced that the total value of vehicles currently on sale on the site has eclipsed €1 billion for the first time. To mark the occasion, the website has revealed the most popular makes and models, ranked by the number of listings that currently appear on the site.

Porsche dominates the list, with four different 911s appearing in the top ten. Here, we rank the cars in reverse order.

10. Jaguar E-type Series 1Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £139,100

With an average asking price of £139,100, the Jaguar E-type S1 – or XKE in the US – is the most valuable car in the top 10 and arguably the most beautiful. “If a new car ever created greater excitement around our office than the new Jaguar XKE, we can’t remember it”, said Road & Track in September 1961.

The E-Type went on sale in 1961 with a bargain price tag, including taxes, of £2,097 for the convertible and £2,196 for the coupe. It was replaced in 1968 by the less desirable, and therefore less valuable, Series 2.

9. Mercedes-Benz SL R129Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £19,100

Few cars have aged as well as the Mercedes-Benz SL R129. Unveiled at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, the response was so positive, anyone who placed an order was forced to accept a delivery period of several years. Production continued until 2001, by which time more than 200,000 units had rolled off the Bremen production line.

The last truly beautiful Mercedes (discuss…) was the first car to feature an automatic roll-over bar, along with a soft-top that could be opened or closed within 30 seconds. The most common model is the 5.0-litre V8, with some 79,827 units built, while the entry-level SL 280 V6 is the rarest.

8. Porsche 993Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £81,900

If Mercedes-Benz struggled to keep up with demand for the R129, Porsche had a similar ‘problem’ with the 993. Launched in 1994, the 993 was able to boast a series of technical and visual changes, with only the doors and front bonnet carried over from the 964.

As the last air-cooled Porsche, the 993 is one of the most sought-after 911s on the classic car market, hence the average asking price. In the Ultimate History of Porsche, current editor of Evo magazine, Stuart Gallagher, wrote: “The fact that Porsche arrived at this beautifully honed vehicle when it did is fitting, because as the sun set on 1997 the air-cooled 911 had come to the end of its long and illustrious life.”

7. Alfa Romeo GiuliaPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £30,700

The Alfa Romeo Giulia was introduced in 1962 and wouldn’t bow out until 1977. In that time it evolved and spawned many variants, establishing the Alfa Romeo brand as we know it today. Regardless of the body shape, the Giulia was a true drivers’ car.

According to Classic Trader, the cars featured in the top 10 represent almost 12% of the total trading volume on the website, resulting in sales of €118 million. Other cars, such as the Citroen LNA, Saab 90 and Toyota Tercel weren’t able to contribute quite as much.

6. Mercedes-Benz SL W113Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £83,600

The fact that three generations of Mercedes-Benz SL appear in the top 10 suggests that the car is in strong demand. The W113 had the unenviable task of following the first generation SL, something it managed with startling ease. It’s all about the oh-so-pretty styling, with its hardtop earning it the nickname of ‘Pagoda’.

In truth, the second coming of the SL was more boulevard cruiser than it was precision instrument, but it remained a thing of beauty. This was the first sports car to feature crumple zones and a rigid passenger cell.

5. Fiat 500Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £9,800

The smallest car in the top 10 has a fittingly small price tag. The Fiat Nuova 500 was unveiled in 1957 and helped mobilise an entire nation. It measured just 9-feet long and was one of the very first city cars ever built. Perfect for navigating the congested streets of Turin, Rome and Milan.

The early cars featured suicide doors, but these were phased out in 1965 amid safety fears. Nearly 3.5 million units were built before production ceased in 1975 and the 500 was replaced by the 126.

4. Porsche 964Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £62,300

To the untrained eye, the Porsche 964 looked like an evolution of the outgoing 911, but it was in fact 85% new. The Carrera 4 was the first 911 to feature an all-wheel drive system, sending 31% of the torque to the front and 69% to the rear.

Power was sourced from a 3.6-litre flat-six engine, itself a development of the 3.2-litre unit found in the outgoing 3.2 Carrera. The all-wheel drive 964 may have upset the purists, but it appealed to a broader and affluent audience, with strong sales helping to secure Porsche’s future. Besides, a rear-wheel-drive variant arrived in 1990.

3. Mercedes-Benz SL R107Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £24,700

The SL R107 enjoyed a near two-decade production run, making it the second longest single series Mercedes-Benz after the G-Class. Just like its predecessors, the R107 – introduced in 1971 – was a huge hit on the tree-lined boulevards of America.

At the time of preparing this feature, there are 626 Mercedes-Benz SL models for sale on Classic Trader. Prices range from £3,995 for a 1982 380 SL to £1.6 million for a 1956 300 SL ‘Gullwing’.

2. Porsche 911 pre-impact bumperPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £98,100

In 1974, Porsche was forced into redesigning the 911 to satisfy new US safety regulations. The result was the so-called ‘impact bumper’, designed to keep their shape in the event of a 5mph accident. Many would argue that the new bumper only served to dilute the purity of the original 911.

The Porsche 901 – renamed the 911 as of model year 1965 – was unveiled at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show as a successor to the 356. Right now, there are more than 1,000 Porsche of all types for sale on Classic Trader, with prices ranging from £15,215 to £1.4 million.

1. Porsche 911 impact bumperPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £55,500

Regardless of what you think about the impact bumpers, the G-Series remains one of the most iconic 911s of all-time. It was, after all, the sports car so beloved of the ‘Yuppie’ generation, all red braces, shoulder pads and mobile phones the size of bricks.

The design of the impact bumpers differed according to the market. In the US, the bumpers were connected to the body using hydraulic impact absorbers, while non-US cars used more cost-effective impact pipes. In 1989, the G-Series was replaced by the 964.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV revealed at LA Auto Show

Alfa Romeo StelvioAt long last, Alfa Romeo has revealed its first ever SUV, called Stelvio. Debuting at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio will in 2017 launch to take on the Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace in the battle of the sporty premium SUVs.

And Alfa reckons it’s in the running with the first SUV it’s made in over 100 years of production. Read on to find out why…

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the next part of Alfa’s rebirth as a sporting premium alternative to BMW, Audi and Jaguar. The Giulia saloon set the ball rolling, but it’s the Stelvio SUV that’s the most important of the two. This is the model that should deliver the strong sales and fat profit margins necessary to make Alfa sustainable. There’s a lot riding on the Stelvio, alright – hence launching it in LA, one of the world’s key SUV markets.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

It certainly packs a visual punch, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Derived from the look of the Giulia saloon, this is much bolder and more substantial, particularly its prominent, huge Alfa grille and the inset bonnet shutline. Air intakes are suitably enormous on this Quadrifoglio variant too.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Cloverleaf crests feature on the front wings (that’s what Quadrifoglio means in Italian) and the extended wheelarches are colour-keyed, as are the side skirts. Carbon fibre trim features on this launch model too – more mainstream models will be toned down a bit. Even so, whereas many SUVs go for colour contrasts with the plastic bits to reinforce their tough off-road nature, Alfa’s instead given the Stelvio more of a performance car finish. Its intent is clear.

The rear hatch has a steep rake and a big roof spoiler, plus quad exhausts on this Quadrifoglio variant. The sculpting around the rear lights is smart and we like the ‘Kamm tail’ design of the tailgate itself. This crisp cut-off is likely to benefit high-speed aerodynamics. The rear haunches are powerful too, although from this angle it does also remind us a little of the Maserati Levante…

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Inside, the command-like interior is familiar from the Giulia, but perhaps even more elegant and premium than that car. Alfa’s had a bit more time to work on the Stelvio dash, and it shows. The cowled dials, flat-bottom steering wheel and huge central screen dominate: also check details such as the Ferrari-like starter button on the steering wheel, and the Alcantara dash top with red stitching.

Underneath, the Stelvio is derived from the Alfa Romeo Giulia architecture. It’s built in Modena – famous for its Ferraris – and the brand insists the Stelvio name has been chosen to reinforce its sporty SUV focus. The Stelvio Pass is the highest mountain pass in Italy and packs 75 corners into 20km. If Jeeps are Trail Rated, it seems this Alfa Romeo is Stelvio Rated.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The engine is one of the most exciting bits. This is not quite a Ferrari engine in an Alfa, but it’s the next best thing, as the supercar maker has been heavily involved in its design. The 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbo engine produces 510-horsepower and, while performance figures haven’t been released, we’d suggest the Quadrifoglio will do 0-60mph in the fours, and top 175mph all-out.

If a 510-horsepower engine developed with Ferrari is too much, don’t worry. Alfa is also offering a 280-horsepower 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder and, later, a suitable range of turbodiesels. All will be paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Of course, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is all-wheel drive: the system is called Q4. But in normal driving, you’d never know it: 100% of drive is sent to the rear axle, to give it a suitably sporty feel. Only when the limits are reached is up to 50% of drive sent forwards. Response is rapid – indeed, the system even predicts loss of grip and will adjust drive before it actually happens.

Derived from the well-received Giulia saloon, the Stelvio has double wishbone front suspension and a patented ‘four-and-a-half’ link rear setup, called AlfaLink. Rear suspension innovation is where it’s at these days: also see Jaguar Integral Link. As for the steering, forget mud-plugging off-road stability – Alfa’s focused on maximising feel and feedback when cornering fast, by keeping loads on the tyres constant.  

Active suspension, ESC and Q4 all-wheel drive are all coordinated by the Alfa Chassis Domain Control system. This adjusts the mapping in real time, says the firm, for super-fast adaptive changes during fast driving. Alfa Torque Vectoring is also combined with the Q4 system for the first time: clutches in the rear differential control individual drive delivery to each wheel.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Brakes are more track-speck than trail-spec: on the Quadrifoglio, Alfa Romeo is fitting carbon-ceramic discs to the Stelvio. It also has the same Integrated Brake System as on the Giulia, which pairs electronic aids with a traditional servo, upping response and cutting stopping distances. It’ll need a good set of anchors if it’s to grab a hot Nürburgring lap time…

We don’t yet know how heavy the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio is, but the firm says it’s tried to make it as light as possible. There’s a carbon fibre driveshaft and the doors, wings, bonnet and tailgate are aluminium, as are the engines, suspension and brakes. All the heavy stuff has been centralised as much as possible. If you’re naming a car after the most famous sequence of corners in the world, you don’t want to make it a bit of a boat through them, do you?

Size-wise, the Stelvio is 4.68 metres long, 1.65 metres high and a healthy 1.9 metres wide. By way of comparison, a Porsche Macan is 4.69 metres long, 1.62 metres high and 1.92 metres wide. Spot-on dimensions alongside its rivals, then.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio: in pictures

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Alfa Romeo Giulia

You can now order an Alfa Romeo Giulia from £29,180

Alfa Romeo GiuliaAlfa Romeo has opened UK ordering for its new Giulia compact executive saloon, with prices starting from £29,180.

Dealer deliveries of the new Giulia are expected to being in late November and early December, meaning those ordering today should be able to get their new Alfa before Christmas.

There’s a full Giulia range ready for the opening of orders, consisting of five trims and four engines, stretching from entry-level Alfa Giulia trim, through Super, Tecnica, Speciale and the range-topping, 510hp Ferrari-engine’d Quadrifoglio. There are two petrol engines and two diesels.

All models come with eight-speed automatic transmission as standard: a manual is available on the continent, but not in right-hand drive guise.

Alfa is, understandably, pumped up for the arrival of its most important car in several decades (and this is from a brand that’s often found itself in such perilous states as to regularly need ‘make or break ‘ cars).

The firm’s also keen to promote its dealer locator tool in communications. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar buyers haven’t had an excuse to visit an Alfa dealer in almost a decade, so the firm is focusing heavily on getting back on their radar.

Alfa Romeo Giulia prices and specs

  • 2.0 Turbo 200 Giulia: £29,180 (0-62mph 6.6secs, 47.9mpg)
  • 2.0 Turbo 200 Super: £30,880
  • 2.2 JTDM-2 150 Super: £30,750 (0-62mph 8.4secs, 67.2mpg)
  • 2.2 JTDM-2 150 Tecnica: £30,995
  • 2.2 JTDM-2 180 Super: £31,950 (0-62mph 7.2secs, 67.2mpg)
  • 2.2 JTDM-2 180 Tecnica: £32,195
  • 2.2 JTDM-2 180 Speciale: £34,150
  • 2.9 V6 BiTurbo Quadrifoglio: £59,000 (0-62mph 3.9secs, 34.4mpg)