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…

Read more:

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)
Euro NCAP Alfa Romeo Giulia 2016

Five Euro NCAP stars for three new cars thanks to autonomous tech

Euro NCAP Alfa Romeo Giulia 2016Alfa Romeo, SEAT and Volkswagen have all been awarded five stars for their latest new cars in the latest round of Euro NCAP testing – thanks to generously including latest-generation safety equipment as standard across the range.

The new Alfa Romeo Giulia (pictured above), SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan have all been awarded five stars, with Euro NCAP not having to issue Dual Ratings this time round because all three cars are so well-equipped with safety kit as standard.

Since the start of 2016, Euro NCAP has run the Dual Rating system: a ‘stars’ score is given for standard models in the range, with an additional one for those fitted with optional safety equipment packages.

This means that volume cars can score fewer stars than those with optional kit added on, a slightly confusing situation that’s pleasingly not an issue with these three cars because they have all the important safety stuff as standard.

A key piece of technology is AEB Autonomous Emergency Braking, says Euro NCAP, which helps mitigate the impact of low-speed collisions, or even avoid them entirely. Euro NCAP (and its umbrella group, Global NCAP) would ideally like to see it fitted to all new cars as standard.

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said: “Euro NCAP shows what can be achieved when governments, consumer groups and motoring clubs from across Europe collaborate. Together, we can exert an influence on the car industry that would be hard to achieve otherwise.

“We are glad to see some of the major manufactures making safety equipment standard across the EU28, although we know that markets outside the Eurozone are sometimes less well served.”

Least reliable car brands

The 5 least reliable car brands

Least reliable car brandsThink modern cars don’t go wrong? Think again. Claims data from third-party warranty provider Warrantywise reveals big discrepancies between the brands when it comes to reliability and typical repair costs. We count down the 20 least reliable carmakers – is your car on the list?

Least reliable car brands5. Chrysler

Dependability score: 64

Like Chevrolet, Chrysler is an American carmaker that tried and failed to make its mark in the UK. It will mainly be remembered for the brash 300C – and those black Voyager MPVs that ferried around the candidates on The Apprentice.

Least reliable car brands5. Chrysler

Average repair cost: £464

If you need evidence of where Chrysler went wrong, look no further than the Ypsilon supermini. It’s basically a Fiat 500 with all that car’s retro character and charm removed. There was no compelling reason to buy one, and few did.

Least reliable car brands4. Alfa Romeo

Dependability score: 60

Good old Alfa Romeo: always languishing near the bottom of car reliability charts. Journalists are already hailing the new Giulia saloon – seen here in Ferrari-baiting QV spec – as the best Alfa in years. But will it do better than a dependability score of 60?

Least reliable car brands4. Alfa Romeo

Average repair cost: £590

Alfa Romeos used to be notorious for rust, which certainly won’t be a problem in the carbon fibre-bodied 4C sports car. These days, electrical issues are more likely to cause headaches – and contribute to the £590 average repair cost.

Least reliable car brands3. Porsche

Dependability score: 57

Porsches generally feel bulletproof, so it’s a shock to see the brand near the bottom of the Warrantywise list. If we were being kind, we suspect many Porsches are driven quite hard. Nonetheless, a dependability score of 57 simply isn’t good enough.

Least reliable car brands3. Porsche

Average repair cost: £842

At £842, average Porsche repair costs are predictably high. With new ‘downsized’ engines, such as the four-cylinder units in the 718 Boxster and Cayman, let’s hope future costs will be downsized, too.

Least reliable car brands2. Jaguar

Dependability score: 54

Hype about Jaguar’s new F-Pace SUV has reached fever pitch. However, a woeful dependability score of 54 does rather take the shine off those five-star reviews. It’s also considerably worse than Jaguar’s sister-brand, Land Rover.

Least reliable car brands2. Jaguar

Average repair cost: £794

Repair costs for Jaguars are high, too – at more than any of its German rivals. Let’s just gaze upon this lovely S1 E-Type (still the most beautiful car ever made) and pretend none of this is happening, shall we?

Least reliable car brands1. Maserati

Dependability score: 41

So here we are: the least reliable brand of all is… Maserati. The marque is keeping the old cliches about temperamental Italian supercars alive, with a shocking dependability score of 41. That’s 13 points below second-placed Jaguar.

Least reliable car brands1. Maserati

Average repair cost: £1,430

Maserati repair costs aren’t quite in the £2k-plus Ferrari league, but nor are they exactly affordable. Owners can typically expect to fork out £1,430 to fix a car that’s outside warranty. No wonder old Maseratis are so cheap to buy.

Spot the difference: Alfa Romeo Giulietta facelift

Spot the difference: Alfa Romeo Giulietta facelift

Spot the difference: Alfa Romeo Giulietta facelift

Alfa Romeo has revealed its facelifted version of the Giulietta with, it says, the aim of trying to emphasise the hatchback’s genetic links with the new Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon.

The Giulietta features very minor tweaks to the front-end styling that includes a new honeycomb grille; black bumper inserts and revised headlamp and fog light surrounds.

Inside the new Giulietta has new seat upholsteries, dashboard and door panel finishes and some revised tech.

This includes a five-inch Uconnect infotainment system and Alfa Performance, a new service specifically created to enhance the car’s driving experience.

By using an array of digital gauges and instruments it allows drivers to measure their performance and driving and they can receive the statistics on their smartphone, which can also provide them with real-time driving tips.

Uconnect now comes with smartphone enabled services such as music streaming, Facebook check-in and news updates from Reuters.

There also changes under the bonnet such as the option to combine the 120hp 1.6 JTDM-2 turbo diesel engine with the Alfa TCT twin dry-clutch transmission.

This will enable the new duo to reach a top speed of 121mph and accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.2 second, while achieving 74.3mpg and emitting 99g/km of CO2.

The refreshed style elements are accompanied by a comprehensive standard equipment list which includes a leather steering wheel with audio remote controls, air conditioning, the Alfa DNA selector, six airbags, 16-inch ‘Turbine’ alloy wheels, one-touch electric windows all round and steering-wheel paddle shifters on TCT-equipped models.

The new Alfa Romeo Giulietta goes on sale on April 1 with prices starting at £18,450.