You wait for ages for an Alfa Romeo hot hatchback and, ahem, two tweaked versions arrive together. Here we have the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf and Mito Cloverleaf, or ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’, if you prefer. Both range-toppers will be revealed at the Geneva motor show in March 2014.
At last: an Alfa Romeo to fight the Golf GTI!
Sort of. Under the still-pretty Giulietta’s bonnet is the 1.75-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that powers Alfa’s carbonfibre flagship: the 4C. As with the mid-engined car, it’s mated exclusively to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, but drives the front wheels here.
So this is a supercar drivetrain in a family hatchback?
A junior supercar, but essentially, yes. Power from the all-aluminium engine matches the 4C’s 237bhp, with 250lb ft developed between 2100rpm and 4000rpm. On the torque front, the Alfa tails the more urgent Ford Focus ST and VW Golf GTI, and has a narrower power band than either. Not ideal when the circa-£25k Giulietta is far from lightweight – unlike its feathery 4C cousin.
Is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV fast?
It’s quick, but that’s mostly thanks to the gearbox. Mustering only 2bhp more (and 1lb ft less) than the outgoing Giulietta Cloverleaf model sounds underwhelming, but that car was only available with a six-speed manual.
Handing cog-swapping duties over to a dual-clutcher knocks 0.2sec off the car’s 0-62mph time, lowering it to 6.6sec. The top speed is a claimed 149mph – an inconsequential 1mph slower than the old manual QV.
Look at it this way: Alfa has plumbed in a new engine because the old car was about to be nobbled by new Euro6 emissions legislation. The new car is slightly faster than before, more efficient, and at least means Alfa can maintain a performance flagship among its family car range.
Whether you’ll spend a Golf GTI/Seat Leon Cupra-matching £25k on one is another matter entirely.
At least the Italian is a looker. The Giulietta QV wears glossy anthracite jewellery around its grille, headlights, door handles and mirrors. It rides on huge telephone dial alloys inspired by those on the V8 8C supercar-coupe. You get four-piston Brembo brake calipers, picked out in red. Alfa’s also developed a fresh fuel intake unit to give the QV a more sporting voice, breathing out through huge twin chrome tailpipes.
What’s new about the Mito QV?
Alfa’s taken the 168bhp flagship Mito, binned its own six-speed manual gearbox, and added a six-speed dual-clutcher here too. It’s 10% more efficient than the outgoing three-pedal car, achieving up to 52.3mpg and 124g/km.
In line with its Giulietta sister, red Brembo brakes, darkened alloys and sports seats are standard-fit, and (get this) carbonfibre bucket seats are a weight-saving option. Not that they’ll make much difference to the 7.3sec 0-62mph sprint, nor the 136mph top speed.
If these range-toppers turn out too pricey, Alfa’s got you covered: there’ll be a new ‘QV line’ trim level in showrooms soon. Like BMW M Sport or Audi S-line, the idea is to mate cooking powertrains with the bodykits worn by go-faster models. Given neither of these new hot hatches are crazy-fast, but both look rather special, the QV line could be the smart way to spec your next Alfa.