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To review cars is to go beyond the numbers, to put those facts and figures to the test in the real world. To review the 2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio adds plenty of fun into the act of discovery. It also underscores that numbers are sometimes irrelevant. The best aspects of the Giulia Quadrifoglio aren’t listed on its spec sheet — though its figures are impressive. What makes it unlike its super sporty compact rivals is it can make any journey enjoyable.

The formula for the QF begins by replacing the standard Giulia’s turbo four-cylinder with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 cranking out 505 horsepower. The result is an added 225 ponies. Add to that a active aero, carbon-fiber front splitter, a carbon-fiber roof, upgraded Brembo brakes and sticky summer-only tires. The result is impressive sport-compact performance.

The Quadrifoglio’s handling is inspirational. Some sport compacts feel as if they are off doing their own thing while you traverse back roads. Or they are actively working against your inputs with onboard computers effectively stating, “I know better.” The QF felt like a faithful companion. Like it is just as eager as its driver to do some corner carving without intervening. The steering feel inspires confidence and connection to the road. Body roll is practically nonexistent. Road imperfections and off-camber corners didn’t disturb the chassis. Its agility and connectivity to the driver was made all the more impressive by my tester running on all-season tires. Its typical shoes are only bound to enhance the experience.

Then there’s the noise. The QF delivers more of a symphony than a solo. It burbles low in the rev range and provides a throaty roar while creeping towards its redline. It doesn’t impersonate cereal with snaps, crackles and pops on downshifts or when letting off the gas. Just one big bomb of agreeable noise.

The Giulia QF is rated for 20 combined mpg by the EPA, but drivers will never get a real-world result that efficient. That’s because they’ll be using the standard paddle shifters to keep the revs near the redline even while pootling around town just to let the exhaust sing its intoxicating tune. That’s what I did, anyway.

Of course, it oozes style. The Quadrifoglio is an introvert’s nightmare. It commands attention.

Interior view of the 2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio interior | Stellantis

Five mornings a week I run into another dad as we drop our kids off at school. We never speak a word to one another, other than basic pleasantries, during the frenzy. That ended when I showed up in the Montreal Verde Quadrifoglio one morning.

“That car looks sick,” he said, shaking his head with a tinge of resentment he was driving away in a basic midsize SUV.

A grocery store employee took a break from gathering carts in the parking lot to strike up a conversation about the Quadrifoglio. A young teen boy — a member of a population that is too cool to show genuine excitement for anything other than an exposed female breast — stopped pedaling his bike on the sidewalk and yelled out “Awesome car!” with a thumb up as I passed. He was a teenager, so it could have been sarcastic, making fun of the slightly balding, overweight guy approaching middle age trying to make up for his lack of looks with an Alfa. His tone seemed to be rooted in genuine admiration, though.

There are some downsides of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio to review. The infotainment system isn’t particularly intuitive, and it was agonizingly slow to respond to inputs. The back seat could handle a car seat without issue, but adults can feel a bit cramped. The interior style is excellent, but it feels low rent for the Quadrifoglio’s $83,000 asking price. The brake pedal is firm, which makes it tough to modulate in traffic. Unfortunately, Alfa’s lackluster reputation for reliability also appeared to make an appearance in my tester. The right rear door could be opened from the inside, but using the exterior latch was fruitless. It was apparently stuck “locked” no matter how much I cursed it, fiddled with the car’s settings or toiled with a set of tools.

There’s also the competition.

A Cadillac CT4-V is slightly less powerful but far less pricey and supremely agile. A BMW M3 Competition starts at about the same price as the Alfa, delivers 503 horsepower, has a more luxe interior and is unlikely to make you question its reliability. There are also alternatives like the Mercedes-AMG C63, Audi RS5 Sportback or Lexus RC F.

But the Giulia Quadrifoglio is not bought with the head, rather, the heart. It’s the kind of sports car that inspires a meandering drive just for the sake of getting behind the wheel. Its biggest appeal cannot be measured in numbers. Its supremely stylish, has a character that is endearing, and makes even mundane treks enjoyable with its refined athleticism and inspiring soundtrack.

It might lose to rivals on spec sheet categories. Hell, it may even lose to them in a battle of outright speed. But the driver of the 2024 Giulia Quadrifoglio will be too busy enjoying the experience to care.