Back in 2009 the previous generation Cadillac CTS-V made major headlines as the first production sedan to break the 8 minute barrier at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. The record lap time of 7:59.32 was 13 seconds faster than the E60 BMW M5, and signaled Cadillac's definitive arrival as a legitimate player in the performance sedan scene.
Fast forward about seven years and another sedan lap record has been set, and it's a similar sort of coup to the one staged by Cadillac.
The Quadrifoglio's time of 7:32 around the Nurburgring has to be considered one the most noteworthy lap time accomplishments since the 2009 CTS-V lap. 7:32 is not just fast for a sedan, it's blisteringly fast by any standard. The 32nd fastest lap around the 'ring (by a production car), ever.
Faster than the 458 Italia, Mustang GT350R, Cayman GT4, 997.2 911 GT3 RS, Mclaren 650S Spider, Lexus LFA, the list goes on… Even the 991 911 GT3 RS is only about 4 seconds clear of the Quadrifoglio.
So how did Alfa Romeo do it?
Clearly motivated Italian test driver Fabio Francia helped the cause to be sure. His driving heroics are documented in the video below.
Pirelli also played a role in capturing the fastest sedan title for the il Tricolore, but exactly how we can't be certain. The Giulia Quadrifoglio wears Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires as original equipment. The "Corsa" tire is a measurable performance/lap time upgrade over the sport version of the current Pirelli P Zero. However, it's also possible the Giulia Quadrifoglio was fitted with the even stickier Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R for the purposes of the 'ring test. In any case, unless a racing slick was fitted (unlikely), nothing can be taken away from the Giulia Quadrifoglio on the basis of tires. For reference, the Chevy Camaro Z/28 set a 'ring lap time of 7:37.47 on the Trofeo R.
We know that the Giulia Quadrifoglio's auto box, and its 150 millisecond upshifts is responsible for a 7 second lap time gain over the manual transmission version, which runs a (still amazing) 7:39.
505 horsepower doesn't hurt when looking to go fast, but in this rarified lap time company the Giulia Quadrifoglio's power output isn't particularly significant. Of the thirty-one cars ahead of the Giulia Quadrifoglio on the lap time board, only maybe ½ dozen are of equal or lesser power, and three of those are Radicals. This makes the Giulia Quadrifoglio's accomplishment even more remarkable in our view -- Alfa did it with chassis brilliance and engineering, not overwhelming power.
Find full Giulia Quadrifoglio specs here: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio spec sheet.
We appreciate legitimate new entries into this performance car class in particular, and unanticipated world-beaters are even better. There's something so cool about pushing the performance envelope of functional, everyday vehicles.
Welcome back Alfa Romeo, and thanks for shaking things up. We hope you sell boatloads here in the States, and keep the momentum going.