It glided to a stop in front of my office.
If you read this column regularly, you know that's a joke.
My "office" is usually a coffee-shop, and for the past few years I've tested a number of sporty cars--I'm not known for gliding. It's more of a sudden acceleration then deceleration, much like my personality. Driven, persistent, a little impetuous. That's a description of my mindset and the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, a sports sedan that will make your day, your week, your month, or even your year.
It's a Ferrari that looks like an Audi. If you're an entrepreneur who has built up a large company and wants to pat yourself on the back, you don't really need to read any further. That's enough. It's a Ferrari that looks like an Audi. There's no better explanation than that. No one really makes cars like this anymore, a 505-horsepower open letter to your board about what you will be doing on weekends and after work.
There's a splitter on the front lower fascia that's a bit like a time machine. It adjusts gravity and reality in real-time. If you open up this car on a straightaway (it goes 191 mph, don't ever do that unless you're on a closed track or insane), the splitter will close electronically as if to decide on its own that the wind isn't really much of a factor in your overall success. If you brake hard or take a corner faster than Jeff Bezos talks, the splitter will open with a winking gesture, providing up to 220-pounds of downforce.
Another way of saying that: The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is aware of the fact that it is not actually a Ferrari but does have an ability to mimic one at times.
What's it like to drive? Picture yourself in the cockpit of a Learjet, then hold on. I drove the car for a week and I never quite tapped into the full potential of the engine, a twin-turbo excuse for getting seriously lost in the middle of Minnesota with no map or GPS activated at the time. "Do you know if there are any curvy roads around here," I asked the attendant at Kwik-Trip. I could tell he was staring at the car. "Yep," he said.
Turns out, he was right. North, south, east, west--doesn't matter. Every corner is an opportunity to experience the 50-50 weight distribution of the engine, to feel the 443 lb-ft of torque that propels you into another realm of existence. A dial to your right allows you to shift the DNA of the car (quite literally--there's a setting for D (dynamic), N (natural), or A (advanced efficiency). A Race mode opens up the exhaust and your mind. Traction control disabled, suspension set to "thrill ride"...and away you go.
Back at the coffee shop working on a laptop, I couldn't stop staring at the car. It has one long sleek line from the rear to the front, pointing in the direction you want to go--forward and up, always moving. The front hood and fascia is understated--this is a car that will work fine if you need to drive a few investors around town or give them a taste of what it's like to raise capital in a competitive market (read: pandemonium on wheels). Dual-exhaust and dual-purpose, a business car with an entrepreneurial mindset.
At $72,000, this trim level is not exactly entry-level. The good news is that the same basic design in the base model costs $37,995 and still has a 280-horsepower engine and AWD. I recommend debating with yourself whether any version of the Giulia fits your lifestyle. It's one way to split reality into equal parts: form and function, thrill and ease.
My advice: Don't let the downforces of life stop you from considering one.