If the last sporting Alfa Romeo you drove was a 4C, you’d have been forgiven for not holding on to huge reserves of hope for the impending arrival of the Giulia Quadrifoglio.

And, like some of our testers, you’d have been wrong. Gloriously, magnificently and spectacularly wrong, because the Giulia is one of the most magnificent driver’s saloons in a decade.

Everything you’d want a fast Alfa Romeo saloon to be. A triumph

It does it all: it goes, it stops, it steers and it sounds good, and it does all of those things with just the right amount of conviction and aggression. It is never too hard, never too soft, never not poised or agile enough and yet it never feels nervous at a cruise.

No car is ever perfect, of course, and there are areas – such as the quality of the cabin and the feel of the  brake and throttle – where the Alfa could use some finessing.

But it only allows one rival to get ahead of it, and that’s a rival with a sensational engine and immense engagement for its driver.

Even so, and by any reckoning, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a magnificent piece of engineering. As such we rank it second in our top five behind the Mercedes-AMG C63 S but ahead of the BMW M3, Alpina B3 Biturbo and Vauxhall VXR8 GTS.

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