Letter From Europe - First In 2017 - 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio RWD A 4 Door Ferrari - 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Thumbs Up
From Andrew Frankl
European Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
As Grand Prix Editor of FORZA, a magazine about Ferrari, I have most definitely not been a fan of the Italian-Canadian boss of FCA. FCA, which stands for Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, is an awful lot more than that. It includes Alfa, Ferrari and Maserati, as well plus a multitude of other things such as Iveco trucks.
Until now I have judged Sergio (the Boss) on what I thought was his appalling performance at Ferrari.
Until now... The other day he had the decency to apologize for rubbishing the engineers, the drivers , anyone and everyone associated with this magic brand’s racing division. Surprise, surprise, Vettel and Raikkonen didn’t win a single race between them. The atmosphere was toxic. The chief engineer was fired, the boys were demoralized. Anyway, the good news is that Marchionne atoned for his sins and promised to treat staff as human beings. Not a minute too soon.
In fairness he did do a much better job elsewhere. Take the new Alfa Romeo Giulia range and the Chrysler Pacifica....hats off Sergio, both are quite exceptional.
The Alfa Quadrifoglio is basically a 4 door Ferrari or certainly the nearest thing to it.
For a start it has a 2.9 liter aluminum V6 engine designed by Ferrari. It delivers 505 hp at 6500 rpm and 443 lb-ft of torque. The ZF designed gearbox (not one of my favorites) shifts in milliseconds but having said that doing a three point turn can prove to be very embarrassing as shifting from D to R can often end in N or P. Same fault as in the Maserati which uses the same box.
Like all real performance cars the Alfa has rear wheel drive and goes like smoke! In fact FORZA’s editor Aaron Jenkins came back to the office with a grin I have not seen in 17 years of working with him. Mind you, saloons tend not to have a 0-60 mph acceleration of 3.8 seconds and the sound that goes with it. The cabin is surprisingly quiet, rattles and leaking seals of yesteryear are just that. History.
All in all if you have driven all the BMW M3s and the Mercedes AMGs and have 75 thousand dollars to spend you will have a very special motoring experience. For a start there will be very few QFs around so you will be the hero of every coffee and croissant meeting. These meets have proliferated all over the United States and are perfect for stories small and tall. In Sausalito, California we had Ferraris, Porches, the odd Maserati, even an old Lotus Cortina.
The Alfa QF is not for the faint-hearted and definitely not for little Johnny on his 16th birthday. When it reaches America do take one for a drive. I think you will love it take your time to figure out all the gizmos which are numerous. An engineering degree might come in handy..
Unlike the QF, what is definitely for the whole family is Chrysler’s truly exceptional Pacifica. As inventors of the genre Chrysler has years and years of experience as far as family transportation is concerned. That is not to say that they are brilliant at everything, their 200 and 300 saloons were shall we say underwhelming. But back to the Pacifica. I loved it so much that I drove it to Petaluma during Christmas ! just to get opinions from the grand children. Unanimous thumbs up. They particularly loved the fold out screens in the back of the driver’s seats.
I found the instrument panels excellent and I did like the way the various needles encouraged you to drive in an eco mode. I love playing this game. The Pacifica was showing 16.7 mpg, when it left me it was up to 20 and I hadn’t even started.
Dislikes? Hand on heart I cannot think of any. Hurtling around corners is not to be recommended but then it wasn’t built for that purpose.
Having crossed America twice-once in a pick up truck and once in a Ferrari I must say that doing the same with a bunch of silent (!) kids in the back would be fun.
So well done Sergio, just remember to be nice to the F1 boys and all will be well.
Happy New Year!