That’s Embarassing: Alfa’s Giulia Quadrifoglio Breaks Down During Track Test Against M3, C63 AMG

It’s perhaps the first video of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio not gaining universal praise, and that’s for good reason: it broke down while the cameras were still shooting.

We all know that in order for Alfa Romeo to beat the Germans in their own game, first they have to get rid of the poor reliability image and then give us a proper four-door sports car.

Pistonheads brought a BMW M3 Competition and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S for a comparison test against the mighty Giulia Quadrifoglio but Alfa’s twin-turbo V6 had other plans apparently.

Short after a check engine light came on, which had the Giulia locked on its Normal mode, the car went on limp mode and therefore put an early end to this group test.

The win went eventually to the BMW M3, which thanks to the revisions of the Competition package, was the day’s most enjoyable of the three at the track. The on-paper power deficit never really kept the M3 from leading the way to the also on-paper more powerful Mercedes, which backs the theory of BMW underrating its M engines.


  • Bob

    All cars break #notbiased

    Edit: I’d still buy one.

    • Sharper Living

      Since I’ve had my M4 on the back of a truck before, I’m not going to hate Alfa for their first set off the line going to pot.

      Looks and sounds soooo special.

      • SteersUright

        BMW is not known for stellar reliability either, especially as you move up to their higher performance offerings. Its common to see an M-car being flat bedded. Not so common to see that with the Japanese though. I LOVE many of the German and Italian offerings, from both design and emotional standpoint. I just wish they’d finally match or surpass the Japanese on quality and reliability.

    • SteersUright

      No, all NEW cars do not break. Unreliable and poorly made ones do though. No excuses for FCA, time to ramp up the quality control.

      • TheBelltower

        Whip any car around the track and it’ll increase the likelihood of failure. That said, Alfas aren’t exactly known for being bulletproof. Every review I’ve read has had something go wrong.

        • SteersUright

          True and true. Agreed.

      • psiqtas

        No all FCA cars are poorly made – I drove some Mopars (Cherokee XJ, Chrysler 300) and they dependable, what I actually can’t say about their Italian branch…

  • Craig

    It does seem like a horrible bit of luck for Alfa. It’s the last thing they need.

  • Tex

    Typical Italian quality. Is that not the reason they quit selling in the US decades ago? Now they are back on this side of the Atlantic generating tons of business for repair shops.

  • Ed Ward

    It keeps happening, they should have used a Dodge engineered engine instead of Ferrari, Dodge engines are more durable.

    • Matt

      This guy…

  • raikkonen

    Hasn’t this been the third or fourth instance this has happened in a Quadrifoglio review????

    Heads are rolling in the FCA Marketing/Press dept.

    This is truly unacceptable for a new car, however I still love it!

    • Eric

      Car and Driver (or was it Road & Track?) had a very similar thing happen to them in a very similar compare. Cars do break down, but $#!+ like that should not happen, especially in something purporting to be a performance machine, while being used as “intended”.

      • David Somerfield

        By being used “as intended” you mean that every small dicked moronic owner is going to thrash the bejesus out of it for every mile of every hour of every day ?
        No frankly, Cars driven by proper people at proper speeds with respect are fine…..and if anyone thinks the day to day reliability of a Merc or a BMTroubleyou is any better then they are deluded.
        And I have grave suspicions about the real ‘balanced’ views (that’s sarcasm) of any tester, especially if they are American because they hate the fact that FCA is being run by Italians.

    • heavystarch

      you’d love it as long as you could drive it. The moment it hits the shop…and depending on how many visits it makes…that will change your feelings pretty quick when it’s an $80,000 car.

  • Carmelo Van Cabboi

    Oh wow an Alfa has some problem… Germans cars never have none… please just Google it and u can find millions of video with Germans cars in trouble. And I’m talking about BMW,Mercedes Audi and billions of VW

    • fgclolz

      See my story below. I had my 335i go limp mode on me while driving it from Southern California back to the Bay, right after purchasing it. But, my car turned 10 this year though.

    • S3XY

      German cars have a problem: They use gasoline.

  • Romeokc10

    What, no Cadillac ATS-V? I’d take the Caddy over any of these garbage queens.

    • Matt

      It’s a UK test.

    • Ronald

      The ATS-V is excellent and soon to be updated next year. They are non existent outside the USA

  • roy

    Come on this is bs. Any car can breakdown at any point. I now that fca and reliability don’t exactly go hand in hand but that doesn’t mean that the alfa is a shit product

    • SteersUright

      Yes, actually it does. FCA has the dollars to invest in more robust QA procedures but it is too familiar with building low-budget, to-a-price, economy cars. When you launch a luxury brand, you invest properly, do your due diligence, and over engineer the first batch to build goodwill, confidence, and trust in the marketplace. FCA made the same exact gaffs with Maserati and is ruining that storied brand as well.
      This is simply poor execution and there are NO good excuses for it. For reference, see Toyota’s launch of the Lexus brand and what went into it. And guess what, Lexus is still here decades later. Will Alfa & Maserati survive after much deserved bad press? I personally hope so, as I love the Italian brands design and emotion. But I do also hope that its because FCA steps up, is much more thorough in their QA and invests properly before releasing their subsequent Alfa/Maserati products.
      This incident happened on a test track, an inconvenience at best. Imagine this happened on a road trip in the middle of nowhere as this, in QV or base guide, will after all be a street car to most who purchase it. At this point, I wouldnt touch an Alfa unless they give them away and based on sales reports, I think they soon may start to.

      • fgclolz

        It reminds me of that time when I bought my 2007 335i coupe 2 years ago. Shortly after I bought it, I drove it from Southern California back to the Bay, but instead of taking I-5, I took the scenic 101 to 1 route. My car all of a sudden went into limp mode after driving 2 hours from Orange County (was in the Santa Barbara area around that time). I knew the 335 was notorious for going into limp mode because of that HPFP issue, though the message on the console said I can keep driving but had to be cautious! It was a Sunday, none of the BMW repair centers were open. I had to stop at a rest area of about an hour frantically calling dealerships, then decided to hell with it! I just kept driving and the error message went away, although I was going 60-70 MPH max. I did get home and yes, it was a fun drive on highway 1.

        • KSegg

          But a new or used Alfa and report back to us. You bought a used 2007 335i and is generalizing the entire BMW brand over your bad luck?

          • LeStori

            I have been buying new Alfa Romeos since 1979, I have always owned an Alfa Romeo during the last 38 years. My current one is 4 years old. It has broken down 0 times in 4 years. (No dealer visits other than normal servicing) .My previous Alfa Romeo let me down once in 80, 000 miles. A top dead centre sensor meant it would not start when hot but would when the engine was cold. I must admit compared to my reliable VW which only left me beside the road 3 times and had to be towed away , these Alfa Romeos cars are absolutely unreliable.

        • KidRed

          The E90s had HPFP issues as their were flawed in design and were recalled and had their warranty increased to 120k miles. They fixed the majority of issues for the E90 LCI (I had no HPFP with my 2010 335i) and the issue is non existent in the current F30 generation.

          That was a known issue and not an example of just random bad things happening to a car. If you bought an 8 year old used BMW and didn’t have the HPFP already replaced then you were asking for problems unfortunately. Hopefully, you were within the 120k warranty.

          • fgclolz

            When I took my car to a BMW specialist after getting home the codes didn’t even point to the fuel pump. They said it had something to do with the VANOS. Was instructed to go back there if the message ever came back, and it never did. No problems so far, love the car.

        • SteersUright

          2010 335 M-sport coupe, nothing but breakdowns and even though it was a CPO and I was covered, it was an utter disappointment to own. It shook my love for BMW’s to where I’ve never owned another since and likely will not until its clear they build better cars.

      • roy

        Well I agree but I’m talking about this particular instance. You have to admit that it’s just bad timing also

  • salamOOn

    #Alfa Romeo #reliabilityfailure #destiny #sad

  • SteersUright

    With Alfa, Fiat & Maserati, FCA is making the Americans and Germans suddenly look like reliable, smart purchases. Umm…not really. The first Corvettes had major engine issues and Motor Trend had a complete replacement in their test car. All hi-po Cadillac engines have major issues. Porsche engines used to like to die on you for various reasons too, but the latest DFI gen are actually looking reasonably solid. But, dont start on Porsche/Audi/BMW electronic nightmares. Hmm, on second thought, it looks like Alfa fits right in! Sigh, if only Lexus with their awesome quality and reliability would produce some truly great performance cars in the $35-70k range. GSF and LC500 are not that. Both very decent but way too overpriced and both way too heavy and with lazy automatics, not dual-clutch or manuals. I’m talking a Lexus to truly challenge an M2, M3, M4, S3, RS3, Cayman S, whatever, something in that range and of that level of driving engagement. Dreams…. Maybe poach a Porsche GT engineer?

  • DMJ

    Would this be news if it was a BMW or Mercedes breaking down?

    • KidRed

      With a new BMW/Merc, of course it would be newsworthy. It’s a new car!

  • izzey04

    no prob with my BMW so far…

  • Duke Woolworth

    The beautiful Italian sweetie has a mustache after all.

    • Alex

      The BMW has the mustache of Hitler

  • Gerald Michael

    Sure all cars break down, but when you’re FCA and spending millions relaunching a storied premium brand back into one of the world’s largest and most important car markets — and at the expense of your other brands — this doesn’t make you look good.

  • Mr Right

    I love these comparisons of how cars perform on the track. so so so so so so irrelevant to the real world. well done guys.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    Okay. So?

    This is just unlucky circumstance.

  • Michelin

    Alfa Romeo needs more more investments. Not in R&D or tests …. in advertising pages on anglo-saxon magazines !!!
    I think pubblicity pages are the best system to improve reliability ratings.

  • Status

    And you, user European, will tell me that an Alfa is worthy? Now you know why they are valued so poorly as they are. Even an American car wouldn’t give up so easily.

    • Matt

      You really shouldn’t judge a car based on a warning light. It is common on all brands. And as the Guilia is an all-new vehicle (i.e. almost no part of the Guilia, engine, platform.. has ever been used before) then a few minor issues shouldn’t be seen as a disaster.

      It’s still a great car, so no need for the sensationalism.

      • Status

        I do, as do thousands of other consumers. Besides, at this level, cars need to perform flawlessly.

  • NS

    The Gulia is such crap! Ugly exterior. What guy in his right mind would buy this feminine car??? Horrible .

    • TheBelltower

      You’re totally right! I’ll do you a favor and take yours off of your hands. And you’re welcome.

    • dragoneroscuro

      Comments from joke

  • Looks like it threw a code and then it got into safe mode after a few miles

  • Axiom Ethos

    Really going back to their roots I see…

  • eb110americana

    I’m sure it was a press car, so it could easily have been abused. But what really gets me is after all that, no reporting on what was actually wrong with the car?! Seriously?!

    • LeStori

      Agree. Poor “Journalism’. All sensation, little information.

  • Kash

    that’s not embarrassing, that’s Italian

    • Alex Rossi

      Your comment is embarrassing. Where are your comments when the Porsche, the Audi and the BMW are burning?

      • Kash

        Well for starters, you won’t find me commenting on Daily Mail articles so if you’re looking there, that’s why.

        The only brands that seem to have a problem with cars catching fire are BMW, Tesla, and Lambo. Lambo admitted it was their fault and recalled the cars to fix their problem.

        Tesla at least admits there’s a problem, granted they say it’s not their fault, but they do acknowledge the problem somewhat.

        BMW says there is no problem even though the only thing the BMW fires have in common is the fact they’re BMW products.

        Porsche? i haven’t heard anything about a Porsche fire in a while, same goes for Audi, at least not ones for production cars in the hands of consumers, unless you’re talking about the Porsche’s being torched in protest of the G20 summit in Germany.

        I can kinda remember the last Porsche fire, it was a 918, but i’m not sure i even remember that and i’m probably just using some logic in saying the 918 with it’s huge battery pack and i’d say it was around the time they started delivering them to customers.

        The last Audi fire i remember reading about was when Audi was testing the new A7 or a powertrain for it. Not really fair to hold a fire during a pre-production testing against a brand, but a car breaking down in the midst of a review/car-to-car testing after the car has been on sale for how long? Fair game. Otherwise, I can’t remember the last Audi fire that was a car in the hands of a consumer.

        If anything a better joke for German brands would be one about electrical gremlins, but that’s just where I’d go to.

        I’ve also owned 3 Maseratis since the new Ghibli came out, I only owned 3 because the first 2 were lemons, there’s also the fact that Fiat consistently sits at the bottom of reliability studies year after year. So my comment does come from a place of logical conclusions, also it was building off the “FIAT: Fix It Again Tony!” joke since Alfa is owned by FCA.

        Do you feel better now that I’ve had to explain a joke, something you clearly didn’t know how to take because that’s what my original comment was, a joke. but you had to go and take it seriously and get all butthurt about it.

    • Alex Rossi
      • Kash

        and? Italian cars break down, have terrible reliability, and BMW’s double as bonfires.

        • Alex Rossi

          Taking fire means reliability. Zero coherence

  • dj_aris

    First of all, the Giulia Q has been repeatedly abused on every race circuit or roundabout from every single motoring journalist that could lay hands on it. And this is the first time I ever see one breakdown. So, no news here. Then again, a check engine light means that you should, well, check it. Not drive it, let alone keep thrashing it around. It could be bad fuel for all we know.

  • john1168

    What broke on the Alfa? Why did it go into limp mode? I didn’t watch video yet. Was it an overheat issue like the Z06 or another issue?

    • john1168

      OK, I have watched the video. What an extremely frustrating video to watch. The whole time they’re babbling about glitches in the Alfa but other than showing the check engine light, they never tell us what’s wrong. And they keep racing it with the check engine light on while complaining that they can’t get it out of normal mode AND THEN they’re all wondering why it went into limp mode and got the driver stuck on the side of the track while complaining that all of the old stereotypes about Alfa are assumed to still be true. These guys are morons…

  • Vassilis

    Meh. It would still be my choice.

  • Benjamin B.

    I want to know what the problem was and why the check engine light came on.

  • Wandering_Spirit

    I’d still go for the Alfa…

  • Richard Sloman

    The Alfa (as with the other cars to a certain degree) does not like left foot braking, if you press the brake and the accelerator at the same time longer than the car likes it will put it into limp mode. So it didn’t break down, the car simply said “You dumb-ass driver, decide if you want to accelerate OR brake, you cant do both…”

  • psiqtas

    Tell me what I’m not surprised by that?

  • KidRed

    It doesn’t matter if the Merc has more power, it has less handling.

  • KidRed

    Not sure why the Merc driver incorrectly says the Merc is the only sports car in estate form. I guess he’s never seen or heard of an RS4 estate.

  • Michelin

    A lot of people speak about cars reliability, but no one certify news reliability!!!

  • getoffme

    It is a FIAT.

  • well at least you reported it honestly.

  • Andys

    it didnt break, they made left feet braking and that caused sw error, only sw update needed

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