The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a unique sports sedan. While most of the exciting features are related to performance — 505 horsepower, 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, a top speed of 191 MPH — I’m more impressed by the tech features, which are normally found only in luxury cars like the BMW 7 or the Audi A8. They are preparing us for a day when cars are fully autonomous and connected to each other, yet still provide a manual hands-on-the-wheel driving experience when you want to get your heart racing.
At the Twin Cities Auto Show today, I managed to get a sneak peak at a car that will arrive in a few weeks for a full hands-on test.
One of the most interesting tech features for spirited driving has to do with adaptive cruise control. I’ve tested this automated feature many times in other cars, but on the Giulia, it could be a fantastic addition because of how it works at the full range of speed, around corners and even on the track.
As you drive, a sensor looks for the car in front of you. It matches the speed, so if you’re on the highway and the cars are all going 70 MPH, the Giulia will follow that speed. If there’s a stoplight up ahead, the car will slow all the way down to zero. You can then resume back up to full speed. In a performance car, it means you can focus on steering and lane-keeping. Of course, you can also disable adaptive cruise for a quick burst of speed and to pass other cars. For a commute, it’s a safer way to drive because, while you should stay vigilant at all times, if you do get distracted and cars start jamming up way in front of you, the Giulia will slow down automatically. In traffic, you can start and stop autonomously.
The Giulia also has fully autonomous emergency braking. If you don’t notice a danger, the car will brake down to a full stop for you.
What comes next? We hear a lot about small compacts that drive on their own. Soon, performance cars could even drive in a way that is more spirited and take corners the best way possible, braking perfectly and constantly watching for other cars. We’ll be able to maintain total control or use assistance features — similar to how a game like Forza works on an Xbox One.