Performance is part and parcel of the Alfa Romeo experience. It's why the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is the most powerful engine of its kind in the segment. It's also why it's easier finding an auditory clip of said engine on the Alfa website than it is finding the fuel economy estimates. Who cares about mileage when you can listen to that raspy four run up to redline?
The class-leading 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque is an ample amount of gusto for a turbo engine with only four cylinders and two liters of displacement. The Guilia translates these numbers into a 5.1 second zero-to-60 mph run and a top speed limited to 130 mph. This is an engine that's smooth and responsive across the powerband, and the eight-speed automatic transmission that it's paired with has a good knack of knowing what gear to be in at all times. As good as it is, though, it can't quite match the refinement of BMW's four that can be found in the 3-Series.
Trying to punish the Guilia on lumpy and bumpy roads leads to the refreshing realization that this isn't a car with an uncompromised sport suspension. Yes, it's firm, but engineers left enough leniency in the tuning to let it absorb all the imperfections that scar America's timeworn pavement. Base models with their small 17-inch wheels ride the best, thanks to that big sidewall; the better-looking 18-inchers are a tad more firm over the road, but such is the price paid for style.
Hands down, it's the steering that constantly reminds drivers they're piloting an Alfa. Other sport sedans feel like they've been drugged and numbed compared to the Guilia's downright antsy tiller. It's a joy on the back roads, where every pebble, dip, and divot is transmuted to the driver. It's another story on the highway, where just the tiniest input leads to a spastic dart toward another lane.
As for the Quadrifoglio, it's another beast entirely. The centerpiece of the Quad is its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6, a mill that traces its roots directly from the House of Ferrari. With 505 hp and a sound to die for, the visceral thrill it provides alludes to what a four-door Ferrari might be like, were the Prancing Horse marque ever to build such a plebian machine. The zero-to-60 mph time is a 3.8-second affair, and top speed is 170 mph.