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Alfa’s proudly South African Squadra Corse

08.07.2015

CARS that are developed locally tend to be very popular and well-liked amongst the motoring fraternity. Take the BMW 333i and Opel’s Superboss in the 80s. Both machines developed to take part in motorsport, locally. Then there are cars like the Volkswagen Citi Golf and Toyota’s Tazz, which were also cars developed locally but more for budget motoring.

Alfa’s partnership

Alfa Romeo is not very well-known for local development, but recently the Italian automaker partnered with local tuning company, Rob Green Motorsport (RGM), to develop the Giulietta QV into something called the Squadra Corse. I remember driving the standard QV and thinking that the car could use more dynamism to turn it into a proper hot hatch.

What have they done?

The guys at RGM have remapped the ECU and fitted a performance exhaust. The result of these upgrades is a claimed 210kW (177kW standard) and I assume, around 380-390Nm of torque as no official figures have been provided.

Then there’s also a new body-kit fitted to the special edition model, which includes various carbon fibre bits, a rear diffuser and new side skirts. There are also Squadra Corse stickers and an Italian flag pinstripe running along the bonnet, roof and boot lid of the car.

How does it go?

The car doesn’t feel as if it has 210kW but it does go very well, however, in comparison to other mapped hot hatches that I’ve driven, this car feels a bit more conservative.

It does make one heck of a noise. Without any catalytic converters and a larger stainless steel exhaust system, the car really booms down the road and even provides those burps from the exhaust on up-shifts from the TCT dual-clutch gearbox.

Daily driving vs dynamics

This is an area where Volkswagen excels with its GTI models, which seem to achieve this balancing act of performance, handling and comfort. The Alfa is a less accomplished all-rounder in this regard as it handles well however, it’s not as razor sharp as a Renault Mégane Trophy or as comfortable as a VW Golf GTI or a Ford Focus ST. It does have exclusivity and style on its side as only 100 of these 1 750 Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde Squadra Corse TCT’s will be made locally.

The fact that the car has an automatic transmission and the U-connect infotainment system with voice control/Bluetooth/USB/AUX functionality, cruise control, climate control, multi-function steering wheel and PDC, to name a few, means that you get a car that is well-kitted and features the items that we all desire in a daily drive.

The DNA system driving mode is less effective in this car, from my experience, as all I noted in Natural mode was that the car’s throttle response became a bit dull; I would prefer an exhaust flap to - dare I say it - quieten the beast and differentiate the two modes a bit more. In Dynamic mode the car also holds on to gears for too long, so I resorted to Manual shifting while the All-weather setting would rarely be used locally.

Verdict

It was truly great to drive a few Alfa Romeo products. The 4C was magnificent, the Mito reminded me of that charm that the brand is famous for and this Squadra Corse showed me that Alfa Romeo is still a brand that people should get excited about. Bring on the Giulia, I say!

 

Article written by Sean Nurse
08.07.2015
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Posted by: Shiraz
Submitted: 02-05-2016
I love the exhaust note of the Squadra Corse.