105 km of track and a single companion for the ride: the rain. An unexpected turn of events which proved to be the ideal condition truly to put to the test the mechanics of the Alfa Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio on the tarmac of the Balocco proving ground. The occasion was the event entitled “Accademia di Guida Alfa Romeo” (Alfa Romeo Driving Academy), during which the car make revealed to the press the technical secrets to the driving dynamics of its cars.
Also on the track were Pirelli as technical partner, who have flanked the Alfa Romeo Make for 90 years in a long partnership of joint development to provide every car with the perfect tyre, in accordance with the Pirelli Perfect Fit strategy which employs more than 1,800 technicians in the R&D department conducting thousands of hours of indoor and outdoor tests. A journey through around 180 prototypes and 4,000 tyres produced and tested. Major figures for a single tyre: a tyre that is capable of enhancing the car’s mechanics, that particular tyre that is not caught off-guard by sudden rainfall along the bends of a circuit.
The results of this joint effort between the two Milan-based brands, who have left an indelible mark on the automotive universe and in the world of sports competitions with memorable records, translate into an exciting and unforgettable driving experience behind the wheel of the new generation of Alfa Romeos: the focus lies on the driver, with the safety, fun, and above all the pleasure of gripping the wheel and fully enjoying every moment thanks to the outstanding balance of power and control which translates to the vehicles’ almost hypnotic dance on the wet tarmac. You will automatically hold your breath a moment while the Giulia Quadrifoglio, coming out of the bend, seems right on the verge of escaping and then safely returns with a smooth, perfect movement that sets it back on axis, ready to devour the track, uncaring of the incessant rain.
Alfa Romeo calls this dance “La meccanica delle emozioni” - or mechanics of emotions - and it has become the focus of its inspirations and of its everyday work. Emotions and mechanics: two worlds that appear distant yet which in the new generation of Alfa Romeo cars coexist aboard the passenger compartment, in the hands of the driver. Indeed, it is specifically mechanics which give rise to those emotions, with exclusive, cutting-edge technological solutions that guarantee a unique driving experience for drivers who want no compromise, demanding the very best performance, teamed with fun and safety. Technologies developed for the fastest cars in the range - the Quadrifoglio - and then also applied to other models by the Alfa Romeo Make.
The Balocco Experimental Centre was the perfect setting to stage and test in an original way all the exclusive mechanical solutions afforded by Alfa, in the form of technical workshops and driving sessions on the track alongside expert drivers, in a balanced alternation of theoretical investigations and practical tests which provided an all-encompassing experience during the Accademia di Guida event.
Four technical areas were investigated: Q4 four-wheel drive, Integrated Brake System, torque vectoring and the exclusive architecture of the Alfa Link suspension.
1. Four-wheel drive with Q4 technology is designed for the reactive and predictive management of the vehicle traction, guaranteeing performance, safety and efficiency. The Alfa Romeo Q4 system therefore provides all the benefits of four-wheel drive and, at the same time, it offers the reduced consumption levels, responsiveness and all the driving satisfaction of a car with rear drive. What’s more, the versions with Q4 four-wheel drive are completed by a Q2 mechanical self-locking differential at the rear, which is also available upon request on the versions with rear drive only.
2. IBS (Integrated Brake System) is an innovative electromechanical system exclusive to Alfa Romeo, combining stability control with a traditional servo brake to deliver instantaneous brake response and hence shorten stopping distances, while also making a significant contribution to weight optimisation. Among other things, the braking system is available on the Quadrifoglio versions also with a carbon ceramic system that allows a weight reduction of 5 kg per disc and therefore 20 kg for the entire vehicle.
3. Alfa Active Torque Vectoring technology controls torque delivery to each wheel separately via the two electronically controlled clutches in the rear differential. This guarantees greater stability and handling for the car even in extreme conditions. Alfa Active Torque Vectoring, like all the other active control systems, is managed by the Chassis Domain Control: a single central “brain” for the car made by Alfa Romeo, with proprietary algorithms, to coordinate smoothly and in real-time all the electronic devices which affect the road behaviour, ensuring the driving experience remains extremely natural, instinctive and safe at all times.
4. The sophisticated suspension system, the most advanced in the segment, features exclusive Alfa Link technology: for the front axle, the high double-wishbone suspension with double lower track control arm with semi-virtual steering axis (exclusive to Alfa Romeo) was picked to optimise bump filtration and ensure quick, precise responses to steering inputs. For the rear axle, the option was a four-and-a-half link Multilink system - patented by Alfa Romeo - to deliver a winning combination of handling and comfort. The suspension set-up allows the system to be extremely rigid on bends and at the same time flexible longitudinally.
This was the perfect context for the application on the track side of the Pirelli investigation - based on the long-standing partnership between the two companies - illustrating the Perfect Fit strategy applied to the Alfa Romeo car tyres. In 1950 the Alfa 158 was fitted with Pirelli Stella Bianca tyres, enabling it to win the first F1 world championship; these days Pirelli Perfect Fit for Alfa means 43 type approvals for Pirelli tyres on Alfa Romeo cars, of which 33 are marked with the acronym AR on the side.
A story of excellence, one that is strictly all-Italian.