THIS car is a well-timed reminder of just why I wanted to do this job in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got the best job in the world.
But cars are becoming boringly identikit these days: SUV, hybrid or EV robot, and many of them are the same car in a different frock as global firms club together to save money.
Thankfully, Alfa didn’t get the memo because it has just wheeled out the limited-edition Giulia GTA and GTAm.
Oh, my days. Lighter, louder and faster than the already brilliant Giulia Quadrifoglio and as fit as a butcher’s.
The GTAm — the one we’ve tested here — is basically a road-legal racing car.
Big rear wing, single-nut wheels like an F1 car, wider track, aero tweaks by Sauber, polycarbonate rear windows, carbon-fibre everything, and a roll cage and fire extinguisher instead of the back seats.
As I said, racing car with number plates.
Arriving home after a quick play, I went to open my front door and instead of walking straight in, I stopped and turned to have another look.
I can’t remember the last time when that happened.
The word “headturner” is overused these days but this one really is.
And here’s another thing I haven’t done in a while. I got up at 5am while the rest of the house was still asleep, to hit the open road.
It was worth it — and it leads me nicely to the heart of this car.
The not-so-standard Quadrifoglio uses a Ferrari engine with two cylinders lopped off.
The GTAm uses that same 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 but turned up 30 horses to 540hp.
All that power goes to the rear wheels, so don’t be surprised if you get the wheels spinning in third.
Fast and entertaining, then? Very.
The steering is pin-sharp, almost telepathic, and you can feel the lightness and rigidity of this car when you hurry it.
Saying all that, you’d expect the GTAm to be impossible to live with, day to day.
But it’s not. B-road, city road, whatever, it soaks up our bumps and holes as good as anything else. Which was a lovely surprise.
I do have a few quibbles, though.
The seatbelt alarm. We all know how annoying that is. I strapped myself in with the racing harnesses but because the normal seatbelt wasn’t connected, the “Bong, bong, bong!” wouldn’t stop. So I ended up wearing both.
Then there’s the price. The GTAm costs £153k and the GTA — smaller rear wing, rear seats, no roll cage — is £149k.
You can get a Quadrifoglio for less than half that. Nonetheless, Alfa will have no problem selling all 500 cars and should be applauded for giving us one last dance with a pure combustion engine.
For me, the GTAm is the perfect halo car.
Ninety-nine-point-nine per cent of people who want one will never get close to one — but it will turn them on to the Alfa badge.
I’ll finish with a true story. My brother’s missus had a deposit ready for a Jaguar F-Pace. But after ten minutes in the GTAm, there’s now a Stelvio sat on their drive.
That’s the power of cars such as this.
Can’t see us saying that in ten years’ time.
KEY FACTS: ALFA ROMEO GIULIA GTAm
Engine: 2.9-litre V6 turbo
Power: 540hp, 600Nm
0-62mph: 3.8 secs
0-124mph: 11.9 secs
Top speed: 186mph
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