What is it?
The new Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Or rather what would have been called the Cloverleaf before Alfa Romeo retired the English descriptive and reverted to the Quadrifoglio Verde used in Italy and elsewhere.
If that looks to you like the kind of name Tolkien would have given a dwarf then shame on you; Quadrifoglio Verde essentially means four-leaf clover in Italian and is the good luck emblem racing Alfas have been wearing since the ’20s.
The leafage has been a feature of road cars since the ’60s; not all of them, it must be said, worthy of the distinction. That much has been particularly true of the recent output, with the previous Giulietta dismissed as overpriced and undercooked when it appeared in the UK back in 2010.
To fix this complaint, Alfa has removed the 1750 Turbo engine and manual gearbox previously used, and replaced it with the powertrain from the 4C. The lightened version of the same direct-injected four-pot may only produce 5bhp more at 237bhp, but it comes attached to the dual-clutch, six-speed TCT gearbox as standard.
While a paddle shifter may not be everyone’s idea of hot hatch heaven, it does ensure that - when used in conjunction with the QV’s launch control - that almost a second has been shaved from the car’s 0-62mph time. It also benefits from a modest CO2 emission drop; the fall from 177g/km to 162g/km ensuring that the latest model tumbles handily back two VED bands.