MANY will attest that you make your own luck, but surely a four-leafed clover must help?
Not so long ago you needed a hefty amount of good fortune to reach your destination in an Alfa Romeo.
Nowadays the marque is under the guidance of Fiat, which aims to mix some longevity and reliability with the traditional Italian passion.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde (QV for short) is a fine example of the partnership.
The QV lineage can be traced back to Alfa Romeo's 1920s racing days when securing victory in the Targa Florio with Ugo Sivocci at the wheel.
This Giulietta is a racy little thing, sharing its engine with the carbon fibre 4C mini-supercar. It's not quite as potent, but you do get a whole lot more convenience, with five seats and a ride which doesn't rattle your fillings.
Passion is ignited within the cabin and the relationship is somewhat love-hate.
The combination leather and alcantara sports seats offer the typical sporting support, but it's the Alfa embossing and the contrasting green and white QV stitching used on the park brake, gear shifter and white on the flat-bottom steering wheel which sets things apart.
Aluminium pedals and slick kick plates; there is ample Italian charm to make it feel like something special.
But there are drawbacks. Some interesting rough material is used on the door-tops, nothing that would remove skin but still an interesting texture to be used in such a location.
Then there is the cruise control stalk which is awkwardly positioned behind the steering wheel. They must have taken inspiration from the French.
There is also a pair cup holders in the console which are so close together that it's difficult to fit two coffee cups. Mamma mia!
Not all find it an accommodating cabin. Being vertically challenged assisted this author, but it can be difficult to get the steering wheel in the right spot even with telescopic adjustment and the centre console encroaches on legroom, with the pedals too close for comfort.
On the road
Potent with fierce acceleration, the Giulietta QV excels when tested.
Under normal and well-behaved circumstances the six-speed twin clutch automatic can feel jilted and sluggish. It's not as jerky or poorly behaved like some of the Fiat drivetrains, just don't expect silky- smooth cog-swapping.
There are three personalities available at the push of a switch, dynamic for unleashing the QV beast, natural for the majority of driving and all weather for when you need extra grip in slippery conditions.
It's in dynamic that things really get interesting and those gear shifts feel more cohesive.
With the auto box it's 0.8 quicker in the 0-100kmh sprint than the manual and achieves a pretty swift six seconds when you use the launch control function.
Accompanying the squirt of the throttle is a nice exhaust tune, aided by the fuel intake unit called QV Intake Engine Sound. Fancy name, but the soundtrack is up to the hype.
The front-wheeler likes being pushed too, and hangs on nicely when the road gets bendy.
Pull left or right on the wheel and the driver can feel confident with direct steering that gives a sense of control.
Four-piston Brembo brakes offer some handy breaking power and jumping on the picks has a nice linear feel through the pedal.
What do you get?
Given its price positioning, the QV rightfully gets plenty of kit, including the 16.5cm colour screen with USB/auxiliary and full Bluetooth phone connectivity synced to the nine-speaker Bose stereo, leather and alcantara trimmed pews, sports pedals, dual zone air con, flat-bottom steering wheel, racing suspension, body kit and 18-inch alloys.
Here's where the sport Alfa struggles, with some opposition around this price. Included in the competition are some prestige offerings, like the Audi S1 ($49,900) BMW 125i ($48,000) and Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport ($51,000), along with the specifically- sporty VW Golf GTI ($41,990), Mini Cooper S 5D ($38,050), Renault Megane GT220 Prem ($39,490) and Ford Focus ST ($38,290).
Rear seat space is confined, even with below-average size adults up front with the greatest issue knee and leg room.
The boot is compact, but load space is bolstered by the flexibility of being able to drop the rear seatbacks.
More storage space in the console would also be handy, especially in front of the shifter as there are limited spots to store your phone or audio device when it's plugged into the power sources.
Over the course of a week we achieved an average of 8.7 litres/100km, nearly two litres above the official figure. That is still reasonable considering we managed to exercise its lithe abilities regularly.
There are currently no capped servicing plans available with Alfa Romeo, but with the marque coming under the Fiat banner parts and maintenance shouldn't be prohibitive.
With dual pipes, body kit, lowered ride height and that proud Alfa grille, the Giulietta is a beautiful thing. The ladies especially appreciate this model in all trims.
The automatic models also get glossy finishes on the door mirror fairings, door handles, grille and fog light frames.
The Giulietta QV is quintessentially Alfa Romeo. There is a lot to love, but equally plenty which is frustrating.
Fun and exciting, it's an Italian with swagger which outweighs its size.
What matters most
What we liked: Impressive acceleration oomph, sporting touches in the cabin, good looks.
What we'd like to see: Reversing camera should be standard, smoother automatic, larger cup holders.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year/150,000km warranty with roadside assist. Servicing schedule is 12 months/17,500km.
Verdict: 3.5 stars
Model: Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde TCT.
Details: Four-door, five-seat front-wheel drive performance hatchback.
Engine: 1.75-litre turbocharged four-cylinder generating maximum power of 177kW @ 5750rpm and peak torque of 340Nm @ 1900rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed twin clutch automatic with paddle shifters.
Consumption: 7.0 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100kmh in six seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $42,000.
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