Just saying “Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio” is as linguistically beautiful as you can get with a car.

Quadrifoglio is that four-leaf clover on the side of Giulia; Giulia is the compact performance sedan unleashed for the first time ever on American pavement, meant to re-establish the Italian brand as a premier performance player.

And the name isn’t the car’s most pleasing sound. Powered by a 505-horsepower bi-turbo V-6 designed by Ferrari engineers, Giulia Quadrifoglio growls softly but hungrily at idle only to erupt in an all-out howl popping with turbo buzz.

Hitting full throttle from a stop will wag the rear with the kind of rear-wheel drive responsiveness that, for one second, spiked the fear that I’d become part of a YouTube compilation of Cars & Coffee crashes by underqualified drivers in overpowered cars. It’s wild if you want it to be.

The tracks in our area were closed for the season and it’s probably a good thing: It would have taken more than a day to negotiate the balance between Giulia’s startling power and sensitive temperament.

With 443 pound-feet of torque available as low as 2,000 rpm, Giulia (base price $70,000; as tested, $80,000) demands patience and understanding.

There were times where we could come out of a turn with an effortless rear kick, as well as shake the rear from a dead stop. Though we didn’t have the track space for proper drifting, it feels fully, delightfully capable.

Yet at more constant speeds the near-perfect weight distribution between the axles, as well as an adaptive suspension (double wishbone up front), enable high-speed maneuvers with confidence. The wheels read the road independently of each other, keeping more of those grippy Pirelli P-Zero tires on the pavement.

It is, in short, a driver’s car, where the more you push it, the more it will let you ride the thrill curve.

On a straight shot, Giulia hits 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, according to Alfa. It’s the most powerful and quickest production Alfa ever.

The carbon fiber splitter, as well as wide and tall air intakes, including two Viperish slots in the carbon fiber hood, and all the lightweight carbon fiber elements including the shell, keeps weight down and performance up.

The high-performance brake system is equally responsive; it took me a couple of days to ease into a stop sign without jerking around passengers. At higher speeds, when it’s most needed, the braking was exceptional.

Giulia is not perfect, however, and it needs to be to turn heads and pocketbooks away from the BMW M3.

In dynamic mode, flooring the throttle without release, the eight-speed transmission will hunt above 6,000 rpm for second gear. That hitch, or quarter-second pause, feels like a disconcerting eternity when in midadrenaline rush. It’s like coffee suddenly going cold as it hits your lip, or skiing a chute that immediately becomes a catwalk. It is rush interrupted.

Fortunately, it’s easily remedied with the long paddle shifters. The quick-flicking paddle with a nice spring back gives the driver a tactile control over the car that is a nice compromise for not having a manual transmission. There is no pause with the paddles.

Regardless, the eight-speed automatic should be better equipped to handle the shift on its own. We’re hoping a mere recalibration will correct it.

The bi-turbo does not mitigate lag, as intended. The reason for that dead-stop wag is that 443 pound-feet of torque ratcheting up at 2,000 rpm before the car is really moving. In modes other than dynamic we didn’t notice the lag.

But the Alfa also can return to more civilized applications. The tester came with four available drive modes that Alfa labels as DNA: Dynamic, Natural, Advanced efficiency and Race.

At highway cruising speed in A mode, three of the six cylinders shut down to conserve fuel, same as the cylinder deactivation in four of the eight cylinders in the new Corvette.

There are no mpg estimates just yet, and Alfa hasn’t disclosed the wet weight, or curb weight of the car, though 3,500 to 3,600 pounds is reasonable. Lightweighting everywhere further optimizes efficiency.

Giulia turned many heads and prompted the same question: What is that? There’s no mistaking its performance sedan stance, with bright yellow Brembo brake calipers bleeding through 19-inch wheels, the air intakes front, top and side, which flow down the body panel in a subtle but distinct scoop into the rear door handles.

It is familiar in shape but distinct in execution, and not just because the four-leaf clover on the front quarter panel by the door.

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