THE 90th anniversary of the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ (green four-leaf clover), the legendary symbol that has identified Alfa Romeo’s sportiest models, is being celebrated this year.
That refers not only to the cars which have taken to the world’s race circuits, but also to certain special production versions.
The origin of this symbol has been lost in legend, but it is interesting to note its correspondence with the flag that distinguished the aeroplanes of the “10th Caproni Bomber Squadron” in the Great War.
Today the Quadrifoglio is part of the Italian Air Force’s coat of arms and at the same time remains the symbol of Alfa Romeo’s philosophy, based on the constant pursuit of excellence applied to competitions and then completely transferred to its production vehicles.
The first Alfa Romeo car to be adorned with the quadrifoglio verde was Ugo Sivocci’s ‘RL’. In it he won the 14th edition of the Targa Florio in 1923. Since then, all of Alfa’s racing cars have been distinguished by this emblem and lucky charm, known throughout the world, the same which characterised certain standard production Alfa Romeos from the 1960s onwards.
The ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ is present today on the Giulietta and MiTo, the latest models which have already assumed a place in the tradition of the best Alfa Romeos, drawing on the heritage of dynamic performance, without compromising on efficiency, respect for the environment and convenience in everyday use.
A sports tradition that lives on in the brand-new Alfa Romeo MiTo SBK Limited Edition 1.4 170 BHP QV, a concentrate of technology and design derived from the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ version and produced in a limited run of 200 examples.
The symbol recognised on race circuits and streets throughout the world
The ‘Quadrifoglio’ became an emblem linked to Alfa Romeo in 1923, when Ugo Sivocci was the first to decide to race in the Targa Florio with this symbol painted on the bonnet of his ‘RL’, achieving the first of the brand’s ten victories in this prestigious competition.
Victory followed a perfect race: 432 kilometres of the Madonìe Circuit (4 laps of 108 km each) at an average of 59.040 km/h, a speed which was amazing at the time, above all considering the pitfalls and roughness of the course.
Alfa Romeo’s success was so clear that the other drivers of the Alfa Romeo team – including Enzo Ferrari, Antonio Ascari and Giulio Ramponi – decided to adopt the lucky ‘quadrifoglio verde’ for all other races as well. From this moment on, the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ became the symbol of Alfa Romeo race cars and was later also used on special series of production models to demonstrate the continuity between Alfa’s “touring” cars and those designed for competition.
It was the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ that stood out against the dark red of Brilli Peri’s ‘P2’ when he won the first “World Car Racing Championship” at Monza in 1925, the first of the five world titles that Alfa Romeo won.
At the end of the 1920s, it was the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ that distinguished the Alfa Romeos built by the parent company from the Alfa Romeos with the prancing horse, managed by the “Scuderia Ferrari”, on the racetrack.
In 1950 and 1951, Giuseppe “Nino” Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio drove the Alfa Romeo 158 and 159 – the celebrated “Alfettas” – to victory in the first two Formula 1 World Championships.
Then, in the 1960s, the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ was the hallmark of the “ready-to-race” version of the “Giulia”, the “TI Super”, and then sat beside the blue Autodelta triangle for a number of decades, from the “GTA” to the “33” and up to the two World Championships of the “33 TT 12” (1975) and the “33 SC 12” (1977).
Alfa Romeo’s racing activity carried on in the 1980s: after it returned to F1 in 1980, the successes in racing for touring cars were repeated (“GTV 6 2.5”) up to the resounding victory in the “DTM” (“Deutsche Tourenwagen Mesterschaft”) with the “155 V6 Ti” in 1993 and the long series of wins by the “156 Superturismo” (1998-2004).
Production Alfa Romeos have also carried the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’, particularly high-performance models built from the 1960s to the 1980s. Some feature the symbol on the body, without an appearance in the official name: “Giulia TI Super”, “Giulia Sprint GT Veloce”, “1750 GT Veloce” – which is actually golden – “Alfasud Sprint”.
From the 1980s onward, others have ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ as part of their official name, such as the “Alfasud ti Quadrifoglio Verde”, the “Sprint Quadrifoglio Verde”, the various versions of the “33 Quadrifoglio Verde”, the “75 Quadrifoglio Verde” (also in its USA version), the Spider 2.0 “Quadrifoglio Verde”, the “164 Quadrifoglio Verde” and the “145 Quadrifoglio Verde”.
The ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ returns to the current Giulietta and MiTo models
Distinguished by the legendary emblem, the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ versions of the MiTo and Giulietta have assumed a place in the tradition of the best Alfa Romeos, drawing on the heritage of dynamic performance, without compromising on efficiency, respect for the environment and convenience in everyday use.
In particular, the exclusive 235 BHP Giulietta 1750 TBi Cloverleaf offers the most high-performance engine in the range and an authentic sports set-up which ensures segment-leading driving pleasure with surprisingly limited fuel consumption and emissions for this power rating.
The 1750 TBi boasts a specific torque of 195 Nm/litre (one of the highest of all petrol engines in the category) and – an outstanding characteristic – a torque output of 340 Nm achieved at just 1,900 rpm. The engine features some cutting-edge technological solutions, including direct petrol injection, dual continuous variable valve timing, a turbocharger and a revolutionary ‘scavenging’ control system that eliminates so called ‘turbo lag’.
The 170 BHP MiTo ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ 1.4 MultiAir Turbo also ensures excellent performance, offering a specific power value (124 BHP/litre) among the highest in the world and a chassis worthy of a higher category. Moreover, the pièce de résistance of this engine version is its exceptional weight/power ratio (6.7 kg/BHP), which has always been one of the key factors behind the success of Alfa Romeo cars on the road and the race track.
Thanks to their sports and safety characteristics, the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ versions of the MiTo and Giulietta have played the role of Official Safety Car in the various seasons of the SBK Superbike World Championship. Alfa Romeo has been its Top Sponsor since 2007, sharing the same values of sportsmanship, technology and safety at the highest levels. This year the baton is taken up by the MiTo SBK Limited Edition 1.4 170 BHP QV.
Alfa Romeo MiTo SBK Limited Edition 1.4 170 BHP QV
Produced as a limited edition of 200 examples and created on the base of the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ version, the new MiTo SBK Limited Edition is distinguished by some specific elements that highlight its extreme sports appearance: from the side skirts to the rear dam, as well as the eye-catching red Brembo brake calipers behind the 18″ titanium alloy wheels. The exclusive version also adopts the most powerful engine in the range, the 170 BHP 1.4 MultiAir Turbo, which powers it from 0 to 100 km/h in just over 7 seconds.
The MiTo SBK Limited Edition comes in black with an Alfa red roof. The same sporty imprint has been given to the interior, enhanced by the Sabelt seats with a wraparound carbon fibre backrest made with the innovative RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding) technology that teams great mechanical resistance with smaller dimensions and lightness. The Alfa Romeo logo stands out against the central Alcantara® fabric, reproduced in an absolutely original way. It is all embellished with new red stitching that highlights the craftsmanship of the product, found on the leather trim of the gearbox and steering wheel, the latter complete with radio controls. Lastly, the central panel of the dashboard is made truly unique by the SBK Limited Edition plate with progressive numbering from 1 to 200.
The extensive standard equipment includes: sports pedal unit, two-tone paintwork, Titanio Grey headlight and light cluster surrounds, rear parking sensors, automatic dual-zone climate control, steering wheel radio and telephone controls, Blue&MeTM Bluetooth® hands free system with voice commands and MP3 media player with USB port and AUX-in socket, specific Titanio Grey ‘SBK Limited Edition’ stickers and setup for a portable satellite navigation device.