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You can’t underestimate the visceral pull of the new Giulia Quadrifoglio’s 505 horsepower wrapped in Alfa Romeo’s sweet, seductive sheetmetal. Autoblog said the hottest Giulia “puts some practical meat on the bone for American drivers bored of the usual Audi A4/Mercedes C-Class/BMW 3 Series suspects.”

The Quadrifoglio delivers 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and laps the Nürburgring Nordschleife in just 7:32. This makes it – for the moment – the fastest four-passenger production car around the 12.9-mile circuit.

Austin’s Circuit of the Americas F1 venue isn’t Germany’s Nordschleife, but that’s where the Texas Auto Writers Association gathered for its annual Spring Roundup – some 50 auto writers, broadcasters and bloggers evaluating 40-plus cars and crossovers in 11 categories, with best-of-class wins such as Performance Car of Texas, Family Car of Texas and – ultimately – best of show, the Car of Texas. In a vote as out of the blue as that one back in November, Giulia got the nod.

When evaluating a Car of Texas at a track, the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a no-brainer. Beyond its brute power is a linear dynamic behind the wheel, even if the track’s official road speed for this event was 60 miles per hour. Competing against it in the Performance Sedan category were the Dodge Charger R/T and SRT Hellcat, along with a Lexus GS F and VW Jetta GLI. Beyond its surfeit of power is the Giulia’s raucous personality and – we’ll admit – novelty. Many of the younger journalists at COTA had only vague memories of the brand.

This was also, regrettably, a relatively weak grouping of performance machinery. The headliners – such as the Mercedes-AMG GT S and Nissan GT-R – were prominent, but cars most likely to be tagged a Car of Texas, such as a Shelby Mustang or hot Camaro, weren’t. Ford brought only its Focus RS, and GM execs have deemed regional press events not worthy of their attention. Also, both BMW and Audi were no-shows, although – in defense of the Giulia – the M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63S were whipped by the Alfa in at least one recent hot sedan comparison. In short, Alfa swept a smallish field.

But a win’s a win, and every win bodes well for Alfa, even in a market where the first car is a truck, and the second car might be a second truck.

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