To Answer Your Question, Let's Compare Them All!

2017 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
All Photos by Randy Stern

Considering I had a short run of big headline, high horsepower cars – I felt compelled to do a mental comparison of them.

Except, there was a small problem. To compare them, I have to throw out the old "apples to oranges" comparison. Because comparing an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and the Lexus LC 500 is exactly that – apples to oranges.

Yet, it would seem somewhat logical to examine which one would be more suitable for the "living with it" testing environment. The Alfa Romeo represents the intersection of its past and present, as fine-tuned by a Ferrari-developed twin-turbocharged V6 and yards of carbon fiber all around. On the other hand, there’s the Lexus grand tourer that was originally a concept turned into a production car with a powerful V8 underneath its hood.

This comparison could be one for the ages – Italy vs. Japan. A V6 with two turbos vs. a naturally-aspired V8. A sedan vs. a coupe. The logic sort of seems fair…after all, you asked the original question.

Yet, another small problem came into play. You see, the Giulia Quadrifoglio and LC 500 wear some hefty price tags on their sleeves. Which provoked some additional thought in comparing and contrasting these two high-performance cars. While driving both of them, two other cars from my past work popped into my head – the Lexus RC F and the Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack.

2017 Lexus RC F

Now, this gets interesting.

With a field of four cars – a high-performance sports sedan, a grand touring coupe, a high-performance sports coupe, and a high-performance big sedan – which one would I prefer above all else?

Where do I begin?

All four of these cars deliver the goods underneath the hood. Yet, each has their own personality in delivering the goods. While the RC F and LC 500 have the same engine, the former is more of a muscle car than the refined grand tourer. Yet, the LC 500 has a more pronounced exhaust note than the smaller, lighter RC F. Though I like the four-tip exhaust in the RC F…you see the problem here?

The Charger's 6.4-liter "392" V8 rocks harder than the Lexuses and the Alfa Romeo. You can feel the SRT V8 inside the car – just like an old school muscle car. On the other hand, the Ferrari-developed Alfa Romeo twin-turbo V6 has more horsepower, which is felt at the top end. It goes like stink, but it lacks drama from its four-tip exhaust. At least that is what you said – it's quiet.

The driving experience is clearly different among all four. The LC is refined, though it has large tires and Active Rear Steering to help its cause in terms of combining a grand touring feel with technological assistance. The RC F loves to run and makes no apologies when you set it up in Sport S+ for a track-like experience. Yet, it can also be a chill out car when cruising on the highway.

2016 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

The Charger may seem brutal to drive, but it can be a pussycat while cruising on the Interstate. Still, one blip of the throttle will send it into the next county with enough exhaust burble pronouncing its arrival. Yet, the Giulia Quadrifoglio requires some work to make sure it drives right. There are moments when it rides smooth, but in Dynamic mode, it can firm up to hunt for twisting roads.

Considering the driving experience of all four cars, this is a tough choice to make. Again, each has its own personality on the road. I must dig deeper.

So, let's climb inside. The LC 500's cabin is groundbreaking for Lexus, combining familiar elements with a near-bespoke finish. In my tester, I had a great combination of leather and Alcantara to elevate the experience. Yet, I found the RC F’s seats more comfortable and forgiving to my body. I also found the instrument panel with its set-back Entune infotainment screen and smaller trackpad controller more to my liking. I would love to trade the simplicity of the LC’s instrument binnacle into the RC F – to eliminate that extra analog speedometer in the latter.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio combines heritage with some advances in design. While the instrumentation was fine, I would have liked a better infotainment system that is easier to use and reliable. I was surprised how fatigue-free the optional Sparco carbon fiber racing seats were. I would like have tried to drive the car with the standard seats to see if there’s any true difference between the two in contrast to the other cars being discussed here. On the other hand, the Charger’s cabin had seats that were not entirely comfortable or supportive. Yet, I like the big instrument panel and console, backed by the reliable Uconnect infotainment system and the plethora of information available to me.

2018 Lexus LC 500

I could discuss the exterior design, but my problem here is the four distinct personalities each car offers to my eyes. The Lexus LC 500 is a low slung grand tourer with compelling looks that make it stand apart in the crowd. The RC F is a classic coupe that combines the best of all worlds – part-muscle car, part-classic sports coupe. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is a classic Alfa Romeo set to modern dimensions. The Charger is an all-American badass with four doors and no apologies.

In all, each one offers its own presence and delivery of driving experiences. Since I am the one that works with these cars, I would have to be the one to choose…right?

In the interest of engaging you in this conversation, I created a survey through our friends at SurveyMonkey (the official poll-taker of #VOTY) to find out which one you would choose between these four vehicles. Here is what you came up with…

2017 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio

You said that would prefer the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio above the rest. That does not surprise me. The traffic on social media dictated how you liked the Italian performance sedan above all. The Lexus LC 500 came in second, with the Dodge Charger and RC F following behind.

However, I must respectfully disagree. The Giulia is a wonderful car made for the enthusiast who demands something Italian and is willing to live with it. It is a superb sedan that has a temper and a few flaws in it. Then again, every vehicle has their own flaws.

The Lexus LC 500 is also a superb car. Yet, the low height, wide doors, and the seats ended up getting the best of me. Still, it is a wonderful grand touring 2+2 coupe for those looking to step away from the ultra-luxury set and have their cake, too.

Which means both the Charger and the RC F remain. Frankly, I love them both equally. They symbolize two different kinds of cars that offer high horsepower, muscle car attitude, and a style onto their own.

2017 Lexus RC F

I would rather leave this comparison inconclusive. They're all superb machines that heighten the senses with their respective performance bands, driving dynamics, design, and driver-focused cockpits. They each have their own personality that engages the driver towards competency and exhilaration.

Look…they're all great cars. End of story…

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