When it comes to drag racing, sometimes the race can be won or lost at the launch. If one particular car has less power but better traction and can fire out of the hole significantly better, that lead can sometimes hold the more powerful car off for the duration of the race. So when I first saw the headline for this drag race between a BMW i8 and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, I immediately thought that the i8, despite its significant power disadvantage, could have a real shot. Its all-wheel drive and electric torque should, in theory, give it a better launch than the Alfa. Except that doesn’t happen.
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The Alfa launches with surprising civility, not roasting its rear tires a bit. I’m not sure what sort of tires each car was running but the Alfa’s rears never spin. It’s just stick and go for both cars. And since the i8 doesn’t get the better launch, the Alfa’s significant power advantage just crushes the i8.
Under the hood of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6 that makes 503 hp. That engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic and powers just the rear wheels. By comparison, the BMW i8 has a 1.5 liter turbocharged I3 engine that, when paired with an electric motor, makes 228 hp. That’s mated to a six-speed automatic and powers the rear wheels. However, the i8 also has an electric motor up front that powers the front wheels, giving it real-time, torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. So total system power output is 357 hp. That’s still a far way off the Alfa, though.
To be honest, this was never a race I thought the i8 would win, but I did think it would have a better launch. Just goes to show that sometimes you just can’t beat brute strength and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is the strongest sedan on the market.