What's this then?
Ah, this is the range-topping Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde. In case that's something of a tongue-twister, you can refer to it either as "QV" or "Cloverleaf". They're readily identifiable by the green, four-leaf clover badge on the wings.
So what's new?
The Cloverleaf sits atop the Giulietta tree, just like its MiTo namesake that was also announced recently. This means you get everything Alfa can throw at it from the options list and more besides.
On the outside there's tinted rear window glass and smoked mirror fairings, front grille, door handles and fog-light frames. Lowered sports suspension, a pair of oversized exhaust tailpipes and 18-inch alloy wheels - showing off a set of red, four-piston Brembo brake callipers - complete the look.
For the interior treatment you get new wraparound sport seats, with a one-piece backrest and trimmed in leather and Alcantara. There's a new leather steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake, with contrasting white stitching, and aluminium sports pedals and Cloverleaf-specific kick-plates to round off the classic Alfa sports look.
What powers it?
A glance under the bonnet will reveal the same petrol engine that powers Alfa Romeo's new mid-engined sports car, the 4C. That's a 1.8 litre turbocharged four cylinder, producing 240hp and 250lbfft, mated to the same six-speed twin dry clutch transmission - purists take note, that's a semi-automatic with just the two pedals.
Sound sprightly? It should - the Giulietta QV will hit 60mph in 6s from rest thanks to a new launch control system. It'll push on to 149mph too, but it's rated at a mere 162g/km for carbon dioxide emissions, translating into a combined fuel economy of 40.4mpg. Not at the same time, naturally.
There's the usual Alfa Romeo fare of the "D.N.A." driving selector, setting throttle, transmission and steering responses to the drivers choice of conditions, but Giulietta QV buyers also get Alfa Romeos new 6.5-inch Uconnect touch-screen multimedia system. There's an integrated satellite navigation system with DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, Aux-in/USB port and voice command operation.
How much will it cost me?
If you opt for one of the Launch Edition cars, in a special matt Magnesio Grey body colour, you'll be spending 30,280, but the regular QV weighs in at 28,120.
This is not an easy class at the best of times, but when you start throwing around figures in the region of 30,000 it's an uphill battle. The Ford Focus ST is cheaper and faster, the Seat Leon Cupra is cheaper and faster and Volkswagen Golf R is about the same price and much faster. If it's a prestige feel you're after, the Audi S3 is running the same money and is also much faster - and all four cars offer a three-pedal manual to go with their auto options...
In a line?
Enthusiast's badge, but no clutch might push enthusiasts themselvesinto cheaper rivals...