Italian cars are known to stir the soul and capture the imagination, may that be in looks or performance. Throughout the years, Italian manufacturers have developed vehicles to try and be both, but only a few in recent times have done so.
But what of the current crop are our favourites at the moment? We take a look at the Italian stable…
Alfa Romeo Giulia
If you’re after an executive saloon, German cars are usually the way to go. But the Alfa Romeo Giulia is an excellent challenger in the segment thanks to its beautiful looks, brilliant performance and rival-beating practicality. With a well-designed interior, Alfa’s DNA drive select system and four trim levels choose from, the Giulia is a highlight of the market. If you want some extra oomph, go for the Quadrifoglio model, which comes with a 500bhp engine and goes from 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds.
Small, retro-looking and interesting to drive, the Fiat 500 harks back to the good old times of urban motoring. The compact dimensions combined with peppy little engines make for a quirky little hatchback that warms the cockles. Available with an Abarth version that turns the cute 500 into a souped-up go-kart, you have a lot of options to go with when choosing this Italian hatch.
Recognisable by the trident badge and classy styling, Maseratis have always been desirable for car fans, and the Gran Turismo is the purest of the lot. Four seats, rear-wheel drive and a ferocious naturally-aspirated 4.7-litre V8, the Gran Turismo is the Italian GT car for the ages, and when it looks like that, who wouldn’t be interested? It a stunning looking thing.
Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
When Ferrari said it would be making a production shooting brake, few knew that it would become a cornerstone of the brand’s line-up. The second shooting brake, the GTC4 Lusso, carried on what the FF started and combines rather attractive Ferrari styling with four seat-practicality and brilliant performance. Under the beautifully long bonnet sits a 6.3-litre N/A V12, and it’s impossible to be turned off by an Italian twelve-cylinder.
Even supercar manufacturers are getting on the SUV hype, and Lamborghini’s Urus is actually quite interesting. For a brand known to make mad-looking, screaming supercars, the Santa’Agata-based manufacturer has transferred that ethos into an SUV, and this ‘Super SUV’ really is bonkers. A twin-turbocharged V8 sits under the chunky bonnet, and although it has only just come into full production, Lamborghini has said that the Urus is a hit with customers.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
For its first SUV, Alfa Romeo combined great styling – as is the way with Alfa – with everyday practicality, and then named it after one of Italy’s most famous mountain passes. That’s already a good package. Add to that four-wheel drive, 50/50 weight distribution and superlight components, and you get a thoroughly capable SUV with character in spades.
Based on the current Mazda MX-5, this Fiat reminisces in the glory of past models by bringing back the drop-top 124 name and a glamorous look that defined many a classic sports car. With a peppy 1.4-litre turbo petrol combined with a six-speed manual, the 124 harks back to the fun sports cars of the 60s and is also rather affordable.
Available as both a coupe and a roadster, the Aventador is the flaghip model in Lambo’s stable – and with it you get a screaming V12 that produces 730bhp and launches you into hyperspace with a 0-60mph time of 2.7 seconds. A top speed of 217mph is hypercar territory, and with four-wheel steer, four-wheel drive and active suspension, this car is set up to be at the pinnacle of motoring. Dramatic, amazing to look and a truly superb overall car.
As the ‘baby’ Ferrari, the 488 packs a lot of punch. Coming in the GTB and recently unveiled Pista guises, the 488 line-up is brilliant. The GTB – released in 2015 – packs a 660bhp punch under the graceful yet aerodynamically exquisite shell, while the 2018 Pista follows in the same vein as the 458 Speciale and 430 Scuderia as race-inspired road monsters. The 488 range is a current highlight in the supercar market, and as with other Ferrari models it will always be desirable.
Lamborghini Huracan Performante
Currently the ultimate Lamborghini and arguably the best supercar on the road right now, the Huracan Performante combines active aerodynamics with a 631bhp V10 engine and lightweight bodywork. A 0-60mph time of 2.7 seconds, a top speed of more than 201mph and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission paired to four-wheel drive add up to create superb performance. It also looks excellent and is one of the most exciting models available.