Common sense stipulates that no man should ever push the limits of his machine beyond its physical capabilities. But what if the limitations of a road car could be shifted and pushed beyond its original purpose?
This is the story of Magneti Marelli, a cutting-edge Italian engineering house which is transforming road-going civilian cars into part-time race machines for those who demand the occasional spirited drive without compromise.
The Magneti Marelli name is a coveted one which stems all the way back to 1919, where it served as an electrical manufacturing company founded by Fiat and Ercole Marelli.
With almost a hundred years of technological expertise under its belt, Magneti Marelli has seen some of the most gruelling and competitive motorsport environments to develop their technology on.
Formula One, MotoGP and the World Rally Championships are just some of the glamorous racing circles you’ll see the Magneti Marelli name floating around but their mission is rooted much deeper than this.
Magneti Marelli has always been about developing a vast array of technology for racing to drive the advancement of the automotive industry.
A fine example of this in recent times is the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, a four-door sedan which has claimed the title as the world’s fastest sedan on the legendary Nurburgring circuit. And yes, it comes with luxury trimmings.
Where Race Meets Road
Step inside Alfa Romeo’s most anticipated car of the past decade and you’ll notice all of the premium hallmarks of a compact luxury sports sedan primed for taking on the Germans.
Look further beneath that skin though and you’ll find Magneti Marelli’s Formula One derived technology hard at work, ensuring the driver receives all of the right feedback from the tarmac when they need it most – at speed.
One of Magneti Marelli’s finest contributions to the Alfa Romeo Giulia is the CDC (Chassis Domain Control) system, an electronic brain which optimises handling and performance across varying degrees of driving conditions whilst the car is in motion.
Given that the average daily driver isn’t hitting the race track for a living, the CDC system sets up the car’s character in real time via data obtained from sensors measuring vertical, lateral and longitudinal accelerations and rotation.
Once the CDC brain has analysed all of the critical situations it then sends commands to specific areas of the vehicle’s network to get the car to behave in a certain way. This means the predetermined distribution of power to each individual wheel via the torque vectoring system (the thing that helps you rocket through a corner like a God without losing control) and the control of the car’s active aerodynamics which adjusts the rate of downforce to develop grip.
CDC doesn’t call it a day just there yet. Magneti Marelli’s technical boffins also hooked up the system to the vehicle’s active damping control in order to refine ride quality depending on the driving circumstances. Need harder suspension with a more responsive and sharper steering feel? CDC can do that. Need a softer ride for the daily commute in comfort? CDC also looks after that.
All of this plays into a complete package which sees the CDC continually moulding the Giulia’s chassis from a cruisy luxury sedan into a red beast straight out of hell whenever it’s called upon.
Where Vision Counts
Driving fast can only take you so far without a clear vision of the road ahead. That’s why Magneti Marelli didn’t stop at just tinkering with the Giulia’s suspension, exhaust and engine response to deliver the perfect Italian ride.
Alfa Romeo teamed up with the company to produce both the front and rear headlamps which exude the bold character expected of such a calibre of car whilst retaining the cutting-edge tech to ensure the car’s safety at dusk.
Equipped in the Giulia is the latest Xenon technology featuring AFS (Adaptive Frontlight System) and a 35W lighting module. In layman terms this lighting solution yields a 200% increase in luminosity when compared to standard halogen headlamps.
The ideals of perfect vision also extend into the Alfa’s interior with Magneti Marelli using their expertise in Formula One steering wheel displays to create one of their most intuitive and seamlessly integrated infotainment systems to ever grace a road car.
Extending the Giulia’s tech credentials is Magneti Marelli’s 8.8 “black panel” TFT display which employs innovative “optical bonding” technologies to achieve the optimum display readability in all forms of lighting.
This system runs on the latest Genivi open source technology in order to satisfy the most demanding automotive performance and robustness criteria, essentially turning the Giulia into a connected car with a plethora of useful functions.
One notable feature is the navigation program which utilises high-resolution maps with 3D elements and Dead Reckoning technology to map out routes in areas which are not covered by a GPS signal.
The one trick pony act of going fast is obsolete. This is how Magneti Marelli has helped build the world’s fastest luxury sedan.