The AWD sits higher with more ground clearance. I'd guess that the AWD has more weight on the front axle. Most your points mentioned are valid though. When push comes to shove, I bet they don't handle the same. In normal driving, the differences might not be noticeable.Do you think that it would be correct to say that the Q2 and the Q4 would feel and handle and perform identically? If, the only difference is the weight of the transfer case, the prop shaft, and the front driveshafts, and that the Giulia drives as a rwd until slip is detected, it should. Now, I would assume that the awd ecu engages the fwd-awd before the esc kicks-in and cuts power (almost typed, closes the throttle!). So, that would mean that a Q4, up to the limit of rwd traction, performs like a rwd, then, the awd kicks-in and keeps the nannies away until a greater loss of traction is detected. I have test driven both the Q2 and Q4 back to back and in typical test driving with a sales rep on board, I feel no difference. As it has been stated here before, and I agree, it's a shame that Alfa choose to not include a switch to defeat the esc.
Alan, I too have an E46 330. Mine is an xi auto. I run snow tires all around in the winter and it has unbelievable traction in all conditions. Even with the esc off, it is almost impossible to get the wheel spin indicator lamp to illuminate.
My experience on the test drive in the AWD was that I didn't like the feeling when it goes from push to pull as power is transferred to the front wheels. Even thoguh the RWD is slightly slower I decided I prefer how it feels especially near or at its limit. I also put on Michelin PS 4's which I think grip better.When push comes to shove, I bet they don't handle the same. In normal driving, the differences might not be noticeable.
Motor Trend big test, June 2017 issue.Up to what speed? At some point the extra weight has to catch up with it.