The Mighty Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

By Geoff Maxted on 28 January, 2020

The legendary Italian brand Alfa Romeo have never before built a SUV. Although the company products have a chequered history on the reliability front, the latest models have demonstrated that Alfa Romeo can now compete with the best. The Stelvio is the first SUV in the Italian car maker’s range and it is music to the automotive ear.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio comes in different guises, the majority of which use Alfa’s Q4 all-wheel drive system, although the lower specification models come with rear-wheel drive only, but that’s not what we are here to discuss.

The Lucky Four Leaf Clover

The topic centres on the four-leaf clover (hence Quadrifoglio) symbol that has always graced the brand’s performance variants and when it comes to performance there are few vehicles of this type out there that can hang onto the coat tails of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the fastest ever SUV around the test track that is the Nurburgring Circuit in Germany, apparently. This is of course an Italian designed car which means not only is it very, very fast, it also is beautiful to behold, from every angle.

The Drive

This range-topping model is powered by the same Ferrari-derived 2.9L bi-turbocharged V6 that is featured in the AR Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon car. With 510bhp and 600Nm of torque available, the Stelvio delivers what can only be described as extreme performance with a top speed of 176mph and a 0-62mph time of an astonishing 3.8 seconds. Driving through a crisp ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox the Quad also has paddle shift, making the experience even more joyful. It is a very exciting drive thanks to sharp, positive steering and is every bit as good as more established models like Porsche’s Macan, with handling unmatched in this sector. It drives like a hot hatchback.

The Interior

Given the sporting credentials you would think that corners would be cut when it comes to the inside of the Stelvio, but no. It is a big SUV and as such has all the space needed for five with plenty of legroom in the rear seats. There’s even room for a very capacious and well designed boot. In short, the designers have thought this car through and have delivered an accomplished product.

That Italian design filters through to the interior as well. It’s gorgeous. It has to be said though that fit and finish are perhaps not up to the lofty standards set by Audi, but it is still very smart. The car on test was fitted  with the optional Sparco Carbonshell lightweight seats which are so supportive, holding the driver in place very well, although we can imagine the standard electric heated sports seats would be comfier. Other notable points include the large aluminium column-mounted shift paddles which look great and give fingertip control and the dashboard is a masterpiece of understated design, although the colour screen was disappointing.

The Car

As mentioned there are other, more cost-effective versions, available for those of a less sporting mentality. The main petrol option is a 2.0L four-cylinder turbo-engine but it’s still no slouch. The performance figures are 0-62mph in 5.7sec and 143mph flat out, so it is certainly keen to get up the road. The 210bhp 2.2L diesel is a little slower but more economical and, either way, still offers the full large SUV experience. With this car and the sister Giulia, Alfa Romeo have come up trumps. Owners are in clover.

By Geoff Maxted