The Stelvio is Alfa Romeo’s first venture into the ever-increasing world of SUVs. The five-door car is beautifully crafted with a wealth of on-board technology to explore. There are petrol or diesel engines along with a good selection of trim levels to choose from. And the blisteringly quick Quadrifoglio model is simply awesome.
The goodStyling, performance, price and charm
The badIs the SUV scene really a place for Alfa Romeo to compete?
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio 2.9 V6 B-Turbo Q4 510hp (2020)
You would have to step back in time to 1923 to unearth the origins of the Quadrifoglio four-leaf clover emblem when it was invented by legendary Alfa Romeo racing driver Ugo Sivocci.
Nowadays, the emblem sits proudly on a few selected Alfa Romeo models as a trademark symbol of uncompromising power and performance. The sportiest models from the Italian car maker have borne the Quadrifoglio and the very first Alfa Romeo SUV – the Stelvio – is also rewarded with the same privilege.
A quick glance in the direction of the car’s performance statistics will leave you in very little doubt that this model truly deserves the badging. It is powered by a 2.9-litre V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine that draws on the expertise of sister brand Ferrari and it delivers 510hp and 600Nm of torque. Those figures translate into a 0-62mph sprint time of just 3.8 seconds and maximum speed of 176mph – and all this in a five-door SUV.
Viewed from any angle, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a real attention grabber with its muscular curves and aggressive profile. There are four exhaust pipes, dark tinted rear windows, air vents in the bonnet, a panoramic sunroof, sweeping light clusters, a distinctive grille housing the Alfa Romeo badge and 20-inch alloy wheels with yellow brake calipers to complete the styling.
Move inside and despite its modern layout, the interior doesn’t have quite the same wow factor with a lot of hard plastic surfaces. In addition, the sun visor has a large gap where it flips down which is not only irritating, but also causes a lot of glare.
But they are my only slight gripes with the car – a model that I found myself searching for any excuse possible to drive during my week-long test!
On a more positive note, the Alfa Romeo is kitted out with all the latest techno treats and infotainment systems, including a pitch perfect Harman Kardon sound system, full smartphone connectivity, 8.8-inch Uconnect navigation, DAB radio, Bluetooth, air conditioning and plenty more besides.
When it comes to driving dynamics and handling, the all-wheel-drive Stelvio Quadrifoglio is blisteringly quick and certainly not for the faint-hearted. The acceleration can literally take your breath away and the power levels appear endless with an engine and exhaust soundtrack to match. Thankfully, the instrument cluster can be customised to show the speed in very large digits – this is a ’must’ on a car that builds up pace so rapidly without a care in the world or skipping a beat.
The road-holding is ultra-grippy with the Stelvio operating in two-wheel drive much of the time with four-wheel drive traction coming into force as and when required.
There is an eight-speed automatic gearbox with large steering column-mounted paddles for added driver engagement, along with a choice of drive modes labelled d, n and a. These stand for Dynamic, Normal and Advanced Efficiency. There is also a Race mode for true hooligan behaviour that deactivates the traction systems – once again this needs to be given full respect.
In sensible driving modes, the bumps and dips on the country lanes are smoothed out quite well, but in faster modes, they can send the occasional shudder through the car.
However, the real downside to these high-performance antics is the economy. The official combined fuel efficiency is rated at 24.6mpg, but you will see far less if driving ‘enthusiastically’ much of the time. The carbon emissions figure is a 222g/km so you won’t make many friends amongst the green brigade either.
An optional extra on our car were the upgraded Sparco Carbonshell Bucket seats costing £3,250 extra. These certainly looked the business with their black shiny styling, but the solid shell backs are not that comfortable for anyone in the back seats, especially if they have long legs as their knees will be pressed into the rock-hard surface.
But in fairness, there is ample space in the back of the car so this will rarely be an issue and, being an SUV, this pumped up Stelvio is also a practical option with a boot capacity ranging from 525 to 1,600 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Admittedly, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is not exactly cheap, costing £69,510 – a price that rose steeply to £77,955 with a number of options added, but it’s a car that’s guaranteed to put a smile on the saddest of faces.
All in all, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a brilliant piece of kit. It looks awesome, sounds deafening and delivers driving dynamics to accommodate any thrill seekers’ needs. And just like finding a four-leaf clover, I felt very lucky to sample its incredible firepower, albeit for just a week.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.0 Turbo Petrol 280hp Q4 AWD Milano
If ever the name of a car perfectly matched its performance capabilities it has to be the all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the Italian marque’s first venture into SUV territory.
That’s because the Stelvio is aptly named after the legendary Stelvio mountain pass in Switzerland with 48 hairpin bends in rapid succession.
So it’s a clear indication that Alfa Romeo, which is famed for developing iconic cars that stand out from the crowd, is ultra-confident the Stelvio will deliver all the driving dynamics and performance thrills associated with the company – and it does just that.
But Alfa Romeo fans worldwide want more. They not only demand their cars drive with perfected fine tuning and blistering dynamics, but they also insist it’s a thing of beauty too, which is not an easy task when designing a family-friendly SUV.
However the Stelvio does seem to veer from the SUV-design rulebook somewhat with lots of silky curves and muscular bulges, complemented by slim headlight clusters and narrow tail lamps, twin tailpipes, tinted windows, 20-inch alloys and red brake callipers. It looks gorgeous from any angle.
Move inside and the Stelvio oozes Alfa Romeo charm and charisma throughout with a wealth of on-board technology to explore. There are heated leather sports seats that can be electrically adjusted, an 8.8-inch infotainment system with 3D sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, dual zone air conditioning and a 10-speaker sound system.
The car looks and feels quite upmarket with its two-tone dashboard and aluminium finishing along with a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel that can be heated. The aluminium sports pedals are a not-so-subtle reminder that the Stelvio is no run-of-the-mill SUV.
Stelvio is based on the same platform as the highly-rated and successful Alfa Romeo Guilia, but obviously it has larger dimensions with ample space inside for five adults to travel in comfort. Boot space is generous too with a storage capacity of 525 litres that can be increased with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Our car in Milano trim carried a price-tag of £45,390 although a few optional extras bumped the cost up to £46,865. It was powered by a 280hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in a rapid 5.7 seconds and topped out at 143mph. According to official figures, combined fuel economy is rated at 40.4mpg with carbon emissions of 161g/km.
Out on the road, the Stelvio certainly feels a little bit special and is a complete attention seeker thanks to its elegant yet dynamic styling. The acceleration through the eight-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and responsive with a constant supply of power on tap which makes light work of overtaking. The road-holding is confident and assured with virtually no body roll and those two factors mean the car can be driven in an enthusiastic manner into bends with some conviction.
The steering is sharp and precise with ample driver feedback making the Stelvio a great all-round driver’s car – something every Alfa Romeo fan will be very pleased to hear.
The driver can choose from different driving modes called DNA which stands for Dynamic, Natural and All-Weather. Dynamic really sharpens up the handling responses and is ideal when using the massive aluminium paddles to shift through the gears manually.
The car also featured Alfa’s Q4 all-wheel drive system making it an SUV that isn’t fazed by adverse weather conditions or tricky driving terrains.
Cabin refinement is good with minimal wind, engine or road noise filtering through especially when driven on a decent road at a sensible speed. And as for comfort levels, I still felt refreshed after a lengthy 100-mile trip. My only slight criticism is that the ride can feel a little hard and the Stelvio can be unsettled by larger bumps and dips in the road.
The Stelvio gained the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and includes the likes of autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, electronic stability control, hill descent control, dusk and rain sensors, rear parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitoring system, numerous airbags and lots more besides.
All in all, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is another valid contender for sales in the ever-increasing SUV sector. It may be the company’s first venture into that particular arena, but it’s a highly successful one.