by Michael Butler
Alfa Romeo came out swinging when it first introduced the Stelvio SUV, and 2020 sees a much-improved Quadrifoglio coming out with the knockout blow. This Italian beauty comes packed with a 2.9-liter prancing horse under the hood developing a serious 505 hp, and it accelerates so fast that most will spill their espresso before the needle hits sixty. Alfa Romeo has made the brave move of entering the hotly contested performance SUV market, and to our surprise, has managed to produce a car that easily matches the best the Germans and Brits have to offer in the X3 M and F-Pace SVR. With all the comfort and safety features present, and a beautifully balanced chassis to boot, the $80,455 Stelvio Quadrifoglio does what Italians do best: it parties with passion.
With the new decade comes a healthy number of updates to the infotainment, styling, and safety of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The cabin of the Quadrifoglio sees the introduction of a new standard 8.8-inch center touchscreen display with improved graphics, connectivity, and additional standard content, including an expanded navigation view and revised graphics. SiriusXM radio with a complimentary 12-month subscription is also standard, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot. The new ADAS driver assistance program now features tech such as highway assist, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, and active blind-spot assist. The interior also gets a revised center console, steering wheel and controls, and an optional wireless charging pad. The newly available exterior carbon fiber package adds a carbon-fiber V Scudetto grille, carbon-fiber mirror caps, and Dark Miron badging. Two new colors also join the lineup: Anodized Blue Metallic and Lunare White Metallic.
2.9-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
The SUV has become so much more than just a people carrier; these days, a high-end SUV is a full-blown fashion statement, and the variety of designs is mind-blowing. From the more traditional Cadillac Escalade, all the way to the weird and wonderful Lamborghini Urus, there is something for everyone, and we have to say that the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio transcends simple classification; it's a beautiful thing to look at whether you're a fan of SUVs or not. Standard equipment for 2020 includes a set of gorgeous 20-inch Bright aluminum wheels, Quadrifoglio front and rear fascias and grille, a dynamic dual-mode Quadrifoglio exhaust system, as well as six-piston front and four-piston rear high-performance Brembo, ventilated disc brakes, and electrochromic exterior mirrors with auto-dimming. Optional extras include an ultra-high-performance Brembo carbon-ceramic brake system, Gloss Black roof rails, and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is classified as a compact luxury crossover SUV and measures up against the likes of the BMW X3 M. Measuring 185.1 inches in total length, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a mere 1.1 inches shorter than the BMW. The Quadrifoglio rolls on a 111-inch wheelbase and is 77 inches wide and 66.3 inches tall. Front and rear track are measured at 61.2 and 63.3 inches, respectively. With a curb weight of 4,360 pounds, the Stelvio is no lightweight contender, but weighs a significant 260 pounds less than the 4,620 pounds BMW.
One thing that you can always rely on is the Italian people's passion for style and design. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a beautifully designed thing that manages to incorporate flowing body lines with aggressive front and rear fascias that come together in a way that only Alfa Romeo could conjure up, and what better way to celebrate this feat of design ingenuity than to splash it with some dramatic paint colors. The 2020 Stelvio Quadrifoglio is available in eight different exterior paint colors, only one of which is a no-cost option. You can get the classic Alfa Rosso for free, but you will have to pay an extra $600 for colors such as Volcano Black Metallic, or the gorgeous Monte Carlo Blue. Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat will set you back $2,200, as will Trofeo White Tri-Coat. We'll stick with Montecarlo Blue, thanks.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio isn't just a pretty face; it can't afford to be. In this hotly contested segment, performance speaks louder than most other factors, and if you can't keep up with the pack, you're pretty much done for. Thank the horsepower gods then that the Stelvio is an absolute beast. The turbocharged V6 under the hood produces 505 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to catapult it to 60 in only 3.6 seconds, and on to a top speed of 176 mph. What makes these numbers even better is the fact that anyone can hit them; it's so easy to drive this thing fast. In town, the throttle response is linear enough, especially in its more relaxed 'Advanced Efficiency' driving mode, to putter around without ripping your head off your shoulders with every blip of the accelerator. Getting on and off the highway is a blur of acceleration and sheer braking force. The Alfa DNA Pro system also allows for nifty tricks such as throttle response and overboost adjustment, and also opens up the exhaust system for a raucously good time.
So how does a 4,620 pound SUV accelerate to 60 faster than a Lamborghini Murcielago? It's simple really; by stuffing a Ferrari-derived 505 hp and 443 lb-ft twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 under the hood. This engine earns the title of the most powerful Alfa Romeo production car engine. Ever. Not only does this engine deliver stunning performance, but it sounds superb, and as motoring journalists always love to hark on about, it feels soulful, as only an Italian sports car can. Thanks to Alfa Romeo's clever Alfa DNA drive system, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio can change its character in the blink of an eye: activate the DNA Pro RACE mode, and the Stelvio will activate the over-boost function, open up the dual-mode exhaust system and turn off ESC, while increasing torque to maximize performance. Dynamic mode also sharpens up throttle response and enhances the shift mapping on the eight-speed automatic transmission. Speaking of, the transmission in the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a beautifully malleable thing that can transform from a relaxed cruiser to barking madman with the flip of a switch and is one of the better performance SUV transitions we've tested.
It was clear from the beginning that the Stelvio was not going to be just another fast SUV with the handling prowess of a brick. This, the first SUV produced by Alfa Romeo, has been developed to return sports-car levels of performance on the straights as well as in the bends. Under the arches of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio lies a beautifully balanced chassis, adaptive suspension, a high-performance braking system, and a set of sticky summer rubber. The end result is a car that handles with poise and precision. With the adaptive mode set in its most hardcore setting, only the most uneven roads upset it, and it's large 20-inch wheels laugh off-road harshness when cruising. The steering on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is remarkably communicative and gives the driver an extra sense of reassurance. Alfa Romeo's Q4 AWD system sends all available power to the rear wheels under normal driving situations, but can shift up to 60% to the front if need be, adding to the planted feeling the Stelvio so proudly exudes. Stomp on the slow pedal and the large Brembo brakes respond in turn with predictable yet powerful stopping power. Don't mistake the Stelvio Quadrifoglio for just another fast family carrier; this thing can handle.
Italian sports cars have never been regarded as eco-warriors, in fact, they actually drink more fuel than rural Italians drink wine, which leads us to the beautiful and brutishly fast Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Hauling 4,360 lbs to 60 in the three-second range will take its toll on fuel economy figures, and even a simple cruise around the block will cost you rather dearly. The EPA rates the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio at 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined. That might seem like a blow to the pocket, but the Stelvio Quadrifoglio's competition will do even worse; the blitzkrieg BMW X3 M will only manage 14/19/16 mpg - truly horrifying numbers. With a 16.9-gallon fuel tank, the Quadrifoglio will be able to travel for up to 321 miles on a single fill.
That Italian flair that is so noticeably present on the exterior of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio makes its way into the cabin; the leather-clad interior resembles that of a finely crafted Riva Aquarama boat, but on closer inspection, there are some noticeable flaws in the way things have been put together. Nevertheless, the interior of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is decidedly sporty, and, everything from the shapely steering wheel through to the bolstered seats, feels focused on going fast. Standard interior features on the 2020 car include 14-way performance leather-trimmed Alcantara front seats with power bolsters and manual thigh support, push-button start, and column-mounted aluminum paddle shifters, as well as a 200-mph speedometer, dual-zone climate control and a Quadrifoglio leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel. Optional interior extras include heated rear seats, a dual-pane sunroof, and a set of super sexy carbon fiber Sparco racing seats.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio's interior manages to strike a good balance between comfort and sportiness, but what it gains in character, it loses in overall space; the cabin of the Quadrifoglio feels cramped, especially in the rear, where headroom is a scarce commodity. Both the BMW X3 M and Jaguar F-Pace SVR offer more front and rear-seat legroom. The official numbers read as follows: front legroom comes in at a tight 36.6 inches, while those in the rear get 35.9 inches. The headroom in the front is a respectable 40.2 inches, but drops to 38.9 in the back. While five adult passengers will be able to fit in the Stelvio Quadrifoglio without much issue, taller passengers will feel cramped in the rear. That's not very SUV-like now, is it?
Step inside the cabin of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, and you're greeted by a sea of black and red, or black and white if you so choose. In standard form, Alfa Romeo offers its performance SUV with black leather and Alcantara seats, which can be switched out for a combination of red and black, or black and white. The same color schemes and materials apply to the $3,000 Sparco racing seats. The rest of the interior is adorned with standard carbon-fiber trim, and the dashboard and upper door trim get wrapped in leather while the headliner is finished off in timeless black.
The interior of the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is already a cozy place to sit in, but it's the trunk and overall cargo area that takes the biggest hit. The available space is significantly smaller than what you get in the German BMW X3 M and British Jaguar F-Pace SVR. The Stelvio is still a practical thing and should suffice for couples and small families, but don't expect too much. Behind the rear seats, the Quadrifoglio offers 18.5 cubic feet of space, which is enough to fit around seven average-sized Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheels. The BMW X3 M offers 28.7 cubic feet, and the F-Pace a huge 33.5. Fold the rear seats down, and the Stelvio offers 56.5 cubic feet, enough for most small families.
Small-item storage is limited to a tight glovebox, small door pockets, a center console storage bin, and a small nook in front of the shift knob.
The Stelvio was intended to be a luxury vehicle from its inception, so it would only make sense that the range-topping Quadrifoglio should come with a wide range of features suited to its title. Step inside, and the first thing you'll notice is the shapely set of 14-way performance leather-trimmed/Alcantara heated sport front seats that offer impressive support. The grippy Quadrifoglio leather-wrapped heated steering wheel with red push-button start and column-mounted aluminum paddle shifters also add to the sense of occasion. Genuine carbon fiber trim is scattered throughout, and the driver gets to stare down at a 200 mph speedometer. Other notable features are an Alfa DNA Pro drive mode selector with race mode, passive entry with keyless-go and remote start, as well as dual-zone climate control. Standard driver assistance features include blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and rear cross-path detection.
Keen buyers will be pleased to hear that the infotainment system in the 2020 Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a pleasure to use. The standard 8.8-inch touchscreen display offers customizable layouts and is crisp and responsive. The rotary controller mounted on the center console is also easy to get a grip on. We did find, however, that some of the smaller icons could get lost on the screen due to sun glare. Standard infotainment features include integrated navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration, as well as an impressive Harman Kardon premium audio system with 12-speakers, and 900-watts of power. We found that Italian hardcore legends Slander sounded best on this system with their classic hit Drown. A Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless phone charging are optional extras.
Italian cars have been stuck with the nasty stereotype that they are unreliable and prone to breaking down at the mere mention of a coffee run, but modern cars, especially Alfa Romeos have shown a marked improvement in build quality and overall dependability. Since 2018, the Stelvio range has only been recalled three times. Quadrifoglio vehicles suffered from a coolant hose leak, and general issues across the range included a faulty adaptive cruise control system and fuel gauge. Alfa Romeo will back the Stelvio Quadrifoglio with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes a 12-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty, a four-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty, and four years of roadside assistance.
Unsurprisingly the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has not been tested by either the NHTSA or IIHS, seeing as it occupies a very niche and low-volume place in the American car market. There is a glimmer of light, however; renowned European safety rating agency Euro NCAP has put a diesel model on test, and it managed to score a perfect five out of five stars. The fact that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes equipped with driver assistance features, such as rear cross-path detection and blind-spot monitoring, should put new owners' minds at ease.
An SUV that can accelerate to 60 quicker than most classic supercars should most certainly be a safe one, and as the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has proven in its Euro NCAP test, it will offer its occupants one of the safest driving experiences around. What makes this Italian beast so secure? Well first off, occupants are surrounded by an eight airbag system including supplemental front-seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, along with a driver and front passenger inflatable knee airbags. The advanced anti-slip regulation (ASR) and traction control system (TCS) has been designed for high-performance applications and should keep the Stelvio Quadrifoglio in good standing on the road. Driver assistance features include rear cross-path detection, front and rear park sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and forward collision warning. The $2,000 Active Driver Assist package brings a number of notable tech systems to the table, including active blind-spot assist, adaptive cruise control with stop, automatic high-beam headlamp control, driver attention alert, and highway assist.
The Italian SUV has never been an idea taken seriously by journalists and the car-buying public in general; the majority of people sided with the argument that Italians should stick to building what they know: beautiful sports cars and the odd panel van and economy car. So when Alfa Romeo declared that they would be joining the SUV weapons race, many were understandably skeptical, but once the Stelvio reared its head, many were impressed, and for a good reason. In Quadrifoglio trim, the Stelvio is an absolute masterpiece in design, capability, and overall style. The Ferrari-sourced V6 engine fills the cabin with the soulful jazz that only an Italian performance engine can produce, and the flowing lines of the body, and aggressive air vents on the hood, all spell one thing: fast. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is blisteringly fast, but it also handles corners with aplomb, and while its interior isn't a match for German rivals such as the BMW X3 M, it still feels special and comes with every modern amenity you'd ever need. This isn't just another fast SUV, it is a passionate and shouty thing that will go down in the history books as one of Alfa's greatest creations.
Relative to the BMW X3 M, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is quite exotic, but that doesn't mean it has to cost a finely-dressed arm and leg. The 2020 Stelvio Quadrifoglio starts with an MSRP of $80,455, excluding registration, tax, and a destination fee of $1,595. You will be paying over $10,600 more than you'd pay for the BMW, which starts at $69,900. The other outlander, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, starts at a similar $80,600. New owners should tread carefully, however, stacking up the options will see the Stelvio nearing the $100k mark in the blink of an eye.
There is only one Stelvio Quadrifoglio on offer, which means you get range-topping features and performance. First and foremost, the Quadrifoglio is the only car in the Stelvio range to get twin-turbo power. Its 2.9-liter V6 engine produces 505 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, and will blitz to 60 in well under four seconds. The AWD Stelvio Quadrifoglio also gets adaptive dampers and Brembo brakes. Inside, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio offers its driver, and front passenger heated bucket seats with 14-way adjustability and Alcantara inserts. The 8.8-inch infotainment system includes navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth streaming, as well as a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Dual-zone climate control keeps things cool. Standard driver assistance features include blind-spot monitoring, a back-up camera with rear cross-path detection, as well as forward collision warning.
Although the standard Stelvio Quadrifoglio already comes packed with standard features, Alfa Romeo gives new owners the option of stacking the Stelvio with even more tech. Starting with the exterior, new owners are able to get their brake calipers painted for $350, or why not spend $200 on a power rear liftgate? On the inside, Alfa Romeo offers a dual-pane sunroof for $1,350, and a Quadrifoglio carbon fiber steering wheel for $400. Optional packages for 2020 include the stunning Quadrifoglio carbon pack that adds carbon-fiber exterior mirrors, front grille, and Dark Miron badging all for only $1,100. The Active Driver Assist Package costs $2,000 and adds a number of notable safety features, such as adaptive cruise control with stop function, driver attention alert, active blind-spot assist, automatic high-beam headlamp control, and highway assist.
There's only the one on offer here, so we'll tell you how we'd spec ours (in our dreams). The exterior would be painted in the obligatory Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat, and we'd get the Dark five-hole wheels on top of that. We'd also paint the brake calipers red for obvious reasons. For practicality's sake, we'd get the power liftgate as well. Inside there's no option but to get the Sparco performance front seats in red and black, and we'd also get the dual-pane sunroof and carbon fiber steering wheel. For safety, we'd include the Driver Assistance Package. That leaves us with a 2020 Stelvio Quadrifoglio with a price tag of $88,840. Not bad.
It seems like every iteration of BMW's crossover subcompact street-based city-trekking new-age SUVs is getting some M Division love these days. What that means is the base model gets more power, improved suspension, and a mean look. This fate has befallen the already popular X3, which in this case, is entitled the X3 M. Under the hood of this SUV lies a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 engine producing 473 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed auto transmission. The BMW is heavy on juice, but its S58 engine delivers explosive power and feels on par with the Stelvio when it comes to handling. The interior of the X3 M is truly high-end and feels like the more accomplished space. The infotainment system is class-leading, and there is tons more space in the back. We do not approve of its heavy steering and stiff ride, but at over $10,000 less than the Stelvio, it's a hard one to pass up on.
When Jaguar hands a car over to their Special Vehicle Operations division, you know that you're going to get something seriously quick out of the deal. So when Jaguar nominated their F-Pace SUV, we knew something special was in the making. The end result is a 542-hp British brute that will win a pub brawl without blinking. Not only is it more powerful, but it will return similar gas mileage figures to the Stelvio, although the Italian will beat it to 60 by a mile. On the road, the F-Pace SVR isn't quite as capable as the Stelvio, but it is definitely biased towards performance driving. Inside, the Jag offers nicely bolstered and quilted performance seats and a large 12.3-inch infotainment screen. Starting at around the same price, the Jaguar and Stelvio operate in the exact same space, and it will boil down to brand loyalty for most. We'd stick with the more capable Italian.
Check out some informative Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio video reviews below.