by John Tallodi
Having whetted our appetites for its new crossover luxury SUV with the base 280 horsepower 2.0-litre Stelvio, Alfa Romeo has kept the manic 505 horsepower Quadrifoglio till last. Based on the dynamically accomplished Giulia sport sedan the Quadrifoglio promises similar levels of driver involvement with the added practicality and convenience of a modern crossover SUV.
The interior is perhaps less exciting as the swoopy, sporty exterior styling might suggest. Overall fit and finish is good although some plastic coverings do not fit with the premium positioning and pricing aspirations. The standard seats however are comfortable with adequate bolstering in the front, the available carbon fiber Sparco racing seats further show this top Stelvio’s sporting intent.
The two central gauges are housed in recessed binnacles in typical Alfa fashion, an 8.8-inch touchscreen resides in the center of the dashboard and is easy to get familiar with. Rear passengers will find the accommodation quite cozy compared to other offerings, cargo space too is not on par with less dynamically focused models although this trade-off may be acceptable to the typical Stelvio Quadrifoglio shopper.
The Quadrifoglio drives very much like the slightly raised Giulia sedan that it is. The addition of the standard all-wheel drive over the Giulia’s rear-drive system means more traction out of tight corners although there is a slight tendency to understeer when pressing on.
The rear biased AWD setup means those who have the required skill can adjust the car's balance with the throttle, although only with the DNA drive mode selector in (the Quadrifoglio specific) Race mode which transfers all traction control duties to your right foot.
For those less frenetic driving situations the Quadrifoglio exhibits good bump absorption ability and excellent body control in just about every driving situation. It remains firm but considering its dynamic ability the compromise is well judged.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes solely with a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing 505 hp and 443 lb ft of torque. These are class-leading numbers and so are the performance figures. 0-60 mph is completed in a claimed 3.9-seconds which will see off just about every sport sedan let alone a crossover.
An 8-speed automatic transmission transmits the power to all four wheels and a torque-vectoring differential is standard. The Porsche Macan is similarly accomplished in the twisties although even with the Performance Pack can only muster 440 hp and trails the Alfa in acceleration times.
Standard specification levels are high as befits the top model in the Stelvio line-up. A power liftgate, keyless ignition, 8.8-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, rearview camera, paddle shifters, climate control and ambient interior lighting are all standard fitment.
Bi-Xenon headlamps, power leather/alcantara seats and a Race mode for the DNA drive mode selector are standard exclusive items for this model. The Quadrifoglio also receives unique alloy wheels on sticky tires and sport suspension settings.
For additional safety, an available Driver Assistance Dynamic Package includes adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, forward collision warning, infrared windshield and lane departure warning.
A pricy Carbon Ceramic braking system is also available although as the standard items are very capable, their main benefit would be for those who plan on attending track days in their Quadrifoglio. Carbon fiber Sparco sport front seats are also optionable.
The all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a luxury crossover with a seriously sporty side. It trades interior space for a driver focused experience with performance levels that are class-leading. High standard specification levels, sporty looks and the highest power output in its class makes for a very convincing luxury crossover offering from Alfa Romeo.