How does an automaker show its car was designed for enthusiastic drivers? Name it after a famous European driving road, of course. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a compact SUV in the same class as the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Infiniti QX50, Mercedes GLC, and Volvo XC60. But the Quadrifoglio version ups the performance tremendously, replacing the 280 horsepower turbo four-cylinder for a 505 horsepower twin-turbo V6, good for a 0-60 mph sprint of just 3.6 seconds.
Quadrifoglio means "four-leaf clover" in Italian, and it represents a sort-of good luck charm for the Alfa Romeo brand. If you see the clover on an Alfa Romeo product, it means you are looking at a high-performance model in line with Audi Sport, BMW M, and Mercedes-AMG. The 2019 Stelvio Quadrifoglio may not have the best interior in the class, nor the best cargo capacity, but it stands as one of the best-driving SUVs on the market.
For 2019, Alfa Romeo has handed the Stelvio range a bunch of updates, but only a limited amount of those are applicable to the range-topping Quadrifoglio Verde badged derivative. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have now been introduced, while heated rear seats are an available extra.
The exterior benefits from the availability of two new packages, the Nero Edizione package and the Exterior Carbon Fiber package. Meanwhile, 2019 sees Alfa Romeo offer the limited edition NRING edition Stelvio Quadrifoglio, with just 55 of the limited edition models arriving in the USA.
Getting behind the wheel of Alfa Romeo's performance SUV is no cheap feat, with the only Quadrifoglio derivative carrying a base MSRP of $79,995 before the addition of a $1,595 destination charge, tax, registration, licensing, and any options you may wish to equip. Those with an eye on the NRING limited edition, one of 55 available, will need to shell out for a base price of $95,890. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio can also be leased over two, three, and four year spans for as little as $1,058 per month with a 10% deposit paid up front.
See trim levels and configurations:
2.9L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
If driving dynamics are your only criteria for a new SUV, you may just want to pick the Stelvio QV without looking at any other vehicles. We've never felt such precise steering in an SUV, though it can be cumbersome when a crosswind hits on a boring highway commute. It feels like Alfa dialed back some of the steering and throttle responsiveness found in the Giulia sedan but the Stelvio still feels lively.
Even the biggest SUV critics will find themselves laughing when the roads get twisty. Yes, the Stelvio rides higher than the Giulia but it manages itself brilliantly - thank the Giorgio platform for that. When we took the Stelvio out on a narrow Pennsylvania back road, it felt a bit large for the roads but the AWD grip kept us confident that we'd stay on the road. In the most aggressive Race Mode, the suspension tightens up to limit body roll and the traction control is dialed back. Even though this car is AWD, it's not impossible to sense some tire slip when pushing it hard.
There is a downside to the Stelvio's sport driving characteristics, which comes in the form of a harsh ride. This is a seriously stiff SUV, especially when driving in Race Mode. Impacts from torn up road surfaces are delivered straight to the driver's spine and wind noise is high for a luxury vehicle. If most of your driving is a boring highway commute, there are better options than the Stelvio.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
Our recommendation on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio varies greatly depending on what type of SUV you're shopping for. Most SUV shoppers, who value passenger volume, comfort, technology, and cargo space, will likely be disappointed by the Stelvio. If you are looking for a comfortable ride, you really might want to look elsewhere, like the Volvo XC60.
But if you have been forced out of your sports sedan because of a growing family, the Stelvio QV may be just what you are looking for. Few SUVs manage to feel so car-like, as evidenced by the Stelvio's lap record around the Nurburgring (which has since been topped by the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S).
You know what type of buyer you are, so here are our scores for the 2019 Alfa Rome Stelvio Quadrifoglio. If you fall into the classic SUV buyer category, the Stelvio QV is Worth A Look. But if you value driving dynamics above all else, the Stelvio QV is a Must Buy.
Since the Stelvio Quadrifolgio is a niche model for Alfa Romeo, optioning it is fairly easy. The "base" car starts at $79,995 before destination and although we loved the $2,200 Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat paint of our tester, we'd opt for the less expensive Misano Blue Metallic for just $600. We'd skip the carbon ceramic Brembo brakes for $8,000, add the darker wheels for $500, the heated rear seats for $350, the dual-pane sunroof for $1,350, and black roof rails for $250. As we'd option it, the Stelvio QV will run you $84,640.
After the Stelvio Quadrifoglio set a Nurburgring lap record, it took the most potent offering from Mercedes-AMG to dethrone it as the quickest SUV to lap the infamous Green Hell. While the Coupe version of the GLC 63 boasts a 505 horsepower figure to match the Quadrifoglio, it's more practical sibling only generates 469 hp, gleaned from a sonorous 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8. But the AMG generates more torque, 479 lb-ft of the stuff compared to the Alfa's 443 lb-ft. But the Alfa's power surplus and weight deficit ensure it's quicker to 60 mph by 0.2 seconds, and quicker in general. The Alfa is more enjoyable to drive too, a proper driver's car with sharp turn-in and a composed ride, compared to the GLC which is capable but feels its size and weight in corners. Where Mercedes has the Italian beaten, however, is in interior quality, spaciousness, and practicality, with a classier interior design, better build quality, and better ergonomics. Trunk volume is more practical, too. The GLC 63 is also cheaper than the Quadrifoglio, by $9,000 in its base form, while still giving access to the same sort of features. Both are fun, but the Alfa is a supercar in the body of an SUV, and if its a driver's tool you're after it can't be beaten.
Both the Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the F-Pace SVR are left-field alternatives to the German offerings from Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz in the performance SUV stakes, but they go about it in different ways. The F-Pace SVR has the Alfa beaten on power, with 550 horsepower generated from its supercharged 5.0-liter V8, and it sounds better as well, but it can't match the Italian's performance, unable to put power to asphalt as effectively. It's not quite as aloof and lively on the go, either, feeling more planted and composed, but it doesn't handle as sweetly either thanks to the added weight of a large V8 over the front axle. The F-Pace offers a similar specification to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, but the interior feels a little plusher and well put together, even if the ergonomics are somewhat flawed. The two are separated in price by just $5 in base guise, and both are among the keenest of driver's SUVs around, making the choice between the two a tough one. On sheer character, the SVR is the recommended pick, but both with thrill you every time you get behind the wheel.
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