Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio or Stelvio QV, call it as you want as long as you drive it.
Alfa Romeo has been creating sports car for over 100 years. It’s one of the car maker with the most prestigious race pedigree. From the Targa Florio to the Mille Miglia to F1 it won numerous times and built cars that handle like no others. Yes i’m a big Alfa Romeo fan. And for a lot of people Alfa Romeo is considered to be THE brand of the real petrolheads.
When Fiat announced in 2014 that 5 billions euros will be invested to save the brand I was really excited. Why? Because apart from its outstanding history an Alfa Romeo is always special. They are the cars for the ones who love to drive. They are engaging and terribly fun.
The first car that came out in this new Alfa Romeo era is the Giulia. A family berline in the purest Alfa Romeo tradition. Yes the investment plan aimed to save the brand. To do that not less than 8 new models are scheduled. We had the chance to try the Giulia Quadrifoglio and it was a blast to drive. That why when the second model came out, the SUV I was really excited to test it. You know that we are not big fan of SUV. However, I trust Alfa Romeo and especially it’s 505hp twin-turbo 2.9L V6.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the first SUV made by Alfa Romeo. They used to build berline, coupe, spider but they never did a SUV before the Stelvio. Oh yes, don’t throw a rock at me, Alfa Romeo produced the Matta for the Italian army between 1951 and 1955. But it’s not an SUV strictly speaking, it’s an Italian-style Jeep Willys (with a 1,900 cc 4-cylinder twin camshaft engine).
So, why the Stelvio? They had to come up with a SUV to survive. The market share in that segment are so important that they had to jump into this segment. In style please. It had to be Italian, and most importantly have a soul. And you know what? It’s a success. I absolutely loved every second I spent with that car. Let me explain to you.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV, an Italian masterpiece!
In my opinion it looks awesome. By far the best looking SUV on the market especially the Quadrifoglio version. It looks Italian. It’s desirable. Honestly on a design stand point nothing to complain about. It’s clearly and Alfa Romeo, it has some characters with the air vents on the hood and its wide body. From the rear of the car the 4 tips exhaust are sooo mean and the rims are spectacular.
Overall, I know it’s a matter of taste but the car is well proportioned. You know what ? Wait for it.
Inside there is 2 carbon fiber bucket seats!! Yes, this is a quite costly option but where on earth do you find carbon fiber bucket seats in a SUV? That’s pure genius. There is quite a lot of carbon aboard but nothing exaggerated.
The inside is once again very Italian. The quality of the materials is very average for the price of the car. The plastics are mostly hards, the commands feels really cheap in my opinion. The infotainment system is already outdated but who really cares about that?
The things that really matters are awesome. The steering wheel is beautiful, the start/stop button attached to the wheel is great, you just want to press on it to start the engine which is very Italian. In fact, in the Stelvio Quadrifoglio you quickly understand that it’s a car for the ones who love to drive. It’s not the fanciest but it’s the sportiest SUV and that is enough to make me love this car.
2 things are really important inside in my opinion.
The first one are the huge aluminium paddles shifters. They are attached to the steering column and not to the wheel. YESSSSS! I really don’t like turning paddles, you always get confused when you go around tight corners. The “click” of the paddles is inviting you to use them (a lot).
The second important thing is the DNA switch. Basically it’s the driving mode selector. It goes all the way from wet mode to race. The last one is particularly interesting as you may imagine. One regret about the different driving mode, you cannot customize anything. You like the mode as it is or you live with it anyway. Archaic but it works!
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio : a SUV for the ones who love to drive
It’s a SUV, so it must be heavy, confortable and quite boring to drive? Not this one. Press the start button, switch the DNA wheel to “Race” and your dashboard invites you to put the car in manual mode to “enhance your driving experience”… Amen!
Why the race mode straight away? As I mentioned above you can’t customize anything meaning that if you want the sport exhaust mode and hardest suspension settings you have to go in “Race”. The drawback is that the ESP is automatically turned off. Alright you want to play? The game is on. Luckily compared to it’s little sister the Giulia Quadrifoglio the Stelvio is a 4 wheel drive car. Therefore even with the ESP off it can’t be that wild. At least on paper!
Manual mode, let’s drive! Even in “Race” mode the car is not too hard, it’s still a SUV so don’t expect the stiffness of a 4C. Obviously it’s very easy to use. The dimensions of the car are reasonable for an SUV, 4.68 meter long 1,91m wide it’s not small but nothing crazy.
In fact the crazy thing in this car is located right under the hood. A 2.9L twin-turbo V6. 505hp. Yeah but it’s an SUV so it must weight well over 2,000kgs just like its competition… Not even… 1,830kgs. Boom, just understood why the interior looked so cheap compared to a Mercedes for example. Weight saving. Brilliant.
After couple of minutes driving it on the road I was amazed by the engine sound and the carbon fiber bucket I was seating in, but the steering was a bit light. I just jumped out of a C43 AMG and the steering was much more communicating in my opinion in the AMG. Also I thought that the steering wheel was slightly too thin… Nothing major honestly it’s great to drive in the busy city, I’m just being picky.
The sound of it, THE SOUND of the engine, just exhilarating, marvellous. When you get close from the cut-off the car screams and a loud detonation occurs it’s AWESOME. The gearbox is good nothing to complain about. I didn’t used it a lot in automatic mode, the paddles were just too good to manipulate. All week long I was thinking about my weekend and that moment when I will be about to hit the road, my favourite one, a twisty road.
Race mode on, no ESP let’s see what this car is all about. I did not mentioned it yet but the Stelvio I drove was equipped with the optional carbon ceramic brakes. The Stelvio is powerful and immediately when you push the throttle you feel it. The front of the car lifts and the car goes, 1 sec later it’s almost time to shift in 2nd gear and 2.9 sec later you hit 100kmh. Yes 3.9sec for a 0-100 it’s better than the Ferrari F430!!
In fact, on the road it does not feel like a SUV. It’s very surprising. It goes amazingly well around corners and it feels really propulsion for a AWD. Indeed I must confess, I had a lot of fun driving it. The rear of the car is not glued to the road and move slightly as you exit corners.
The brakes are good but I would expect a bit more especially the first bite. I do understand that it’s main purpose is not to attack back country road and that’s probably why the brakes feeling is not like in a sports car. Obviously the braking power is stable even after braking hard multiple times. Carbon ceramic!
The body roll. It’s the big problem of SUVs. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is not in the same class. It handles like a coupe. It’s not a supercar so there is some, but it is very limited and very enjoyable to drive.
The devil is not in the details, but in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV ‘s engine
Ok ok I need to calm down. It has some flaws. As in the Giulia the normal driving modes are not very exciting as you feel the car is not free to express itself. Also at high speed the noise of the wind makes you think you forgot to close a window… Weight saving.
The range is ridiculous if you have the right foot quite heavy, not even 400kms! I spent a lot of time to the gas station, like 3 times in the weekend. These Italian beauties are all the same after all. 3 full tank in the weekend can seem a lot but it means that I also drove it a lot. In fact, I wasn’t even able to stop driving it. I felt it afterwards… 700kms in one day the lumbar pain due to the bucket seat was real.
Is it a real Alfa Romeo? Absolutely. The engine sound and the driving experience was so good that I forgot to eat! However, I have to say I hated one thing of my week. I had to give it back on monday morning. The Quadrifoglio badge is safe, even if it’s on this SUV it’s still sporty and a great car to drive.
#FunToDrive Score: 91/100
I do think this car makes more sense that the Giulia. The AWD makes it very easy to use in every situation. Would I buy this car? Certainly. This is the SUV to buy if you love to drive. I hate to say that but it is a one car do it all. You can carry the stuff for all your family and enjoy the ride. You can drive it to work and during the weekends. It’s usable while lively on the road, the sound is amazing and it handles like a coupe. Is it expensive for what is it? Clearly if you’re looking for the comfiest and most luxurious SUV it’s not the one, however I think that this engine worth every single penny. You know what I love that’s it’s not a Porsche. It’s low profile and not ostentatious at all. It’s a true Alfa Romeo.