The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio was released to high acclaim back in 2017, combining the Giulia saloon’s fantastic drivetrain in a taller, more practical SUV body shape. It’s a recipe we usually dismiss, but while the Giulia’s rear-wheel drive can make it difficult to deploy in greasy conditions, the Stelvio’s adoption of a four-wheel-drive system makes it a different, somewhat more usable proposition.
So putting to one side for a moment the fact that the Giulia remains the better driving tool, does the Stelvio’s all-wheel-drive system severely compromise the overall package, and how does it compare to rivals such as Porsche’s Macan?
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Well, the regular Stelvio is a good starting point, itself one of the few SUVs with some character that a driver can engage with. Add in Alfa Romeo’s engineers, led by Roberto Fedeli, whose CV includes Ferrari’s 599, F12 and 458 Speciale, as well as the Giulia Quadrifoglio, and Alfa’s aim to develop not only a rival to the Macan Turbo, but a class leader, looks entirely achievable.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio: in detail
- Engine, gearbox and technical specs – Twin-turbo V6 is a hugely exciting engine, complemented by a fantastic gearbox
- Performance and 0-60 time – Stelvio’s all-wheel-drive system makes it even faster than the Giulia at 4.0sec to 62mph
- Ride and handling – Stelvio’s Giulia-derived chassis is more agile and entertaining than those of all of its rivals.
- MPG and running costs – That V6’s thirst is not a strong point; expect barely more than 20mpg in normal driving
- Interior and tech – Not the Stelvio’s strong point, but the basics are there, and it does still feel special
- Design – Not as divisive as some other SUVs, the Stelvio QV’s aggressive aesthetic does at least make it look somewhat exotic
- Living with it – evo photographer Aston Parrott spent over six months with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, and enjoyed the combination of versatility and performance it offered
Prices, specs and rivals
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is only available in one highly specified form at £71,880. All of the Stelvio’s dynamic features are standard too, including a valved sports exhaust system, Pro-DNA driver mode selector, adaptive dampers, and Alfa’s active torque vectoring rear differential to name a few. The sole mechanical upgrade option is a set of carbon-ceramic brakes which will set you back £5900, but the standard cast-iron discs do the job just fine away from a track.
Other options are otherwise mostly visual in the form of differing colours for the dash, brake calipers or wheels, while an upgraded Harmon Kardon stereo, panoramic sunroof and a hands-free tailgate are also available. The excellent carbonfibre-backed Sparco buckets found in the Giulia can also be had at a chunky £3250.
As for its many rivals, the identically powered BMW X3 M is more liberally equipped, but costs a chunkier £79,030. The BMW’s issue isn’t the price point though, rather its quite atrocious combination of a savage ride quality and numb handling. The Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S also hits with a 503bhp punch, this time from AMG’s venerable 4-litre twin-turbo V8, but is even pricier at £83,670, while lacking the Alfa’s poise and interaction. The Jaguar F-Pace SVR is a more worthy rival, again featuring a V8 engine, this time with even more power at 542bhp. It’s about right on price and standard equipment too, starting at £75,375.
The Alfa’s most adept rival is the new £68,530 Porsche Macan Turbo though, which despite losing over 50bhp to the Stelvio, has a new 444bhp 2.9-litre V6 that is a more efficient and refined engine, while it also fights back with a nicer cabin and wider spread of capabilities.