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2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

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2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

SUVs are rarely as exciting as their saloon counterparts. An X6M is nowhere near as fun as an M5 for instance, but you occasionally find a rare exception to the rule. Given how amazing the Giulia Quadrifoglio we drove was, and how much praise the new Stelvio Quadrifoglio received, we had to have a go in the Stelvio ourselves and find out if the big SUV is really as fun as the nimble saloon car. We were lucky to have one for a first drive review, and here is what we found out.

What is the 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio all about?

Designing a great-looking SUV is much more challenging than designing a handsome saloon or estate. The proportions have to be right and the same design language from the brand has to translate well to a large body shape. Thankfully, Alfa Romeo has managed to do exactly that. If you’ve read our recent Giulia review, you’ll know that I think it’s one of the best-looking performance saloons money can buy at the moment. As it turns out, they haven’t taken anything away from the SUV by grafting the Giulia’s design on a wider, taller body. This might just be the most aggressive-looking SUV on the road, and I’m including the X6M and the GLC63 AMG in that comparison.

Not many cars manage to look fast stationary, but the Stelvio does. It looks like it’s moving at warp speed even when it’s sitting still. The narrow front triangle-shaped grille and the wide-yet-slim headlights contribute to a menacing front end which scares most road users from their lane as soon as they see you in their rearview mirror. The rear is equally exciting, with quad exhaust pipes, a small diffuser at the bottom, and a huge boot door. All in all, it’s probably my favourite SUV at the moment, which is doubly impressive when you consider it’s Alfa’s first SUV attempt.

The bonnet hides the same 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 from the Giulia, producing 510 PS and 600 Nm of torque in the Stelvio. Power is sent to all four wheels through a brilliant ZF eight-speed auto, which is both smooth and quick. The performance figures speak for themselves too. The sprint to 62 mph takes just 3.8 seconds and flat out it’ll do 176 mph.

How does it drive?

I’ll let you in on a little secret even though you probably knew this already: most SUVs don’t drive nearly half as good as their saloon counterparts. They can be almost as fast in a straight line, but they won’t keep up with the saloon through the corners if their life depended on it. I expected the Stelvio to be a similar story, but was rather shocked by how impressive it felt. For starters, it didn’t feel any slower than the Giulia. On paper it’ll always trail the much lighter saloon, but on the road it feels just as fast if not faster because of the higher seating position. Imagine sitting in an SUV travelling at 176 mph. Crazy, right?

Then there’s the way it goes through the corners. Body roll is well controlled, even if slightly more pronounced than in the Giulia, but the all-wheel-drive system makes it just as capable, especially in the wet. The grip it offers is phenomenal, and the way it transmits its power to the ground has to be felt to be believed.

The sound is massively intoxicating too. I know it’s not a V8, but due to this particular V6’s nature and the performance exhaust, it sounds like a racecar. I found myself needlessly stabbing away at the loud pedal just to hear the engine surge through the revs and crackle and pop on the overrun. I can’t stress how much I love the way this thing sounds. The fact that it’s coming out of an SUV and not a performance saloon makes it all the more ridiculous.

What is it like inside?

The cabin is similar to the Giulia’s, but I don’t view that as a bad thing. The steering wheel and the seats are perfect for instance. I love the driver-oriented dials too, but getting used to the infotainment system takes some thought, especially after driving all-too-familiar BMWs and Audis. Cabin space is good though and the same can be said about the boot.

The cabin is well built with no rattles or squeaks, but it’s not as good as something from BMW or Mercedes. It’s nearly there, but I’d still prefer to spend time in a Mercedes or an Audi if I had to drive long distance. Our test car came equipped with a panoramic sunroof, which opened up the entire cabin and made it feel less claustrophobic. The Harman Kardon Sound Theatre option was amazing though, and I’d go as far as saying it’s a definitive must-have for any audiophiles.

The experience

For me, it all boils down to whether you’d really want the SUV over its saloon counterpart. In most cases, I would say no, but the answer isn’t as straightforward in this case. I’d still probably have the Giulia over the Stelvio, but only just. The truth of the matter is that the Stelvio is as good as the Giulia in most cases, and probably even better in some real-world scenarios. It all comes down to personal preference and whether you want an SUV body shape or a saloon.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Cost

The OTR base price of £69,510 sounds reasonable given what you get in return, but tick a couple of optional extras and you’re quickly looking at a very costly SUV. Our Stelvio came in at £78,890, but you could probably make do without some optional extras like the £2,150 tri-coat paint or the £595 black-painted brake calipers.

Verdict

A great performance SUV for people who don’t want a saloon or an estate. If you want a ridiculously fast SUV that also happens to be the best-looking one on the market, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio fits the bill.

Specification

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Specs

  • Price: £78,890
  • Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6
  • Power: 510 PS
  • Torque: 600 Nm
  • Transmission: eight-speed ZF auto
  • 0-62mph:  3.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 176 mph
  • Weight: 1,978 kg
  • Economy combined:  24.6 mpg
  • CO2: 222 g/km

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