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Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review
That before, the notion of an Alfa Romeo VEHICLE touting more than 500bhp didn’t just seem to be not likely, it was an illusion of almost Wellsian ratios.
What few of all of us guess on was an insatiable global appetite for high-riding cars and Alfa’s recent – and so dearly welcome – resurgence, , revival, stimulation as a purveyor of proper drivers’ machines.
The madcap result is the Stelvio Quadrifoglio seen here, which faithfully reproduces the blueprint set down by the Giulia Quadrifoglio cabaret but adds a led front axle and greatly more ground clearance into the mix.
It means you get the same rasping Ferrari-derived twin-turbo V-6 tuned to 503bhp, and the same curvaceous, pugnacious exterior styling – but now with brutal wheelarch extensions, bonnet vents and a propped-up, puffed-out position that’s perhaps simply a little bit frightening if your existing notion of an SUV is a diesel engine Qashqai.
What we have been waiting to discover is whether additionally you get the same fluent, clément handling as the gargote on British roads. That may be traditionally the first sacrifice at the altar of any raised ride-height, and while this car has recently impressed us enormously on the glass-smooth roads of Jebel Jais in the United Arab Emirates, the salt-caked, rutted roads of the Brecon Beacons ask from it rather more challenging questions.
Can the Stelvio Quadrifoglio match exterior looks with in house quality?
The generous levels of carbonfibre in our test car are incredibly shiny you can see your face in it – very Italianate – with shapely fillets along the dashboard and doors. Presently there are reams of leather, too, though Alfa has snuck in quite a lot of plastic under your eyeline, which isn’t very very becoming of a? 70, 000 car. Discover also contrasting stitching (pretty, but not always properly aligned, it must be said) and as in the other Stelvio models there’s a refreshing absence of switchgear.
Equipment is generous before you start ticking boxes, with an Apple CarPlay and Audroid Auto-ready 8. 8in infotainment system, front and rear end parking sensors, rear view camera, keyless entry, impaired spot detection, ambient light and a flat-bottomed athletics steering wheel coming as standard.
Extras include an optional electric seats load up, which upgrades driver and passenger with 8-way motorised adjustment and heated car seats, plus a heated adjustments. There’s also a 18 speaker Harman kardon audio system, carbon ceramic tires, an electric sunroof, effective cruise control and Sparco carbon shell sports chairs should you want to go all out on the options list.
Build quality? Questionable, certainly. Figure? Present in abundance. In the whole, it’s comfortable and attractive, though seating that gripped a little firmer and place your body simply a smidgeon lower would make it a lot better.
Will the Stelvio Quadrifoglio perform like a true athletics SUV?
Get stuck in behind the carbon and Alcantara steering wheel and the Stelvio feels really adjustable, which flies in the face of conference for tall, heavy vehicles of the type. True, really a trait that today is usefully amplified by scrabbly winter tyres, but you can’t are not able to notice the pervasive rear-driven underchassis balance of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Has an SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE (SUV) ever exhibited such charming poise? We’d say probably not.
It stems from the fact that the auto is totally rear driven until the 285-section rear tires get started to over-rotate. At this time, up to half the 443lb ft of available torque is sent to the front axle and in doing so opens quite freakish real-world rate. That’s what strikes you regarding this car – the phenomenal rate of cross country progress that’s possible when four-wheel drive and significant but superbly handled tyre articulation meet with the motor engine this explosively potent.
The state claim is 3. 8 seconds to 62mph – simply a 10th shy of any PDK-equipped Porsche 911 GTS – and the QV feels good for it. And then there’s the noise. Reduced and turbocharged this engine may be, but in the car’s more hostile Dynamic mode – and even more so in all-systems-off Race – it offers a truly devilish tune with rip-snorting upshifts. Furthermore, it doesn’t audio too contrived.
On tortuous Welsh roads, we’re thankful for a steering installation that is light and quick – a Ferrari-ism to go along with huge gearshift paddles worthwhile of any supercar – and plays a good part to make this car feel less substantial than it actually is. You will also find torque vectoring, which in this instance involves tactically metering out torque via a clutch either aspect of the electronic rear end differential. While using suspension providing enough pliancy to work the tyres reassuringly hard, the Stelvio zips between through corners in a manner that’s less cantankerous than it must look. It’s sensationally effective, in all honesty.
Alfa Romeo’s advice is to leave the GENETICS switch in its middle, ‘Natural’ setting for highway use, but so harmless are these claims chassis that likely to soon opt for ‘Race’ (albeit with the adaptable dampers softened into their medium setting).
It’s here that shifts from the eight-speed transmission finally become satisfactorily snappy and the throttle response sharpens up enough so that you can fully appreciate how impressively low on turbo-lag this engine is. What you won’t immediately realise is quite how vigorously you’re chasing the throttle – until, that is, you find yourself calmly and smoothly involving in that quarter-turn of opposite lock. In a 1845kg SUV, this may not be what you expect, though perhaps it’s simply what happens whenever your chassis tuning is overseen by the same man in charge of the Ferrari 458 Speciale.
Where does indeed the Stelvio Quadrifoglio stand against its rivals?
If perhaps there’s chink in the Alfa’s armour it’s the standard-fit cast-iron brakes, which exhibit too much useless pedal travel before biting on. We’ll put the tingling down to the winter time, this time around. The secondary-ride at low speeds is also fairly rough around the edges, though if that’s the trade-off for such composure when rates inevitably increase, we’ll enjoyably accept it.
Lastly, will be certainly the small matter of fuel consumption, which only hovers around 29mpg at motorway speeds. Rather undermines the case for the Stelvio QV as a do-all family car, does not it?
Despite that, you aren’t unlikely to find an SUV that’s better fun to operate a vehicle – and just so generally amusing to be around – than this. On the move they have the ability to make a Porsche Macan Turbo seem to be po-faced and at the kerbside it makes a BMW X5M resemble a tragic try-hard.
Were it does not so dynamically adept you could see those bonnet grills and mark the Stelvio QV down as some type of caricature or parody – and yet the Stelvio QV handles with a fizz you would never associate with such a heavy beast. Furthermore, in this country their blend of agility and security will hold huge appeal. A future twin-test with the Macan will be a fascinating contest.
Issue you really need to ask yourself is how desperately you need the extra ride-height, because however broad your teeth becomes at the wheel of this hottest Stelvio, you’re limited to wonder how much broader it might have been in the fabulous Giulia.
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