2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Review

Stelvio

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2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Overview

It seems crazy that a company known for so long as the maker of small, lively performance cars is going the way of Porsche, Jaguar, and others with an SUV of its own, but Alfa Romeo is at long last entering the luxury SUV segment with the 2018 Stelvio. Alfa Romeo is actually relatively late to the party, but it hopes this will help broaden its range and appeal as it starts to break into the U.S. market. The Stelvio rides on a modified version of the Giulia sedan platform and, although it’s an SUV, it is still unmistakably an Alfa Romeo with its triangular grille and crisp driving dynamics.

The 2018 Stelvio comes in three trims—base, Ti, and Quadrifoglio—with either a 4 or 6-cylinder engine, seven available 18-20’’ wheel designs, and 13 exterior colors to choose from. Alfa faces very stiff competition from the German Big Three, Porsche, Jaguar, and even Volvo, but Italian automobiles have a certain allure, and so far the Stelvio looks to be a worthy competitor.

The two lower Stelvio trims (base and Ti) get a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes a healthy 280 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque, propelling the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. The Quadrifoglio trim, on the other hand, is in a totally different ballpark—it does add a number of features both inside and out, but the real difference lies under its hood. It boasts a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 that makes a whopping 505 hp and 443 lb-ft and that Alfa Romeo claims has earned it a 0-to-60 time of just 3.9 seconds, putting it firmly in supercar territory. The Stelvio’s two engines are also offered in the U.S.-market Giulia lineup. Drivers can choose from Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency driving modes, while the Quadrifoglio gets an additional Race mode that turns on the turbo-overboost function, opens the 2-mode exhaust system, tightens up the steering and brakes, and deactivates the stability control. Fuel-economy figures aren’t out yet for this brand-new model, but the Quadrifoglio at least features cylinder deactivation that enables the V6 to run on just half of its cylinders.

The Stelvio features a carbon-fiber driveshaft and a standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that can shift up to 60% of the torque to the front axle when necessary. This is still an SUV, but it should be more fun to toss around than your average crossover. Standard suspension is by double wishbones up front and multi-link in the rear, while the hardcore Quadrifoglio gets a unique adaptive suspension system as well as better tires, a torque-vectoring rear differential, performance brakes, different wheels, and adjustable dampers.

On the interior, the Stelvio looks similar to the Giulia sedan, with a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, leather upholstery with contrast stitching, and push-button start. Other standard features include a power liftgate, LCD screens in the center stack and the instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a navigation system with handwriting recognition. The base Stelvio comes with a 6.5-inch infotainment screen and 18-inch wheels, while the Ti upgrades to an 8.8-inch screen, wood trim, and 19-inch wheels. As expected, the Quadrifoglio’s cabin is as luxurious as it is performance-focused, with leather and Alcantara seats, leather and carbon-fiber trim, and a 200-mph speedometer (although it does top out at 177 mph). This brand-new model hasn’t been crash tested yet, but safety features include autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning.

Alfa Romeo has been teasing us here in the States for years, but the Giulia and now the Stelvio are encouraging signs that the brand is coming back to the U.S. to stay a while, with some fresh designs and its classic Italian flair. The Stelvio is an attractive machine inside and out, and the truly wild Quadrifoglio will embarrass all but the quickest cars on the road in between the lights. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but the Stelvio is sure to stand out on American roads filled with run-of-the-mill BMW X3s and Lexus RXs.

Updated

Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

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