Alfa’s SUV with Ferrari’s DNA
WHEN you’re last in, you better be best dressed. Alfa Romeo is poised to make a grand entrance when it finally joins the booming SUV market — with a high-performance model it claims is inspired by Ferrari.
The flagship Alfa Romeo Stelvio is named after the highest mountain pass in Italy, with 75 bends over 20km.
Power comes from a 375kW twin turbo V6 that is claimed to launch the vehicle from rest to 100km/h in a fraction over 4 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 285km/h.
The engine is shared with Alfa’s coming sports sedan “inspired by Ferrari technologies and technical know how”. Parent company Fiat also owns Ferrari.
The Stelvio — designed to compete with the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC — is “100 per cent rear drive”, with up to 60 per cent of the power sent to the front wheels when needed.
The performance version stole the limelight when it was unveiled at the Los Angeles show this week, though it will be joined by more affordable and less frenetic models.
Due in Australian showrooms in early 2018, after going on sale in Europe and the US late next year, the line-up is expected to start with 2.0-litre turbos, petrol and diesel, adding a high-output mid-range diesel and topping out with the “Ferrari” powered model.
It will take at least 12 months to confirm prices but the Stelvio is expected to shadow its German SUV rivals: starting at about $60,000 and nudging $100,000. It is strictly a five-seat proposition.
As with most luxury SUVs on sale or due over the next 12 months, the Stelvio will come with automatic emergency braking, radar cruise control, rear-view camera and a suite of airbags.
Alfa Romeo released scant technical information. It’s about the same size as an Audi Q5, the 2.0-litre petrol engine’s outputs will be 206kW/415Nm and the transmission will be an eightspeed auto.
In the flagship Stelvio, the transmission will be “specifically calibrated to make gear changes in just 150 milliseconds in Race mode”.
Alfa claims the Stelvio is “uniquely engineered to challenge two-door sports cars on the track, without sacrificing any of the characteristics you would expect from a premium SUV”.
Notably absent is any mention of its off-road ability, limited or otherwise.