Alfa’s SUV with Fer­rari’s DNA

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING ED­I­TOR joshua.dowl­

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.

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