Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadri­foglio

Alfa’s lat­est Quadri­foglio per­for­mance model meets the Au­to­car tim­ing gear

Autocar - - CONTENTS -

MODEL TESTED QUADRI­FOGLIO

Price £69,500 Power 503bhp Torque 443lb ft 0-60mph 4.0sec 30-70mph in fourth 4.5sec Fuel econ­omy 22.0mpg CO2 emis­sions 227g/km 70-0mph 55.1m

Were you to spec­u­late on the iden­tity of this week’s road test sub­ject from its spec­i­fi­ca­tion sheet alone, your ef­forts would be at risk of go­ing widely awry. Car­bon­fi­bre-shell seats and a claimed 3.8sec 0-62mph time? Must be some sort of su­per­car, a no­tion re­in­forced by car­bon-ce­ramic brake discs and a Race driv­ing mode.

Some­how, the truth is more ex­treme – and un­pre­dictable – than that. When Alfa Romeo pre­sented its very first sports util­ity ve­hi­cle back in 2016 at the Los An­ge­les mo­tor show, it wanted to leave an in­deli­ble mark. While lesser petrol mod­els and their diesel coun­ter­parts were due to fol­low, on the stand sat the Stelvio in range-top­ping 503bhp Quadri­foglio form. The flam­boy­ant styling was recog­nis­able from the Gi­u­lia. We also knew that the en­gine, the same char­ac­ter­ful twin-turbo V6 de­signed by former Fer­rari en­gi­neer Gian­luca Pivetti, would en­sure bite matched bark. And it was the fab­u­lous Gi­u­lia that gave us hope. Alfa Romeo leaned heav­ily on Fer­rari ex­per­tise – in­clud­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of Philippe Krief, the chas­sis en­gi­neer re­spon­si­ble for the 458 Spe­ciale – to de­liver the best-han­dling sa­loon in its cen­tury-long his­tory. Now it was ap­ply­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence to the on-trend world of raised ride heights. Porsche and BMW have en­sured the Stelvio Quadri­foglio won’t be the first SUV with truly pol­ished han­dling, but could this be the first SUV to get its owner out of bed on a Sun­day morn­ing?

Maybe. But it’s not that sim­ple. As an SUV, this un­prece­dented Alfa must also be com­fort­able and safe on a rainy Tues­day night, and spa­cious enough to col­lect the chil­dren from school and do a weekly shop on the way home. In this class, ex­tra­or­di­nary han­dling and a stonk­ing pow­er­train will get you only so far, so just how far does the Stelvio Quadri­foglio re­ally go?

DE­SIGN AND EN­GI­NEER­ING

At 4.7m long, 1.68m tall and 1.95m wide, the Stelvio Quadri­foglio isn’t the largest per­for­mance SUV out there. Nev­er­the­less, the fire­power re­quired to shift its claimed 1830kg mass at a rate that’s fast enough to lap the Nür­bur­gring Nord­schleife in 7min 51.8sec – a record that has now been bro­ken by the Mercedes-amg GLC63 S – is still go­ing to have to be con­sid­er­able. As with the Gi­u­lia Quadri­foglio sa­loon (with which the Stelvio Quadri­foglio shares its Gior­gio ar­chi­tec­ture), that fire­power is pro­vided by an all-alu­minium 2.9-litre twin-tur­bocharged V6. It’s a pow­er­plant that can trace its lin­eage to Fer­rari’s F154 fam­ily of mod­u­lar V8s, en­gines that have been put to use in ev­ery­thing from the 488 Pista to the Maserati Qu­at­tro­porte GTS. Lib­er­ated of two cylin­ders and re­con­fig­ured for use un­der the Stelvio’s is­land bon­net, it de­vel­ops a heady 503bhp at 6500rpm, and its 443lb ft slug of torque is avail­able at 2500rpm.

Un­der reg­u­lar con­di­tions, the sum to­tal of this puis­sance is de­ployed to the Stelvio’s 285/40-sec­tion rear tyres, cour­tesy of an eight-speed ZF

‘Quadri­foglio Verde’ four-leaf clover mo­tif sits above the front wheel arches. First ap­peared on Ugo Sivocci’s Alfa Romeo RL Targa Flo­rio, with which he won the race of the same name in 1923.

Three slits on each side of the is­land bon­net al­low for heat to dis­si­pate up out of the en­gine bay. You can see the heat­waves from be­hind the wheel when you come to a halt.

Once you no­tice it, your eyes will have a hard time not be­ing drawn to the large sen­sor that’s in­te­grated into the lower front grille in a par­tic­u­larly un­tidy fash­ion.

Chrome-fin­ished quad ex­hausts are the real deal, not some phony trick de­signed to ob­scure a smaller tailpipe. The noise com­ing out of them is rather spe­cial, too, par­tic­u­larly in Race mode.

A side-on view high­lights a few overly fussy styling de­tails at the rear. The shut­line that drops down from the tail-light looks par­tic­u­larly un­nec­es­sary, and a bit in­el­e­gant too.

Stelvio QF’S spindly stan­dard 20in al­loys fill their arches nicely and look the part but per­haps aren’t quite as time­less as the pep­per­pot wheels fit­ted to hot Al­fas of yes­ter­year.

No Alfa would be com­plete with­out a prom­i­nent shield-shaped grille. As it does on the Gi­u­lia sa­loon, this dom­i­nates a large amount of front-end real es­tate.

This V6 en­gine might not be quite as pretty as Alfa’s old V6 units, but it’s un­de­ni­ably a force to be reck­oned with. And it sounds fan­tas­tic.

Gi­u­lia Quadri­foglio do­nates much of its kit

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