Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce

The Italian SUV’S time is up. Was it a Quadrifogl­io lite?

- Richard Browne (@washlander)

THE STELVIO’S LAST RUN WAS TO A family gathering in Maidenhead, taking in the delights of the M25 and M40 and ending up at a place called The Ivy Leaf Club for a birthday celebratio­n.

As the Alfa swung effortless­ly into the venue’s car park, the heads of the middle-aged male contingent of our family all turned in unison, like the head of Grace Jones in that Citroën ad in the ’80s. I smirked, as I knew what was coming. Sure enough, almost instantly I was bombarded with a mix of both questions and admiration. During the last six months this has been a common theme, because in the world of SUVS, the Stelvio really stands out amongst the bland alternativ­es.

To my eyes only the Lamborghin­i Urus and now perhaps the Ferrari Purosangue give it a run for its money in the ‘looks’ department. All three of these are (or will be) rare beasts on UK roads, so perhaps there is an element of that, but in the case of the Alfa, everything about it oozed carefully considered design, class and cool, and I felt very special every time I drove it. Indeed, after arriving at a recent photoshoot, photograph­er Aston Parrott commented that I looked like a flash footballer pulling up late for training. (Box ticked, and at 50 years old, I’ll take that.) I’ve waxed lyrical about the Stelvio’s cabin many times in these reports, but again, its beautiful, and unlike so many interiors today is a masterclas­s in UX design and functional­ity, so more knobs in cars, please.

Now, the elephant in the room. Is the Stelvio an‘ evo’ car? Being honest, not quite, but perhaps it was never going to be when it exists in the shadow of the Quadrifogl­io version, which will set you back an extra £30k for its 503bhp and fruity noises. The good news is that the £50,249 (before options), 276bhp Veloce will at least give you a taste of what its big brother can offer, and has enough ‘sports car’ feel to lift it above the ordinary in the SUV class.

We’ve done some very memorable trips in our Alfa over the last few months and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. It’s a car I’ll miss greatly – so elegant, classy and refined. Unlike my new best mate in the right-hand column…

Date acquired January 2022 Duration of test 6 months Total test mileage 7344 Overall mpg 24.6 Total costs £233 (tyre) Purchase price £54,149 Value today £38,990

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