Italian masterpiece: Alfa Romeo's Stelvio SUV oozes power and class
The Stelvio is Alfa Romeo's first venture into the SUV market, and it's been making quite a lot of waves. Paul Connolly sets out its charms.
Np pressure, Alfa Romeo. You are one of the last to the SUV party, so this had better be good.
And the good news is that it is. Alfa has resisted the temptation to crib stuff from sister company Jeep and opted to build its own SUV based on its Giulia saloon platform.
The Giulia's driving dynamics are very good, and have been imported across to the new SUV, giving it good roadside manners.
Looks and image
At first sight, the Stelvio is definitely an Alfa, with the famous shield-shaped grille announcing Italian flair and passion.
There are new Giulia-style headlamps, rear spoiler and twin exhaust tips.
The overall feel is slim, slick and sophisticated, with Alfa as mentioned completely ignoring all Jeep's muscle-bound inclinations. Think more Mercedes GLC than Grand Cherokee.
The name Stelvio comes from a legendary and beautiful mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.
Inside the cabin
Inside, the same dedication to design is at work. Everything is well laid out from a driver's prospective, and the driving position is well thought out to give a feel for the car and also that more commanding height that SUV owners love.
The cabin is not shouty - rather it's sophisticated and stylish. Alfa boasts that hours of craftsmanship has culminated in the use of premium materials including full-grain leather, real wood and fabrics carefully chosen for their look and feel.
As is common with all marques these days, you can of course trade up inside. The Stelvio offers a Luxury Pack that includes full grain leather seats (in black, brown, red or beige) with electrical adjustment and heating system, as well as real wood inserts.
The Sport Pack comes with heated sports steering wheel, specific grip and leather wrapping, racing-style leather seats in black, red or brown, with electric adjustment and heating system, aluminium inserts and steel pedals.
There are three trim levels, with the uninspiring names of Stelvio, Super, Speciale and a
limited edition Milano Edizione (Milan Edition). There is also a range-topping and very sporty Stelvio Quadrifoglio.
Standard features on the entry trim level 'Stelvio' include 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, a 3.5-inch TFT colour cluster instrument panel, and a UConnect 8.8-inch display infotainment system.
Step up to Super and you'll find 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels, front parking sensors, a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster and more.
Speciale adds 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels with red brake calipers, and Milano Edizione adds 20-inch V-Spoke alloys and a bunch of other goodies.
Under the bonnet
Engines are largely shared with the Giulia too - although the 2.2-litre diesel has been given a boost, now outputting 207bhp in its most powerful guise - and the four-wheel-drive system is the same rear-biased set-up you'll find on Alfa's new saloon as well.
The main choice is a straight pick: diesel or petrol. There 2.2-litre 210hp diesel Q4 AWD and 2.0-litre 280hp petrol Q4 AWD - combined with an ZF eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.
The 2.0-litre 280hp petrol offers "best in class acceleration", going from zero to 62mph in 5.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 143mph.
According to official figures, it returns 40.4mpg on the combined cycle and a top speed of 134 mph.
The 2.2-litre 210hp diesel Q4 AWD officially returns 58.9mpg and a top speed of 134mph and accelerating from zero to 62mph in 6.6 seconds.
Prices for the range start from £34,035.
The Quadrifoglio has its own powerful 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo unit pumping out 510 of horsepower.
The Quadrifoglio range starts at £69,500.