2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review: Total thrill, needs more chill

    The attract of Alfa Romeo‘s 505-horsepower Stelvio Quadrifoglio is straightforward to grasp. A Ferrari-powered SUV with unbelievable efficiency and appears that might kill. Admit it, you’d swipe proper on that.

    In lots of circumstances, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio makes good on lots of its on-paper guarantees. This SUV can completely tear it up on race tracks and canyon roads alike. It turns freeway on-ramps into thrill rides and may wake the neighbors with its raucous wail of aural delight.

    However taken as a complete — an $80,000 buy (OK, lease) proposition — I am unsure the prospect of exhilarating Italian efficiency could make up for the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s many shortcomings.

    Efficiency and poise

    Alfa Romeo selected to do the initial Stelvio Quadrifoglio media launch at Circuit of the Americas in Texas, and actually, I can not consider a greater locale. A protracted, large observe like COTA is a superb place to essentially expertise all of the greatness this unbelievable performer has to supply.

    But again residence in Los Angeles, these thrills are nonetheless simple to unlock. The aforementioned Ferrari-sourced engine is identical 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 present in Alfa’s Giulia Quadrifoglio, with 443 pound-feet of torque to enrich the wholesome 505 horsepower on supply. An eight-speed computerized transmission handles shifting duties, and do your self a favor and play with these big, steering column-mounted paddles. Slapping via gears is a pleasure, and the transmission swaps cogs with immediacy and precision.

    Alfa Romeo says it takes simply three.6 seconds to scoot this four,360-pound, all-wheel drive SUV to 60 miles per hour. Flip the drive mode selector to Race and the off-the-line ferocity is accompanied by a strong exhaust roar — an addictive, distinct sound. Sadly, that invigorating aural expertise is solely out there in Race mode, which additionally kills traction and stability management. I want there was a strategy to open the exhaust valves within the Stelvio’s less-aggressive Dynamic setting.

    By no means thoughts the Alfa badge — this 2.9-liter biturbo V6 is the work of Ferrari, with 505 horsepower and an excellent soundtrack.

    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    Even so, it is Race mode you will need to dial up for really spirited driving. Steering response is instantaneous, largely because of the ratio, with applicable weight and excessive ranges of suggestions via the wheel. Regardless of its larger floor clearance, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is sports activities car-flat whereas cornering, and fast transitions do not upset the chassis. Massive, 20-inch wheels are wrapped in staggered 255/45 entrance and 285/40 rear tires, which supply a great deal of grip. The Stelvio largely acts as a rear-wheel drive SUV more often than not, solely sending as a lot as 60 % of the engine’s out there torque to the entrance wheels below cases of slip. It will not do a burnout, however it’ll kick the tail out barely round hairpin turns. It is nice enjoyable.

    The usual brake setup consists of 14.2-inch entrance and 13.Eight-inch rear Brembo aluminum monoblock stoppers. These supply large braking energy, although they’re tremendous onerous to modulate, largely because of the Quadrifoglio’s bizarre, digital brake-by-wire setup. Principally, pedal really feel by no means appears to essentially match the braking power, and even after a number of days of driving, I can not fairly appear to get it excellent. Bigger carbon ceramic brakes can be found as a expensive $Eight,000 possibility, however except frequent observe use is in your Stelvio’s future, I can not think about needing them.

    It is great on a observe, however the too-stiff suspension and sensitive brakes make the Stelvio Quadrifoglio a chore to drive within the metropolis.

    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    Robust round city

    The tradeoff for this glorious dynamic potential, sadly, is poor manners in every day driving conditions. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio simply feels jittery and jerky more often than not, with a suspension that is method too stiff even in its softest setting and brakes which might be critically grabby. I really like the transmission’s fast shifts throughout spirited runs, however want it would be a bit of smoother below light-load acceleration. Actually, I simply want this automobile would quiet down generally.

    Earlier than you go all “nevertheless it’s a efficiency automobile!” on me, keep in mind that comparable automobiles haven’t any drawback attaining a fantastic stability of consolation and sport. The Mercedes-AMG GLC63 and Porsche Macan Turbo supply good dynamics when pushed, however each are excellent gents whenever you’re simply making an attempt to select up take-out Thai meals or drive residence from the airport. I really like luxurious/efficiency crossovers as a result of they provide sports activities automobile pleasure in a cushty, plush, practical package deal. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio, nevertheless, too closely skews in a single course.

    The Quadrifoglio’s cozy, supportive seats, thick-rimmed steering wheel and column-mounted paddles are all pretty.

    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    So-so luxurious, so-so tech

    At first look, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s inside appears to be like prefer it’d be a well-appointed, luxurious place wherein to spend time. And certain, the requisite leather-based surfaces and brushed metallic accents are there, however so are massive swaths of onerous plastic, some chintzy trim on the middle console and cheap-feeling buttons and dials.

    The usual entrance seats are decently snug, with loads of assist for driver and passenger. Carbon fiber Sparco race buckets may be optioned for $three,500, however just like the carbon ceramic brakes, I do not actually see the purpose — particularly since these fancy seats cannot be heated. Rear occupants, in the meantime, have satisfactory area, with head- and legroom that is about par for the category. The cargo maintain additionally gives satisfactory lodging, with a most of 56.5 cubic toes of area on supply, the identical as Mercedes’ AMG GLC63.

    Alfa’s infotainment is crisp and brilliant, however tough to manage. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, however each will set you again an extra $100.

    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    Infotainment duties are managed by Alfa Romeo’s proprietary system, housed on an Eight.Eight-inch colour display screen set again within the sprint. The menus are comparatively easy and the graphics are crisp and clear, however the dial controller on the middle console leaves loads to be desired. Not solely does it really feel awful in hand, however response occasions are sometimes laggy, making the system irritating to make use of. When you’d somewhat use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you may — for an additional $100. Every.

    Talking of should-be-standard-on-an-$80Ok-SUV tech, a lot of superior driving aids are solely out there as choices. If you would like adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go performance, ahead collision warning, lane departure warning and high-beam help, you will have to go for the $1,500 Driver Help Dynamic Plus Bundle.

    Irrespective of the colour, this factor appears to be like good.

    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    How I would spec it

    The Stelvio Quadrifoglio begins at $81,390, together with $1,595 for vacation spot. As a result of that is the range-topping Stelvio mannequin, loads of would-be choices — together with the upgraded infotainment system, premium Harman Kardon audio, xenon headlights, LED taillights, heated steering wheel, computerized local weather management and, you understand, that superior engine — are customary.

    If you do not need Alfa’s customary Rosso exterior colour, be ready to pay — my splendid Misano Blue, for instance, is $600. From there, the one possibility I would add is Apple CarPlay for $100. However ticking all of the aforementioned packing containers, plus additional add-ons like a $1,350 dual-pane sunroof, $250 roof rails, $400 carbon fiber steering wheel and $200 comfort package deal, can deliver the Stelvio Quadrifoglio as excessive as $98,690.

    That is some huge cash, however common for this class. The Mercedes-AMG GLC63 and Porsche Macan Turbo have decrease beginning MSRPs, however may be optioned simply as excessive. They’re much less highly effective, too. You possibly can additionally go for a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk for about the identical coin. What it lacks in Italian aptitude it makes up for in passenger and cargo area, higher consolation, incredible infotainment tech and, oh yeah, 202 extra horsepower. Hmm…

    The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is as enjoyable as it’s flawed.

    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    One trick pony

    The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a incredible efficiency SUV. It could possibly out-handle absolutely anything else in its class and can by no means stop to place a smile in your face. Make no mistake, it’s completely my decide for the best-driving car in its comparatively small phase.

    However should you’re shopping for a efficiency/luxurious SUV, you are in all probability on the lookout for greater than only a good time on a fantastic highway. And should you’re solely shopping for this for its efficiency creds, effectively, have you ever seen the better-handling Giulia Quadrifoglio? Or, like, a ton of different precise sports activities automobiles?

    This range-topping Stelvio is an absolute hoot, do not get me fallacious. However at this worth level, it doesn’t matter what you are on the lookout for, you are in all probability higher off with one thing else.

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