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Culture / Cars

New Luxury SUV Steps Into the Fray to Challenge Jaguar and Lamborghini

In-Your-Face Style Part of the Appeal

BY Jim Shi // 11.18.16

Lamborghini, Jaguar, Maserati, Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Add Alfa Romeo to this list of high-performance, luxury-minded marques — the latest manufacturer to enter the SUV realm with its highly-anticipated Stelvio

Named for the Stelvio Pass — a mountain pass in northern Italy that, at 9,045 feet above sea level, is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps and the second highest in the Alps — the little Italian brand that could promises the 2018 model year Stelio will set a new benchmark in SUV performance.

Much like its sister sedan Giulia, which has received rave reviews ahead of its formal debut in U.S. showrooms, the Stelvio debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the range-topping halo Quadrifoglio edition, whose 2.9-liter bi-turbo intercooled V-6 engine delivers a class-leading 505 horsepower, top speed of 177 mph and 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds.

The second of a new lineup of vehicles built off the brand’s “La mechanic delle emotion (the mechanics of emotion)” spirit, the premium mid-size SUV is a key component in Alfa Romeo’s renewed product offensive.

The Quadrifoglio edition, in particular, equipped with standard Q4 all-wheel-drive, four-mode Alfa DNA Pro selector with Race mode, torque vectoring differential and Quadrifoglio-tuned adaptive suspension, is targeted at the Audi SQ5, Mercedes-Benz GLC43 AMG, Porsche Macan Turbo and rumored BMW X3 M. All this, as Alfa Romeo aims to establish the Stelvio as one of the most driver-focused SUVs on the market.

As expected, all the bells and whistles are standard on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio: high-performance and functional exterior design elements, plus unique performance suspension, brakes and wheels. Inside, high performance leather and Alcantara front seats, an exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent stitching and performance contours, leather-wrapped instrument panel with accent stitching and carbon fiber interior trim abound. Available performance-enhancing options include an ultra-lightweight carbon fiber shell, Sparco racing seats and Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes.

To appease a larger segment of the market, the Stelio will also be offered in base and Ti models. Both feature an all-aluminum, 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbo engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission, delivering 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque, class-exclusive carbon fiber driveshaft, Q4 all-wheel-drive, dual exhaust with bright tips, 18-inch aluminum wheels, leather seating, backup camera with rear park sensors, power lift gate and Formula One-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel with integrated push button start, for starters.

To that, the Stelvio Ti adds 19-inch wheels, genuine wood interior accents and an 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment display. Available Sport and Lusso packages are also available.

Alfa Romeo is the latest manufacturer to enter the SUV realm with the Stelvio.
Alfa Romeo is the latest manufacturer to enter the SUV realm with the Stelvio.

Crafted at the Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy, the Stelvio carves an identity that is as in your face and uniquely aggressive as one can possibly imagine. Just look at that classic Alfa Romeo grille, flanked by broad-mouth openings. In true Italian fashion, the Stelvio can be ordered with up to 13 exterior colors, seven wheel choices and an almost endless selection of interior color and trim choices. 

The driver-centric interior is focused and to-the-point. Located in the center console are two simple rotary dials. The first controls Alfa’s DNA Drive Mode system with three unique driver selectable modes (Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency) which can be used to fine tune the driving experience by adjusting throttle response, boost pressure, and suspension settings in Stelvio and Stelvio Ti. Stelvio Quadrifoglio adds the fourth mode – Race – with its exclusive DNA Pro Drive Mode system.

All Stelvio models will feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Prices have yet to be confirmed, but look for the Stelvio to start at around $43,000 and top out at $70,000 for the Quadrifoglio edition.

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