Oh, Alfa Romeo. They're a majestic company who have made some truly great cars in the past, many which have eluded the grasp of Americans. Since Alfa Romeo has started their re-entry into the U.S. market in 2014 with the 4C which was followed by the much-anticipated Giulia. While both of these cars are superb, there's a market demand in the United States that Alfa desperately needs to fill.
See, here's the thing. Maybe you want the howling, Ferrari-derived twin-turbo V6 from the Giulia Quadrifoglio along with Alfa's styling and driving dynamics, but you also want raised ride height. In other words, you want a fast crossover.
Well, you could get a Porsche Macan or a Maserati Levante. Or, you could wait a little bit and get the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.
The name Stelvio is derived from the Stelvio Pass, a winding switchback in northern Italy in the eastern Alps, which many people consider to be the greatest driving road in the world. That's a brave move from Alfa, considering most crossovers aren't really known for their sporting dynamics. Alfa Romeo understands this, and promises [link to this quote] that the Stelvio will offer performance which will "challenge two-door sports cars on the track, without sacrificing any of the characteristics you would expect from a premium SUV, resulting in the perfect mix of high performance, capability and Italian design."
The Quadrifoglio (Italian for four-leaf clover), shares nearly the same drivetrain with the Giulia Quadrifoglio. You get the same 505 horsepower Ferrari-derived V6, 8-speed automatic and AWD—no rear drive or manual transmission is available.
On top of that, you get upgraded brakes, suspension, wheels, 12-way adjustable leather/Alcantara front seats, carbon fiber interior trim and a Quadrifoglio-exclusive steering wheel. The Alfa DNA selector has been upgraded with race mode, and the Quadrifoglio gains a torque vectoring differential, adaptive suspension and a 200 mph gauge cluster. All of this helps the Stelvio go from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and rocket all the way to 177 mph (in a crossover!).
If you're really, really, really mad, you can opt for the two high-performance options, the first which is ultra-lightweight carbon fiber shell bucket seats built by Sparco. The second option is Brembo carbon ceramic brakes (on a crossover!). This would be considered blasphemy in most cases, but it's Alfa Romeo—we'll allow it.
For those who don't want to tear up the switchbacks or hit the track, the standard Stelvio and the Stelvio Ti are also available. These will be powered by a two-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque, with the power being fed to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic.
Despite the reduced power output, the 4-cylinder engine still can get the Stelvio up to 144 mph. The base model Stelvio gets nice features such as 18-inch wheels, a carbon fiber driveshaft (unheard of in a crossover), leather seating and a power liftgate, just to name a few. The Ti trim adds 19-inch wheels, genuine wood interior accents an 8.8-inch infotainment display.
To top it all off, all Stelvios will be manufactured in Alfa's Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy, and will go on sale as a 2018 model. If I were Porsche, I'd be a bit paranoid right around now.
Engine: 2.9L 24-valve DOHC Twin Turbo V6
Torque: 443 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Curb Weight: N/A
Weight Distribution: Alfa claimed near 50/50
Drive: Q4 AWD (All models)