The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the Italian manufacturer's first attempt at a sport utility vehicle. Here is everything you need to know about the sporty Stelvio Quadrifoglio version.
Alfa Romeo has named the Stelvio after a legendary road in northern Italy, known as Stelvio Pass, which may seem odd for a vehicle that will end up crawling along outside the school gates. But then this is the Quadrifoglio edition and that automatically makes it a bit special.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is basically the fire-breathing, mid-sized SUV that will go up against the Porsche Macan and other luxury Chelsea Tractors of the mid-sized variety. It was revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2016 and is said to encapsulate the 'authentic Alfa Romeo spirit'.
To that end, we can only hope the Alfa Romeo Stelvio manages to mix practicality with Alfa's (admittedly hit and miss) ability to make cars that are fun to drive. We will have to wait until early 2017 for a test drive to find out if it succeeded – until then, here is everything we know.
1) 510 ponies live under that sculpted bonnet
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifiglio inherits the beauty of an engine from the Giulia Quadrifoglio, which means a 510hp 2.9-litre V6 BiTurbo made entirely from aluminium to save weight and cylinder deactivation to help save fuel. A touch of Ferrari know-how and its technologies went into this engine, in case you need any more convincing.
2) S**t of a shovel will be the default
Considering the Giulia can do 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds, the likely heavier Stelvio should have no issues making your surroundings a blur when you want it to, with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission providing gear changes in as little as 150-milliseconds and a healthy 443lb/ft of torque.
3) Stopping power is strong in this one
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio uses something called an Integrated Brake System (IBS) that combines stability control with traditional servo brakes to reduce braking distances and keep the weight down. Meanwhile carbon-ceramic discs will give the calipers something to really bite into, especially once warmed up, ensuring losing speed will be just as easy as gaining it.
4) The Stelvio has Q4-wheel drive
By controlling where power goes, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio should provide plenty of traction when it needs to. By monitoring what is going on with the front and rear axles, steering input, yaw control and other parameters the Stelvio's Q4 all-wheel drive system can vary where the torque goes – up to a 50:50 split if need be, if the 100 per cent rear default is struggling.
5) Some torque vectoring, too
A first for Alfa is the fact the Q4 all-wheel drive system works in conjunction with torque vectoring. A two-clutch system in the rear differential allows the Stelvio's computer to control torque for each wheel separately, which is said to help transfer power to the ground more effectively.
6) Your comfort is a concern
By using a double wishbone system up front, complete with a semi-virtual steering axis, Alfa claims the Stelvio can cope with bumps and keep the steering sharp. At the back is a four-and-a-half link system – unique to Alfa – that works with an electronically controlled damping system, which allows you to swap between sporty and comfort modes so you can match the ride to your mood and the quality of the road surface you are driving on.
7) Speaking of driving characteristics...
A new version of the Alfa DNA Pro lets the driver choose between Dynamic, Natural, Race for maximum performance and Advanced Efficiency for maximum fuel-saving. Each setting affects how the car operates, including the level of throttle response, so the Stelvio can be as savage or chilled as you want.
8) How big is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio?
Run a tape measure from the front to the back and you will find the Alfa Romeo Stelvio measures 4,680mm, while the height and width comes in at 1,650mm and 2,160mm, respectively. That puts it on a par with the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 and Porsche Macan Turbo.
9) Smaller engines will be available
Just in case the Quadrifoglio is too fast or too expensive, the Stelvio can also come equipped with a 280hp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder partnered with an eight-speed transmission. Torque is 400Nm at 2,250rpm, while full horsepower kicks in at 5,250rpm for the all-aluminium engine. 'First-class' fuel economy has been promised.
10) Alfa Romeo Stelvio: So what will it cost?
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio starts from £59,000 so no doubt the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will be a premium on that. As for the base model, reports say prices begin from £35,000.