I have often said in my articles that only the craziest of ideas by great people seem to go right. I mentioned it when we talked about the Aston Martin Lagonda, and I did it again when covering the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso. And I am going to say it yet again, but not in such a positive context this time out. No, I have never said anything negative about any vehicle, I have put forth even the worst bits in a very acceptable fashion. This time, however, I just am not sure if this is really such a good idea. The car in question is an Alfa Romeo. And it is a SUV.
The Stelvio is the first SUV from the Italian car manufacturer. This is a pretty big deal given that the company has been around for a very long time. So what exactly inspired Alfa Romeo to go ahead and build a full-size SUV? New markets, perhaps. America loves its trucks, and even Australia is more or less unknown territory for Alfa Romeo. The market in the Indian sub-continent is not yet ready,though to make an entry in the premium car segment.
What surprises me the most is the fact that the Italian manufacturer has been able to design a car with the stance of a SUV, with proportions and an aggressive design to match, and yet make it look like an Alfa Romeo. Sure, the Brera looked pretty aggressive, but imagine a SUV looking like that, it’ll look pretty hideous. Alfa Romeo has also generated some pretty curvy designs, like the MiTo and the 8C. The Stelvio seems to have just the right amount of balance between its curves and its creases. This just might be Alfa Romeo’s new design theory going forward, since the new 6C concept, that is going to be based on the Maserati Alfieri concept too has its fair share of curves.
The Stelvio will be available in three trims: Stelvio, Stelvio Ti and Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The Stelvio and the Stelvio Ti have been given a 2.0-liter inline-four engine producing 280bhp, while the Quadrifoglio is powered by a more powerful 2.9-liter turbo V6 borrowed straight from the Giulia Quadrifoglio that makes an amazing 505bhp.
Basically, the Quadrifoglio trim is for those who have lost all their lucidity. The base and Ti spec will come with three driving modes, Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency. However, it is the Quadrifoglio which gets a fourth driving mode called ‘Race’. It overboosts the turbos, opens up the exhaust to let you hear the 510 horses, sharpens the brake and steering response, and makes the throttle and transmission more responsive.
It can then very well be said that the ‘Race’ mode determines whether you survive your drive or not. I’ll explain. The Stelvio will go from 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds and will hit a top speed of 177mph. And what’s even worse is that the interiors will make you want to go faster. A 200-mph speedo, carbon-fiber trim, carbon-fiber Sparco seats and the Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes will entice you to slam that throttle to the floor. And you don’t have to worry about missing a gear or shifting at wrong revs, the 8-speed auto will do that for you.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the way to go. It is the best looking of the lot and the best at performance. What it misses however is the Utility is SUV. The base trim and the Ti are more sensible. But, as we all know, sensible is boring. So, is this really an experiment gone wrong? Yes, definitely, because the Stelvio’s Quadrifoglio trim will try to kill you, while you are having fun (this reminds me of Citra from Far Cry 3). What do you think of the Stelvio? Let me know in the comments.