In Depth

Alfa Romeo Stelvio: prices, specs and reviews

Orders for the Italian SUV are open now, with the faster Quadrifoglio model quickly following in 2018

Alfa Romeo's venture into the SUV market was unveiled at last year's Los Angeles motor show and marked an important step in the brand's plan to revamp its range.

The Stelvio, named after the highest mountain road in Italy, is the second model to use the Giulia platform, which first spawned a performance saloon in 2016.

It will be entering a hotly contested market, facing the likes of the Porsche Macan, Mercedes GLC coupe and Jaguar F-Pace

Here's everything we know about the Stelvio and its faster Quadrifoglio version.

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Design

Not only does the Stelvio share the same production platform as the Giulia, it also incorporates some of the saloon's design techniques, including the headlights and muscular body work of the Quadrifoglio model.

The front end also resembles the saloon. The iconic v-shaped grille has appeared on Alfa Romeo cars for decades, while the Quadrifoglio version features the same wide front intakes as the Giulia. Being an SUV, it's noticeably larger, but the Stelvio still manages to look as poised and planted as a hot hatchback. 

Around the back, the sporty looks continue with a quad exhaust layout on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, although the entry-level models are likely to look a little more reserved. 

Engine and chassis

Kicking off the Stelvio range when it launches in the UK will be either a 276bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine or a 202bhp 2.2-litre diesel unit, says WhatCar?. An entry-level 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 197bhp is expected to enter the line-up later in the car's lifecycle.

Alfa Romeo will also add a pair of 2.2-litre diesel engines producing either 148bhp or 178bhp, reports AutoExpress. The 148bhp variant will be rear-wheel drive only, although both models will get Alfa Romeo's eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.

The eight-speed transmission is "well-known and well-regarded", says Evo. Activating race mode sees gearbox changes happen within 150 milliseconds, while feedback is delivered to the driver through a lock-up clutch.

Range-topping Quadrifoglio models, which have appeared at several motor shows over the past six months, are powered by a Ferrari-developed 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 503bhp and 295lb-ft of torque.

They also get Alfa's Q4 all-wheel drive system, which alters the power between the front and rear axles in real-time. In normal driving conditions, the system moves all power to the rear wheels, but it can split powered across all wheels evenly if the conditions change.

Alfa Romeo has yet to confirm the car's overall weight, but says the Stelvio will have a perfect 50:50 weight distribution and can be specced with carbon ceramic brakes.

First Edition

A limited-run First Edition Stelvio is expected to reach buyers later this year. 

It will be based on the regular version of the SUV, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine, and has a power output of 276bhp and 296lb-ft, meaning it can go from zero to 62mph in 5.7secs.

An array of safety features come as standard, including an autonomous emergency brake and lane-departure warning systems. A rear-view camera and all-around parking sensors are also included. 

First Edition models will have more subtle styling than the range-topping Quadrifoglio, with the front bumper having a smoother profile and the two air vents on the bonnet removed. 

On the inside, Alfa has fitted lashings of leather on the seats and aluminium shifter paddles on the steering wheel. Drivers will also be able to access the infotainment system through a large display located above the centre console.

Reviews

Top Gear praises the strong build quality in Alfa Romeo's first SUV, saying there isn't "any glaring compromises" or signs of loose trim fittings. Only its "gratuitous collection of curves and bulges" and "appealing proportions" stand as obvious traits of the company. 

On the road, the Stelvio feels as if it is more suited to tarmac surfaces, adds the website, but it could probably handle a dirt roads "at a push", allowing the car to have the dynamics of the Giulia saloon with the driving position of an off-roader. 

In the highly-competitive SUV market, the Stelvio is "a strong and near-excellent contender", says AutoExpress, and at £35,000, it can even be considered as a "worthy challenger" to the Porsche Macan. 

The electric power steering is "ultra-lightweight", but provides enough feedback to feel direct when entering a corner, continues the mag, which says body-roll is also "extremely well controlled" and even "non-existent" in some corners.

There is also praise for the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, which "works very well indeed" - smooth in automatic mode and satisfyingly responsive in manual, it adds. 

What Car? says that for a mid-sized SUV, the Stelvio is "pretty big" and offers plenty of room for people in the front. It also praises the plentiful storage, but says the base model doesn't come with any USB sockets in the glovebox.

It's a little more cramped in the rear, as occupants over six-feet will have their knees "very close to the back of the front seats", adds the site, while the curved roofline "does eat into rear headroom somewhat".

The interior is "nicely designed", if a little "old fashioned", says the Daily Telegraph. There are a few gaps between fittings, but it's equipped with satellite navigation and connections for smartphones.

The stiffly-sprung suspension, however, will make "heads toss from side to side" and the rear can feel unsettled over rough surfaces. The diesel also feels far from its "sporting" claims due to "straight-on" understeer through corners.

Those in the UK may want to spec the optional 19ins wheels, as the 20ins set are expected to have "noticeably worse" handling characteristics, advises the paper.

Prices and release

Base-spec Stelvio models are available to order now, says Evo, with prices starting at £33,990 for the entry-level RWD (rear-wheel drive) 178bhp 2.2-litre diesel.

That makes it significantly cheaper than many of its rivals, the magazine notes, undercutting the likes of the Volvo XC60 and the Audi Q5 by around “£4,000”. However, Evo adds, Alfa Romeo achieves this lower price range “by severely cutting equipment levels”, with features such as satnav and LED headlights only available as optional extras. 

Petrol models kick off at £34,690 for the 197bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged model, says Auto Express. Unlike the diesel, this version comes with an all-wheel drive system.

Above that is a more powerful 276bhp diesel motor at £38,490, the magazine says, followed by another petrol variant with an identical power output at £43,690.

Topping the range is the high-performance Quadrifoglio model, boasting a 503bhp turbocharged V6 motor co-developed by Ferrari.

The Quadrifoglio is due to go on sale next summer, says Autocar, but Alfa Romeo has yet to reveal any pricing details. It is expected to cost around £65,000, the magazine says, matching the price jump between the standard version of Alfa Romeo’s Giulia saloon and the Quadrifoglio model. 

Alfa Romeo Stelvio: Orders open for First Edition SUV

19 January

Alfa Romeo has opened orders for its special Stelvio First Edition SUV, ahead of its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. 

Until now, the crossover has only appeared in the range-topping Quadrifoglio guise. The standard model is just as stunning but features a less powerful turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which is also expected to appear on the entry-level Stelvio. With 276bhp and 295lb-ft torque, it go from zero to 62mph in 5.7secs.              

An eight-speed automatic gearbox is coupled to the Alfa's Q4 all-wheel drive system, which can monitor the terrain and adjust the power between the two axles to provide optimal grip. Power is sent to the rear wheels in regular driving conditions, but can be evenly split between the front and rear axles for better traction when the car notices deteriorating grip levels. 

The First Edition also features an autonomous emergency brake feature and lane departure warning system as standard, as well as a rear-camera and all-round parking sensors. 

Exterior differences from the Quadrifoglio version include more reserved styling around the front bumper and the omission of the two air intakes on the bonnet. The First Edition also gets two exhaust outlets, while the range-topper, with its Ferrari-developed V6 engine, has a quad-exhaust layout.  

Inside the Stelvio you'll find vast amounts of leather on the seats and aluminium shifter paddles as standard. There's also a large screen located above the centre console and wood highlights across the dashboard.

Orders are open now, although Alfa Romeo has yet to revealed prices – but we can expect to hear more details about the for the First Edition Stelvio at the Geneva Motor Show in March. 

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