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Alfa Romeo: Stelvio News

 
Old 04-11-2016, 08:02 PM
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Alfa Romeo: Stelvio News

ALFA ROMEO ENTERS THE SUV MARKET WITH 2018 STELVIO

The popularity of SUVs has allowed luxury carmaker Alfa Romeo to enter the market. The company recently announced that it will start producing SUVs, beginning with the 2018 Stelvio.

Motor Authority writes that the talks of an Alfa Romeo SUV started circulating in 2008, although no definite plans were announced until May 2014. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed at the time that the company was going to build one based on its company-wide five-year plan. So far, three SUVs are expected to be released in the next few years. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is set to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2016. The model may start becoming available in mid-2017 in the United States.

The Stelvio will be the very first SUV entry by Alfa Romeo. A prototype has already been seen and it was also recently known that there will be two other models to release. One will be a higher-end model than the 2018 Stelvio, while the second will be a lower-end model.

Auto Spies states that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is doing everything it can to introduce more Alfa Romeo models to the public, particularly in the SUV segment. It is expected that the 2018 Stelvio will feature parts from other vehicles under the FCA banner. There are also rumors that the upcoming SUV will leverage the 6-cylinder engine built by Ferrari and found in current Maserati cars. Others are skeptical since the engine was already stated to be incorporated in the new Levante. It is possible that the engine may be detuned to suit the Stelvio.

AutoCar presented early images of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio prototype. The black car appeared to be a compact crossover and also quite unfinished. More photos revealed a rounded roof that links to a squared off trunk lid. The front of the vehicle certainly showed the semblance of classic Alfa Romeo-made cars, with the famous inverted triangle grille. The head lamps appeared to be narrower, although these may have been partly covered by all the duct tape shaping the front bumper. The prototype suggested that the 2018 Stelvio will feature the sleek Italian design that the brand has been known for.

It is also likely that the Stelvio will feature a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and 6-speed or 8-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle may be inspired by the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia in terms of design and engine performance.

More updates and details are expected soon.
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Old 04-12-2016, 08:51 AM
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looks like an Aztec in this shot. I hope it doesn't when they take that stuff off
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Old 04-12-2016, 09:57 AM
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Is it me or does this look small enough to be based off the Jukes platform?
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Old 04-12-2016, 10:31 AM
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^ FCA...Based on the Cherokee platform?
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:35 PM
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:49 AM
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Stelvio Quardifoglio - The Verge

http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/16/1...ow-2016-photos

When Ferrari was spun off from Fiat, many wondered if the independent company would need to build highly profitable and highly in-demand SUVs to stay afloat. I don’t know if Ferrari will build an SUV (company brass insist it won’t), but now I know what that mythical Ferrari SUV would look like: the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, unveiled today at the LA Auto Show.

It’s part three of the Alfa Romeo reboot that began a few years ago with the incredible 4C sports car and was followed with the Giulia sports sedan. Alfa says it’s the fastest SUV in its class, with an estimated 0–60mph time of 3.9 seconds in the top-level Quadrifoglio trim. The company went so far as to claim that it will be the fastest SUV ever to traverse Germany’s famed Nürburgring — it’s the fastest in company simulations, but it apparently hasn’t yet made the journey to Nürburg for an on-track record attempt.

The Quadrifoglio Stelvio, which is named after Stelvio pass in Italy, sports a 510-horsepower Ferrari-inspired 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6, with sister-company Maserati’s Q4 all-wheel drive system distributing the power to all four wheels. The base-level 280 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder unit should give plenty of pep, though, and is aimed right at the Porsche’s new entry-level Macan.

If Ferrari isn’t interested in building an SUV, it may not matter. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio could satisfy the SUV-desires of prancing horse fans around the world.
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:50 AM
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Stelvio Quardifoglio - NetCarShow

https://www.netcarshow.com/alfa_rome..._quadrifoglio/

Launched under the name Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - the latest Alfa Romeo creation made its début at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show - it is the brand's first SUV in over a century of history.

Set to become the benchmark for the segment, the new model encapsulates the authentic Alfa Romeo spirit, incorporating the five ingredients that make it one of the world's most desirable brands on the automotive stage: distinctly Italian styling; innovative, state-of-the-art engines; impeccable weight distribution; unique technical solutions; and an outstanding power-to-weight ratio.

Developed in Alfa Romeo's prestigious engineering centre in Modena, in the heart of Italy's Motor Valley, the Stelvio SUV will be manufactured in the recently overhauled Cassino plant on a production line dedicated exclusively to the latest Alfa Romeo models - including the stunning Giulia, which launched the brand into a new era in 2015, with its revolutionary styling, sports handling and technology. The same ingredients, tailored to a new class of car, are now back, in the ground-breaking Stelvio SUV, which offers pure-bred Alfa Romeo sports styling, top-class performance and technical and technological equipment levels without equal in the premium small SUV segment.

Starting with its name, Alfa Romeo's new SUV is guaranteed to deliver an exhilarating driving experience, set to astonish even the most discerning and accomplished drivers. The Stelvio pass is the highest mountain pass in Italy (and the second highest in Europe), and the 20 km road that crosses it boasts over 75 bends, breath-taking views and a dizzyingly quick rise in altitude, all the way up to 2,758 metres. Over the years, champions of cycling and motorsport have done battle here, making the route a fully fledged sporting legend. An important transport artery in the war years of the last century, this winding road has now become a major tourist attraction. To enjoy it as it is meant to be enjoyed and squeeze every last drop of pleasure out of this unique experience - by oneself or in the company of friends and family - there is only one SUV capable of offering an unrivalled combination of driving pleasure, Italian styling and versatility: that is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Stunning Alfa Romeo styling and clean contours

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a perfect blend of heritage, speed and beauty; and its magical alchemy forms an integral part of the brand's history, dating back over a century. Achieving this mix, now as in the past, takes a talent for combining the three special ingredients of Italian design: proportion, simplicity and top-quality surfacing. These same ingredients spawned the Giulia - the new Alfa Romeo benchmark and precursor of the brand's future - and have been comprehensively reworked to adapt them to the altogether different volume of a Sports Utility Vehicle.

The Stelvio's proportions, in particular, express strength, dynamism and compactness, as witness its modest length of 468 cm, height of 165 cm and width of 216 cm.

The side view confirms this impression, with an outline that suggests a compact car, starting at the front and developing towards the rear, and a cabin that ends on a steeply raked rear hatch, topped with an spoiler for maximum aerodynamic performance - a crucial consideration on a car that packs this much punch.

The Alfa Romeo styling also finds expression in the high-quality surfacing, which involves creating rich, harmonious reflections across the volumes. The end-result is a sculptural shape, which on the flanks of the Stelvio, for example, gives rise to stark contrasts between the surfaces that catch the light and those that remain in shadow. Basically, the "musculature" of the car's sides accentuates its front and rear wings.

The Quadrifoglio version unveiled in Los Angeles, also features a body-coloured side-skirt with a carbon insert that further accentuates the car's sporting character. These features, combined with the front and rear bumpers and powerfully styled wheel-arches, all in the same colour as the bodywork, make the Stelvio Quadrifoglio more like a sports saloon than a traditional SUV in this segment.

The third aspect of Alfa Romeo style is the "simplicity" that masks one of the most complex creative processes in the industry: designing a car. Because styling has the job of concealing the long, complex task of creating the simple, natural lines that highlight the shapely elegance and tasteful sophistication of Italian-made products. And this same approach pervades the entire history of Alfa Romeo design, which has always expressed itself through clean, taut lines. That's why the Stelvio has such a strong identity, built around a few select features, like the cloverleaf front end, which is perhaps the most famous and recognisable hallmark in automotive styling.

The front end of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio also embodies a strong hint of power and aggression, thanks chiefly to the specific air vents for the intercoolers and the classic apertures around the shield-shaped grille, combined with "sinewy" surfacing.

The back end of the Stelvio is instantly eye-catching too, because of the sporting appearance it gets from its lower portion, characterised by the four exhaust tips, and from the "Kamm tail" styling that gives the car a unique, unmistakeable character, while also paying tribute to Alfa Romeo's history - because this distinctive design also featured on some of its most prestigious performance-oriented models and competition cars.

The same sporting inspiration makes another appearance in the Stelvio SUV's clean, uncluttered, interior, which is totally driver-centric, as you can see from the grouping of all the controls on the small, direct steering wheel, designed to suit all driving styles. But that's not all. The driver's position has been forged around the driver, with a diagonal tunnel and slightly undulating dashboard; and it has been "tailored" like a bespoke suit, with painstaking craftsmanship and premium materials: the carbon fibre, wood and fabrics have all been chosen for their visual and tactile appeal and assembled to give a palpable sense of human artistry.

Exhilarating performance from the 510 HP 2.9-litre V6 BiTurbo Petrol Engine

State-of-the-art, innovative engines are another hallmark of a genuine Alfa Romeo. That's why the Stelvio Quadrifoglio mounts a unique power plant in terms of both technology and performance: a 510 HP 2.9-litre V6 BiTurbo petrol with 8-speed automatic transmission.

Drawing inspiration from Ferrari technologies and technical know-how, the 6-cylinder BiTurbo petrol engine is made entirely of aluminium to reduce the weight of the vehicle, especially over the front axle.

What's more, despite its phenomenal torque and horsepower, the 510 HP 2.9-litre BiTurbo Petrol is also incredibly efficient in terms of fuel consumption, thanks to its electronically controlled cylinder deactivation system. And like all Alfa Romeo's next-generation engines, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio's 2.9-litre V6 BiTurbo petrol unit will, of course, deliver that distinctive Alfa Romeo engine note to complement the performance.

Lastly, the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission is specifically calibrated to make gear changes in just 150 milliseconds in Race mode. The transmission also features a lock-up clutch to give the driver a powerful feeling of in-gear acceleration once the gear is engaged. Depending on the mode you set with the AlfaTM DNA Pro selector, what's more, the auto box optimises fluidity, comfort and ease of driving in all environments, including around town, and further improves fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Steering-column-mounted, aluminium paddle shifters also feature as standard.

As well as this 510 HP unit that's exclusive to the Quadrifoglio guises, Alfa Romeo has confirmed that the other engines in the Stelvio range will include the 280 HP 2.0-litre Turbo petrol with 8-speed automatic transmission. This is an all-aluminium 4-cylinder unit that puts out 280 HP at 5,250 rpm and maximum torque of 400Nm at 2,250 rpm. In addition to the MultiAir electrohydraulic valve actuation system, the distinctive features of this engine include the "2-in-1" turbo system and the 200-bar high-pressure direct injection system, which deliver a particularly quick response to accelerator inputs across the rev range, plus first-class fuel-efficiency.

Innovative, exclusive technical solutions

In keeping with Alfa Romeo's technical traditions, electronic assistance must never be intrusive, but merely facilitate the driving experience, which is exhilarating in itself thanks to the passionately and painstakingly designed chassis and suspension system. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio unveiled in Los Angeles confirms this philosophy, because it is structurally unique and engaging, but still offers numerous sophisticated systems to make the driving experience - which is already assured by the car's underlying technical excellence - even more exciting.

AlfaTM DNA Pro

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also equipped with the new Alfa DNA Pro selector, which modifies the car's dynamic response according to which mode the driver selects: Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency (energy-saving mode) and Race (ideal for maximum performance).

All-wheel drive with Q4 technology

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio mounts an innovative all-wheel drive system with Q4 technology, designed to manage drive distribution in real time, so as to deliver top-notch performance, efficiency and safety. To put it in a nutshell, the Q4 system on Alfa Romeo's new SUV provides all the advantages of all-wheel drive, plus good fuel economy, responsive performance and all the driving pleasure of a rear-wheel drive car.

The Q4 system's architecture includes an active transfer case and front differential designed to meet the specific technical requirements of Alfa Romeo, entailing the rapid-response management of high torque levels, with a compact, lightweight set-up. The transfer case makes use of advanced active clutch technology to deliver an outstandingly dynamic ride combined with good fuel economy. The Next-Gen integrated actuator delivers high response speed and precise torque distribution, in line with the selected Alfa DNA Pro drive mode setting.

The Q4 system continuously monitors numerous parameters to optimise torque distribution between the two axles according to what the car is doing and how much grip there is beneath the wheels. This technology can predict imminent loss of grip by processing the data it receives from the lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering-wheel angle and yaw sensors. In normal conditions, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio with Q4 system acts like a rear-drive vehicle, with 100% of the torque sent to the rear axle. As the wheels approach their grip limit, the system transfers up to 50% of the torque to the front axle via a dedicated transfer case. To modulate torque distribution with the utmost speed, the system uses a high degree of mechanical over-slip (up to 2.5%) between the two axles, which translates into class-leading control in terms of traction and directional stability when cornering.

AlfaTM Torque Vectoring

Combined with Q4 all-wheel drive for the first time, Alfa Romeo's Torque Vectoring technology optimises the Stelvio Quadrifoglio's drive distribution and accentuates its sporting character. The two clutches in the rear differential make it possible to control torque delivery to each wheel separately. So power is transferred to the ground more effectively, even when you drive the car to its dynamic limits. This makes the Stelvio safe and fun to drive at all times, without recourse to intrusive inputs from the stability control system.

Suspension system with exclusive AlfaLinkTM technology

Up front, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a double wishbone system with semi-virtual steering axis, to optimise bump filtration and ensure quick, precise responses to steering inputs. By keeping the contact patch of the tyre constant when cornering, this exclusive Alfa Romeo set-up affords outstanding levels of lateral grip. But regardless of speed and conditions, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio always delivers a natural, instinctive drive. The rear suspension uses a four-and-a-half link system - patented by Alfa Romeo - to deliver a winning combination of performance, driving pleasure and comfort. An electronically controlled damping system, furthermore, adapts to driving conditions instant by instant, enabling you to opt for more performance-biased or comfort-oriented handling.

Integrated Brake System (IBS) and carbon-ceramic discs

Having made its début on the Giulia, Alfa Romeo's unique Integrated Brake System (IBS) is now in use on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. This innovative electromechanical system combines stability control with a traditional servo brake to guarantee instantaneous brake response and short stopping distances, while significantly contributing to weight optimisation. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio's braking system comprises aluminium components and carbon-ceramic discs.

AlfaTM Chassis Domain Control

The AlfaTM Chassis Domain Control (CDC) system acts as the "brain" of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, and coordinates all the car's electronic systems. It manages the operation of the various tech systems - such as the new AlfaTM DNA Pro selector, the Q4 all-wheel drive, the AlfaTM Torque Vectoring system, the active suspension and the ESC - and optimises performance and driving pleasure. Basically, the CDC adapts the chassis geometry in real time, dynamically adjusting the mapping of the AlfaTM DNA Pro modes on the basis the acceleration and rotation data detected by the sensors. Critical situations are prevented and managed by informing the specific control units involved in the electronic system of the car in advance: chassis, powertrain, suspension system, braking system, steering, power steering and differential on curves.

Content developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli

As other models on the Alfa Romeo line-up, the Stelvio SUV fits a host of features developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli - from lighting devices to powertrain, suspensions and exhaust systems and the new Connect 3D Nav 8.8" Infotainment unit - as further confirmation of the consolidated and mutually profitable collaboration between Alfa Romeo and the well-known international leader in the design and manufacturing of high-tech automotive systems and components.

Perfect weight distribution and the ideal power-to-weight ratio

One of the primary objectives of the design of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio was to achieve maximum driving pleasure. The key contributors to this are the perfect weight distribution between the two axles and an optimum power-to-weight ratio. The first of these required astute management of weights and materials, which was achieved by tweaking the layout of Alfa Romeo's new SUV and locating all the heaviest components as centrally as possible. The ideal power-to-weight ratio, meanwhile, was achieved by using ultra-lightweight materials such as carbon fibre for the driveshaft and aluminium for the engine, suspensions, brakes, doors, wheel-arches, bonnet and liftgate. The reduced weight does not affect the car's excellent torsional rigidity, which guarantees durability, low noise levels and first-class handling even under extreme stresses.
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:51 AM
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:56 AM
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:45 AM
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Mazda CX-5, anyone?

The wheels look gangster though. I do like the styling... but would never buy an alfa. I'm not that crazy.
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Old 11-17-2016, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Mazda CX-5, anyone?

The wheels look gangster though. I do like the styling... but would never buy an alfa. I'm not that crazy.
It does have a bit of a CX5 profile, not that that's a bad thing. But:
Exhilarating performance from the 510 HP 2.9-litre V6 BiTurbo Petrol Engine
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Old 11-17-2016, 10:39 AM
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I don't mind but wonder why is Alfa-Romeo making a SUV

also, did BMW design the interior?
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Old 11-17-2016, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Mazda CX-5, anyone?

The wheels look gangster though. I do like the styling... but would never buy an alfa. I'm not that crazy.
Let's call it the CX-5-rrari

I was just going to ask, as well... I already assumed Alfas are maintenance-intensive? Not like I know anyone that has one. My sister has been looking into a luxury compact SUV. She really likes the Macan, but not how quickly the price rises with options. GLE300 is another.
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:40 PM
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IIRC, wouldn't the GLC be more of a size-competitor to the Macan? GLE is more Cayenne-sized.
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Old 11-17-2016, 02:04 PM
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this looks gorgeous for a SUV!
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Old 11-17-2016, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 00TL-P3.2 View Post
IIRC, wouldn't the GLC be more of a size-competitor to the Macan? GLE is more Cayenne-sized.
Today has been a day of missteps for me on AZ. Things are flying over my head, I'm missing details, posting the wrong info...

Yes, GLC is what I meant

Is it friday already?
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Old 11-21-2016, 09:51 AM
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Well it doesn't look like an Aztec!!! It's pretty sweet looking I must say and 2.9 turbo sounds great.
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:15 PM
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I definitely have to see this in person, the front reminds me of angry birds and the rear is a little bit too bulbous. But that engine sounds extremely sweet and extremely scary, large V8 turbo power out of a relatively small V6 seems unstable to me.

My current top SUV is the Jaguar F-pace and with a SVR trim coming soon, it should get very exciting very fast. That IMHO is the best looking SUV currently on the market.

The maserati SUV is ugly AF and would never even consider it.
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by RDX10 View Post
large V8 turbo power out of a relatively small V6 seems unstable to me.
I's only almost double what I have in my 2.7TT
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:43 AM
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A SUV with an engine developed by Ferrari engineers...sweet
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Old 11-23-2016, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 00TL-P3.2 View Post
I's only almost double what I have in my 2.7TT
Right!!! It is insane to me what they can do with small displacement engines these days....BTW that 2.7TT is an extremely sweet engine. Moderate tunes have seen the ford edge sport hit 60 in around 4.5 seconds!

Originally Posted by iforyou View Post
A SUV with an engine developed by Ferrari engineers...sweet
But aren't ferraris notoriously unreliable (Well most super cars are, but ferrari the worst by far?)
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Old 11-23-2016, 01:20 PM
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Haha it's ok Alfa Romeo isn't known to be reliable anyway...just lease
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Old 11-23-2016, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by iforyou View Post
Haha it's ok Alfa Romeo isn't known to be reliable anyway...just lease
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:44 PM
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Saw it at the auto show, looks great.
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by RDX10 View Post
Right!!! It is insane to me what they can do with small displacement engines these days....BTW that 2.7TT is an extremely sweet engine. Moderate tunes have seen the ford edge sport hit 60 in around 4.5 seconds!
Still trying to decide which of the big 4 tuners I'll go with. Reading that 60-80hp/tqe gains are the norm for a safe tune.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:09 AM
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Saw one driving down the street yesterday. It's pretty good looking, but the LEDs kind of ruin it. The pattern they make is HUGE and kind of ruins the whole look in the day.
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Old 09-29-2017, 01:18 PM
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https://www.topgear.com/car-news/suv...ing-suv-record

Stelvio Quadrifoglio laps in 7min 51sec – the fastest for a production SUV

More Nürburging news, you say? You betchya. Records don’t stay unbroken for long around here.

This time it’s the one for a production SUV, as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has smashed a lap of the 12.9 mile Nordschleife in a record 7 minutes 51.7 seconds. That’s a full eight seconds faster than the previous production SUV record, held by the equally ballistic Porsche Cayenne Turbo. At the tail end of 2014, Porsche recorded a lap of 7m 59.74s, which in turn obliterated the record held by the Range Rover Sport. And you thought the hot hatch Nürburgring arms race was testy.

The Alfa’s time was set by Italian driver Fabio Francia, who had previously set the fastest Nürburgring track record for a four-door saloon in the Giulia Quadrifoglio, with a lap time of just 7min 32s. So yeah, he’s a bit handy.

For reference, the Stelvio is powered by an all-aluminum, direct-injection 2.9-litre 24-valve twin-turbo V6, delivering 503bhp and 442lb ft of torque, which is coupled with the Q4 all-wheel-drive system. The engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission with specific settings for shifting in just 150 milliseconds in Race mode.

Fancy a crack at the Nürburgring in a Stelvio yourself? Yeah, thought not. For those still with us, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will hit the UK market in 2018.
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Old 09-29-2017, 01:18 PM
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Old 09-29-2017, 01:18 PM
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:40 PM
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Impressive. I wish they would show the speedometer better in that video though. And man, it keeps on switching between the two cameras....kinda annoying...
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:53 AM
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https://www.topgear.com/car-reviews/...to/first-drive

Alfa’s super-SUV? Heresy!
You know the tactic by now. Global appetite for big, imposing 4x4s is insatiable. Alfa Romeo needs to make money. The Giulia saloon’s platform and mechanicals were always intended – destined – to spawn the mid-sized Stelvio SUV. And since the Giulia (despite being a fine steer and refreshingly sorted-for-an-Alfa) isn’t actually racing out of showrooms, Alfa needs the Stelvio to start racking up the orders.

Offended by another classic marque kneeling at the super-SUV altar? Look at it this way: this is the closest you’re going to get to a fast Giulia Estate.

Is it very practical then, the Stelvio?
Not massively, compared to the new BMW X3 or a Mercedes GLC. It’s a sporty-focused car. Even the standard diesel version. Drive smartly, ask questions about visibility and spaciousness later.

Not that this is a standard version. Not by any means.

So this is basically a jacked-up Giulia Quadrifoglio super-saloon? Sounds promising.
It’s not quite that simple, but plenty of juicy bits are hoiked straight from Alfa’s M3-beater. First up, the magnificent, Ferrari-developed heart. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio runs a 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 that, you’ll probably remember, forms three-quarters of the old Ferrari California T’s V8.

It develops 503bhp and 443lb ft, which is bang on the money for the moonshot, middle-sized SUV posse right now. AMG GLC63S? 503bhp. Porsche Macan Turbo? Even with the optional Performance Pack, it’s 60bhp down on the Italian.

Like the Giulia, that heroically muscular V6 is connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox controlled, when you choose, by gigantic, column-mounted alloy paddles which are still as delectable as they are outrageous.

The supersaloon carryovers don’t stop there. Alfa’s also given the bigger, bluffer SUV the Giulia’s carbon fibre prop shaft. It’s stopped short of copying the carbon bonnet and bootlid, though. Can’t say I blame them.

Is this the superleggera of super-SUVs?
If you like, but 1830kg does not equal A Light Car. Not in isolation. Compared to the competition though, this is an Ariel Atom. It’s at least 100kg less than an AMG GLC63, the Macan and so on. So the Italian’s got an immediate power-to-weight ratio advantage.

And that’ll make it fast. Good news.
Obscenely fast. The Stelvio QV actually matches the Giulia QV off the line. 0-62mph? An AMG-matching 3.8 seconds. Top speed? 176mph.

Those are the stats, anyway. I’d eyed them with cynicism, partly because hey, this is an Italian car, and modern gearboxes and turbos are very clever at helping cars hit numbers that they never feel quite as fast as. Think Audi RS5, or VW Golf R. Ultrafast point-to-point, but rarely do they let on they’re as frantic as the whoops-that’s-illegal figures prove.

The Stelvio, on the other hand, goes even more outrageously than the Giulia. Maybe it’s the sensation of being sat up higher. Maybe it’s the silly driving position – Alfa’s forgotten its ergonomic fluke in the Giulia and given the Stelvio pathetically inadequate steering adjustment. At first, it’s like being sat on a bar stool driving a Sega rally arcade machine, if you’re tall. Regardless, the Stelvio just hurls itself down the road, seeming uninterested in the sheer mass and forces it’s tackling.

As per the Giulia, throttle response is immediate, and the gearbox is an utter peach.

Surely some of that pace is down to four-wheel drive traction?
Thing is, this isn’t really a proper four-wheel drive car. Almost all of the time, the Stelvio’s front tyres are freewheeling. One hundred per cent of drive is channeled to the rear wheels, for greener efficiency and a purer sense of rear-drive balance. Only when the ECU detects the rear Pirelli P Zeros are being overwhelmed are the fronts allowed to ease the burden.

So, it’s not a super-sophisticated AWD system, and yes, if you get the car loaded-up mid-corner and ask for all five hundred horses, the way it begins to oversteer then slams power forward to neutralise the slide can be a little clumsy if the traction control’s still on. Better to stay just the right side of sliding in Dynamic mode, then. Or, switch to Race for the full ‘you’re on your own now, fella’, safety net-free experience. How’s that for purity?

Has Alfa calmed the noise down for its ‘sensible’ family SUV?
Er, that would be ‘no’. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a rasping, musical device. Alfa’s managed to herd many of the V6’s operatic decibels into the cabin, without ramming try-hard crackles and pops so far down your ear canal your eardrums bleed. It’s a furious-sounding machine – angrier and fizzier than the rolling barrage of the GLC63’s thunderous V8. Good job, Alfa.

So far, so good, for a blasphemous SUV. Next you’ll be arguing it does corners too.
Brace yourself. The Stelvio QV handles sensationally well for an SUV. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that no fast SUV nails such a close impression of its supersaloon cousin as the Alfa. It’s maintained the Giulia’s sense of agility, of deftness, and super-sharp steering that’s matched by deft, controlled chassis (mis)behaviour. There’s something approaching delicacy about thr way it attacks a road…

Apply it to some gnarly direction changes and there grip in quantities you’d scarcely believe from the 285-section rear P Zeros.

It’s stable, controllable, accurate, and though most roads around the northern Arab Emirates where we met the Stelvio are surfaced smoother than Silvio Berlusconi’s forehead, it can report rides superbly too. I know this, because I went and found some horrific off-track routes to get an idea of what the Stelvio will make of Britain. “Hah! This’ll undo it”, I thought. Er, nope. Set the powertrain to Dynamic, prod the damper button to ‘soft mode’ just like a Ferrari, and marvel at how supple this tall, heavy, flamboyant sports-tank can be.

Steady on, this is unnervingly close to being a 10/10 Alfa Romeo…
It isn’t. I’m not sure the Stelvio QF is as complete a car as its rivals, particularly that fab new AMG GLC63S. It’s not hugely spacious, the driving position is inane, the (lack of) view through the rear window is appalling, and the infotainment is only decent if you’ve got 2009-era BMW iDrive to compare it to. Fancy some logical sat-nav? Maybe shove your iPhone in the cupholder.

Did it break down?
No, happily. Likes a drink, though. Try eleven miles per gallon when you’re not hanging about. Are downsized turbo engines really working, guys?

There’s also no arguing that besides the Quadrifoglio’s slabs of gloss carbon trim and intricate green’n’white toothpaste stitching, the core cabin materials are brittle compared to the Germans. There’ll be an Audi RSQ5 and BMW X3M to worry about before long too, with lovely cabins.

Folks who buy fast crossovers aren’t as die-hard an enthusiast market as say, fast wagon owners. I think more people will be seduced by AMG build quality and media skills after surveying the Alfa’s slightly dated cockpit.

But if they resist?
Then they’ll discover that Alfa has built a cracking performance SUV, worthy of not just competing against, but potentially out-driving the Porsche Macan Turbo it’s been benchmarked and will be priced against (think £65-70k when it arrives in the UK in summer 2018). It’s fast, comfortable, approachable, sounds naughty and it’s genuinely rewarding to drive.

For sheer fizzing, soulful, addictive vigour, the Stelvio has mega star quality. Among its rivals, this thing’s every bit as stellar – and as loveable – as the Giulia.
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:54 AM
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:54 AM
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:54 AM
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:54 AM
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:21 AM
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Just saw my first one on the road coming home from dropping the kids at school. Its a stunner.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarlacc View Post
Just saw my first one on the road coming home from dropping the kids at school. Its a stunner.
I have yet to see one, but I am actually more interested in hearing one vs seeing one lmao. That 2.9tt is apparently AMAZING sounding.
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Old 06-26-2018, 09:09 AM
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https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/auto/2...foglio/review/

Total thrill, needs more chill


THE GOOD: A ripsnorting, Ferrari-sourced engine makes this Italian SUV really scoot. On tracks and backroads alike, it’s quite the performer.

THE BAD: While most luxury/performance SUVs also excel in calm, daily driving, the Stelvio really falls apart. It’s cramped, uncomfortable and its onboard tech needs help.

THE BOTTOM LINE: In the right conditions -- i.e., on a great canyon road -- the Stelvio Quadrifoglio excels. But as a daily driver, it’s a really tough sell.

The allure of Alfa Romeo's 505-horsepower Stelvio Quadrifoglio is easy to understand. A Ferrari-powered SUV with incredible performance and looks that could kill. Admit it, you'd swipe right on that.

In many cases, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio makes good on many of its on-paper promises. This SUV can absolutely tear it up on race tracks and canyon roads alike. It turns highway on-ramps into thrill rides and can wake the neighbors with its raucous wail of aural delight.

But taken as a whole -- an $80,000 purchase (OK, lease) proposition -- I'm not sure the prospect of exhilarating Italian performance can make up for the Stelvio Quadrifoglio's many shortcomings.

Alfa Romeo chose to do the initial Stelvio Quadrifoglio media launch at Circuit of the Americas in Texas, and really, I can't think of a better locale. A long, wide track like COTA is a great place to really experience all the greatness this incredible performer has to offer.

Yet back home in Los Angeles, those thrills are still easy to unlock. The aforementioned Ferrari-sourced engine is the same 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 found in Alfa's Giulia Quadrifoglio, with 443 pound-feet of torque to complement the healthy 505 horsepower on offer. An eight-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties, and do yourself a favor and play with those huge, steering column-mounted paddles. Slapping through gears is a joy, and the transmission swaps cogs with immediacy and precision.

Alfa Romeo says it takes just 3.6 seconds to scoot this 4,360-pound, all-wheel drive SUV to 60 miles per hour. Turn the drive mode selector to Race and the off-the-line ferocity is accompanied by a robust exhaust roar -- an addictive, distinct sound. Unfortunately, that invigorating aural experience is only available in Race mode, which also kills traction and stability control. I wish there was a way to open the exhaust valves in the Stelvio's less-aggressive Dynamic setting.

Even so, it's Race mode you'll want to dial up for truly spirited driving. Steering response is instantaneous, largely thanks to the 12.0:1 ratio, with appropriate weight and high levels of feedback through the wheel. Despite its higher ground clearance, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is sports car-flat while cornering, and quick transitions don't upset the chassis. Large, 20-inch wheels are wrapped in staggered 255/45 front and 285/40 rear tires, which offer loads of grip. The Stelvio largely acts as a rear-wheel drive SUV most of the time, only sending as much as 60 percent of the engine's available torque to the front wheels under instances of slip. It won't do a burnout, but it will kick the tail out slightly around hairpin turns. It's great fun.

The standard brake setup consists of 14.2-inch front and 13.8-inch rear Brembo aluminum monoblock stoppers. These offer tremendous braking power, though they're super hard to modulate, largely thanks to the Quadrifoglio's weird, electronic brake-by-wire setup. Basically, pedal feel never seems to really match the braking force, and even after several days of driving, I can't quite seem to get it just right. Larger carbon ceramic brakes are available as a costly $8,000 option, but unless frequent track use is in your Stelvio's future, I can't imagine needing them.

The tradeoff for this excellent dynamic ability, sadly, is poor manners in daily driving situations. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio just feels jittery and jerky most of the time, with a suspension that's way too stiff even in its softest setting and brakes that are seriously grabby. I love the transmission's quick shifts during spirited runs, but wish it'd be a little smoother under light-load acceleration. Really, I just wish this car would settle down sometimes.

Before you go all "but it's a performance car!" on me, remember that similar cars have no problem achieving a great balance of comfort and sport. The Mercedes-AMG GLC63 and Porsche Macan Turbo offer brilliant dynamics when pushed, but both are perfect gentlemen when you're just trying to pick up take-out Thai food or drive home from the airport. I love luxury/performance crossovers because they offer sports car excitement in a comfortable, plush, functional package. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio, however, too heavily skews in one direction.

At first glance, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio's interior looks like it'd be a well-appointed, luxurious place in which to spend time. And sure, the requisite leather surfaces and brushed metal accents are there, but so are large swaths of hard plastic, some chintzy trim on the center console and cheap-feeling buttons and dials.

The standard front seats are decently comfortable, with plenty of support for driver and passenger. Carbon fiber Sparco race buckets can be optioned for $3,500, but like the carbon ceramic brakes, I don't really see the point -- especially since these fancy seats can't be heated. Rear occupants, meanwhile, have adequate space, with head- and legroom that's about par for the class. The cargo hold also offers adequate accommodations, with a maximum of 56.5 cubic feet of space on offer, the same as Mercedes' AMG GLC63.

Infotainment duties are managed by Alfa Romeo's proprietary system, housed on an 8.8-inch color screen set back in the dash. The menus are relatively straightforward and the graphics are crisp and clear, but the dial controller on the center console leaves a lot to be desired. Not only does it feel lousy in hand, but response times are often laggy, making the system frustrating to use. If you'd rather use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you can -- both are standard, though oddly, they aren't factored into the Stelvio's base price and show up on the winder sticker as individual $100 options.

Speaking of should-be-standard-on-an-$80K-SUV tech, a number of advanced driving aids are only available as options. If you want adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and high-beam assist, you'll need to opt for the $1,500 Driver Assist Dynamic Plus Package.

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio starts at $81,390, including $1,595 for destination. Because this is the range-topping Stelvio model, a lot of would-be options -- including the upgraded infotainment system, premium Harman Kardon audio, xenon headlights, LED taillights, heated steering wheel, automatic climate control and, you know, that awesome engine -- are standard.

If you don't want Alfa's standard Rosso exterior color, be prepared to pay -- my ideal Misano Blue, for example, is $600. From there, I wouldn't add a single option. But ticking all the aforementioned boxes, plus extra add-ons like a $1,350 dual-pane sunroof, $250 roof rails, $400 carbon fiber steering wheel and $200 convenience package, can bring the Stelvio Quadrifoglio as high as $98,690.

That's a lot of money, but not unusual for this class. The Mercedes-AMG GLC63 and Porsche Macan Turbo have lower starting MSRPs, but can be optioned just as high. They're less powerful, too. You could also go for a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk for about the same coin. What it lacks in Italian flair it makes up for in passenger and cargo space, better comfort, fantastic infotainment tech and, oh yeah, 202 additional horsepower. Hmm...

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a fantastic performance SUV. It can out-handle just about anything else in its class and will never cease to put a smile on your face. Make no mistake, it is absolutely my pick for the best-driving vehicle in its relatively small segment.

But if you're buying a performance/luxury SUV, you're probably looking for more than just a good time on a great road. And if you're only buying this for its performance creds, well, have you seen the better-handling Giulia Quadrifoglio? Or, like, a ton of other actual sports cars?

This range-topping Stelvio is an absolute hoot, don't get me wrong. But at this price point, no matter what you're looking for, you're probably better off with something else.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:51 PM
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https://www.autoblog.com/2018/07/02/...r-wheel-drive/

Good news for those who want an Alfa Romeo Stelvio but do not have the need for all-wheel drive: Alfa is reportedly introducing a cheaper, solely rear-drive version. It will still have plenty of power.

Car & Driver is reporting that there will be a new, rear-wheel-drive base Stelvio for 2019, one that undercuts the current cheapest Q4 model by $2,000. That would mean a starting price of $41,440. However, the gap will widen slightly as the all-wheel-drive cars will see a price bump for 2019.

The base model's only engine option will be the four-cylinder turbo, offering 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is the eight-speed automatic. C&D also says that the RWD versions will be kitted out more cheaply than AWD models, as a posher Ti version will always come standard with AWD. The new base models are likely to bear Q2 badging to differentiate them from the "quattro per quattro" Q4 models.

And, if you're still willng to add a little something to the RWD Stelvio, there will be an available Sport package that offers 19-inch wheels and performance-oriented accessories such as aluminum pedals, painted brake calipers, paddle shifters and more. This does almost negate the price difference between the 2018 and 2019 base models, as it is said to cost $1,800.
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:26 AM
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https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/08...-quadrifoglio/

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is built for speed, but how does it do on a family vacation?

In the time since I began reviewing cars for Ars Technica, my reviews have settled into a routine. A fresh vehicle pulls into the alley behind my house on Tuesday morning with a full tank of gas and a soft limit of 500 miles of driving. After familiarizing myself with the infotainment system, safety features, and the other peculiarities, I take each car for a 60+ mile drive. I include suburban neighborhoods, arterial streets, expressways, and winding country roads with actual hills and curves (a few of those actually exist around Chicagoland). Then for the rest of the week, I spend time doing the stuff I'd do with any other car: buying groceries, taking my son to rugby practice, driving to church... the usual stuff. It's generally enough to give me a good picture of what a car is and is not capable of.

That said, there is always one question left unanswered at the end of a trip: "How would this car be on a family road trip?"

I reviewed the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti last year. Although it was my second review to be published, it was the first car I actually drove. And I liked it. A lot. So when the 505hp, V6 Stelvio Quadrifoglio finally made it to dealers this spring, I had an idea for Alfa Romeo: instead of doing the usual one-week loan, how about letting me see how practical a high-performance, $84,000 SUV is for a family vacation? What it's like to spend day after day in the racing seats? How does this vehicle handle on the winding Pacific Coast Highway?

Alfa Romeo said yes. So aside from being in California instead of suburban Chicago, and working without a mileage ceiling, this 11-day vehicle loan would be the same as any other. We paid our own way out to California, we paid for our own lodging, and we paid for gas after the full tank it came with was drained. I cashed in some credit card miles for our flights, booked some hotels and Airbnbs, and created an itinerary for the family (PDF). The great Bangeman road-test road trip was officially on.

All told, we racked up 1,165 miles. We started in Los Angeles, moved on for two days in Santa Barbara, and then spent two days in Monterey, two days in San Francisco, two days in Mariposa near Yosemite National Park, and a final night in a nondescript Embassy Suites right by LAX before flying out. We encountered both dirt roads where no GPS shall lead you and bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go on multi-lane highways. Some days had five hours of time behind the wheel, and every day bar one in San Francisco had at least some driving. If I hadn't already put this SUV through its paces back in Chicago, the Quadrifoglio was truly about to run the gauntlet of travel scenarios.

Getting to LA was an ordeal involving two cancelled flights and our luggage being sent to a different airport. Wanting as much rest as possible in a new and unfamiliar setting, I downed a Lunesta (I use them exclusively when I travel) and went to bed with anticipation.

The four-cylinder Stelvio was a blast last go-round, so the thought of driving a souped-up version for a few days was that much more exciting. From the outside, the two models look very similar. You know you're looking at a Stelvio Quadrifoglio by the six vents in the hood, triangular clover emblems on the front quarter panels, and the pair of twin exhaust pipes in the rear. On the inside, the Quadrifoglio has more leather and carbon-fibre, some leather-and-Alcantara front seats, and another clover badge on the instrument panel.

Unlike the Alfa Romeo of old, there's not much of the engine to see—just a large cover with the logo on it. Underneath lays a 2.9-liter, six-cylinder, twin-turbo V6 capable of pumping out 505hp (376W) and 443lb-ft (600Nm) of torque. It's the same engine we loved in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and it's based on the current Ferrari V8 with two fewer cylinders. It sounds amazing, like a large swarm of deep-voiced bees that would urgently like to have a word with you about pesticides and colony collapses.

Alfa claims a top speed of 177mph (285km/h) for the Quadrifoglio with a zero-to-60 time of just 3.6 seconds, which is faster than almost any other SUV, including the Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S. The Lamborghini Urus is also rated at 3.6 seconds, and a Tesla Model X P100 will go much faster, but that's about it. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio even holds the current SUV lap record—7:51.7—at the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

It turns out, the daily grind in Los Angeles—Whole Foods for breakfast, a stroll through Venice, lunch at In-N-Out—doesn't really need a high-performance SUV. With all of the stop-and-go traffic the stop/start system got a workout; I appreciated how quickly the engine roared back to life when you needed it. The response from throttle and brake felt near-instantaneous and required a light touch to avoid a jerky ride in the heavy traffic. As the vacation went on, I acquired the required finesse for lurch-free city driving.

For dinner, we went to Petit Trois, a bistro owned by French chef Ludo Lefebvre. I'd gotten reservations for 7:15, in hopes of avoiding the worst the 405 had to offer. No such luck. The steak frites with cognac pepper sauce was to die for, but the drive there was not. One of the best things about today's vehicles, compared to the trio of decade-old autos sitting in my garage, is adaptive cruise control paired with forward collision warning. It's a case where good technology makes traffic jams much less annoying. Unfortunately, our Quadrifoglio was delivered with the adaptive cruise non-operational. I've experienced FCA's version in the Maserati Levante, a pair of minivans, and the Stelvio Ti, and it works great. But without those parts of the $1,500 Driver Assist Dynamic Plus Package working for me, the stop-and-go traffic on the 405 had me looking forward to the next leg of our trip.

A concern for any family trip is the amount of luggage and how well it can fit in your vehicle. The Stelvio's 18.5 (524L) cubic feet of cargo space with the back seats in use is not a lot, but we got all our stuff in there. I was pleasantly surprised to have an almost-clear view out of my rear-view mirror—the angle of the rear window is such that I had at least 80-percent visibility.

With the luggage in the car and everyone buckled in, it was time to head northwest to Santa Barbara, and the Quadrifoglio began to shine. I went back and forth between Natural and Dynamic modes, settling into Natural for a calmer, smoother ride on Highway 101. The drive from LA to Santa Barbara itself was uneventful but beautiful, with little to test the Alfa other than the occasional overtaking of a slower vehicle when a passing lane opened up.

Santa Barbara is a beautiful town of just under 100,000 about a two-hour drive from LA. We had two things on our mind here: the beach and a tri-tip sandwich from the Cold Spring Tavern about a half-hour up from our hotel in the Santa Ynez Mountains. Cold Spring Tavern began life in 1868 as a stagecoach stop near the top of the San Marcos Pass, and it's a gorgeous drive up Highway 154 to get there. Once you leave Santa Barbara proper, you're on a two-lane highway with a steady climb from sea level to about 2,000 feet. There was nothing challenging about the drive, just the joy of being behind the wheel of a car that wanted to show off.

After two days in Santa Barbara, it was time for the trek up the coast to Monterey. I had long dreamed of driving California Highway 1, but a section of mountain near Mud Creek had deposited an estimated 5 million cubic yards of rocks, mud, and other detritus onto the highway in May 2017, forcing everyone to detour to the inland US Highway 101 for the trek between Santa Barbara and Monterey. The repairs would only be done and the road reopened on July 21—two days late for our purposes. I resigned myself to missing out on the drive and we headed out on 101. With an open highway, a landscape painted with irrigated fields and gold-hued hills, and traffic flowing at a steady 80mph, there wasn't much to complain about.

As we passed through San Luis Obispo, I saw the sign for the Highway 1 exit and felt a tinge of sadness. I had to ask: "Honey, would you check to see if Highway 1 opened early by some miracle?" A quick search brought us the best possible news—the Pacific Coast Highway had reopened two days ahead of schedule.

For an inland petrolhead, the Pacific Coast Highway was all I'd dreamed of. We stopped several times to take in the beauty, and in one case, we even watched male elephant seals throwing down. Nature documentaries don't do the scene justice—the sight of half-ton bulls crashing into each other on a beach 50 meters away while barking is amazing. And they sound like... an eruption of damp flatulence reverberating through an immense PVC pipe.

Driving the Quadrifoglio for the four hours or so it took us to traverse Highway 1 between San Luis Obispo and Carmel-by-the-Sea was one of my all-time driving highlights. It's mostly curves with a couple of switchbacks thrown in for good measure, and I kept the Alfa in Dynamic mode. To my delight, the car hugged the road the entire way. With its low center of gravity, 12:1 steering ratio, and double-wishbone suspension, the Alfa handled the highway like a boss. It's no sports car, but it didn't feel like an SUV either.

We spent two days in Monterey—be sure to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and cruise the 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach if you make it up there—and continued our trek with a two-hour drive to San Francisco. Again, we chose scenic over the most direct route into the Golden Gate City. The Quadrifoglio is rated at 19mpg: 17mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway. Mileage in and around LA was understandably lousy with the style of driving, but I got 21.8mpg on our second tank and averaged 19.8mpg for the entire trip.

As the climate has warmed, forest fire season in California has become a year-round issue. On our first night in San Francisco, I got a notification: our host in Mariposa was offering to let us out of our rental with a full refund, as the Ferguson Fire threatening Yosemite National Park had closed Highway 140 from Mariposa. Yosemite was still reachable via Highway 49, but that was a two-hour drive from Mariposa, not 45 minutes. But no one felt up to reworking our itinerary and finding another place to go (plus the Airbnb had a pool), so we decided to make the 3.5-hour drive from San Francisco to Mariposa and then think about whether to make the smoky trek into Yosemite.

Our route from San Francisco to Mariposa was a stark contrast to the central coast. Instead of fog-fed greenery and majestic ocean vistas, it was golden-brown hills and almond groves. We stopped for lunch at the H&W Family Drive-in in Merced, known for its homemade root beer. "You're not from around here," the waitress commented as we took our order. It wasn't the Italian SUV that gave us away—it was the fact that we asked for menus. The root beer was cold and refreshing in the 95°(about 35° Celsius) temperatures, and the Ortega Burger (with poblano peppers on it) satisfied my hunger.

As we approached Mariposa, the air became hazy and smelled like a sauna—which suited the near-100° (~37.77°C) temperatures. In retrospect, I should've memorized the directions; Google Maps, Apple Maps, and every other GPS in existence would lead us astray, our host had told us. Apple Maps led us down a very rutted dirt road that looked to be close to the house. I stopped, disconnected my iPhone, and punched the address into Google Maps. Keep going down this road, it said. I shrugged and pressed on.

The Quadrifoglio has active suspension with a four-channel chassis dampening system to quickly adapt to changing driving conditions. The all-wheel drive system links up to the chassis domain controller, and the driveline's integrated actuator lets the car adjust to new road conditions in as little as 150m. This in turn helps get the right amount of torque to each wheel. I had the drive set to Natural to minimize the feel of the bumps and ruts in what looked to be a rarely traveled dirt road. I was driving well below 25mph due to a combination of the road and not knowing exactly where I was headed, but the ride still felt too stiff. At that point, I would rather have been behind the wheel of the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk I took offroad in April or the Range Rover Sport I drove earlier this summer. Both of them would have given a softer ride.

After a couple of minutes of frustration, I stopped on the deserted road and opened up the Airbnb app. Scrolling back through my inbox revealed the actual directions, which had the house about a half-mile away down a completely different road. I suspect it was the four-way intersection of John Howard Street and John Howard Street (!!!)—which doesn't show up on any maps—that threw off the GPS.

With smoke in the air and Yosemite about to be evacuated, there wasn't much to do in Mariposa. There was disappointment about missing out on one of America's stellar national parks, but with the pace we'd set on our grand tour thus far there was a sense of relief at having a day to unwind.

I couldn't just sit on the deck or float in the pool, however, not with that car in my line of sight every time I walked out the front door. We were in the mountains, and there were winding roads, so I convinced the family to come along on a drive down Highway 49. The roads in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada are fun, and traffic is scarce. There are plenty of curves, some straight bits, and a couple of steep grades of at least six percent.

As with PCH, I had to split my attention between driving and taking in the sights. I came to two realizations cruising down Highway 49. One: the parched landscape, bright sunshine, and the haze from the fires drove home exactly why bits of California catch fire on a regular basis. Two: this Alfa is just as fun in the mountains as it is on the open highway.

This makes sense—after all, the car is named after the Stelvio Pass. I didn't have to deal with 48 switchbacks, but it was more than equal to every task in the Sierra foothills. Going down the grades I found it easy to use the huge aluminum paddle shifters to control the speed via the gearbox and engine braking. On that hot July day, they were cool to the touch and had exactly the right amount of mechanical action for each shift to satisfy on a visceral level. Uphill in a short passing zone, the car easily overtook everything in front of it with its brilliant throttle response.

All things considered, I still would have rather seen Yosemite National Park. But driving the Quadrifoglio in the mountains—and stopping at a roadside stand to pick up the juiciest, sweetest cherries I've ever bitten into—was a small consolation.

The last segment of our grand tour was a five-hour leg from Mariposa back to Los Angeles. The majority of that is on Highway 99 and Interstate 5—four-to-eight-lane expressways that would take me back to the circle of hell that is LA traffic. But I had to get to Highway 99 first, and that involved some desolate country roads. It was time to see what Race mode was all about.

You see, the Quadrifoglio has a fourth drive setting that's not found in the 2.0-liter model. Race mode shuts off the driver assist stuff, stiffens the suspension, and dials steering and throttle responsiveness up to 11—the kind of thing you'd want on a track. I didn't have a track, but I did have a stretch of country road that was utterly deserted aside from some disinterested cattle a few hundred yards over.

Engaging Race mode requires you to put the vehicle in park and turn the dial clockwise to the 12 o'clock position and release. Remember the bee swarm from earlier? Race mode summons a basso profundo swarm, triple the size, and they wish to have words about all the honey that's been disappearing from their hives. It's the kind of engine noise that lets you know that there's a car that wants very badly to go extremely fast. The instrument panel told me to put the car into manual for maximum performance as the display highlights turned yellow. I did so, hit the gas, and was off.

A yellow line appeared from each side of the main instrument display. As the revs grew, the lines met in the middle and SHIFT appeared in bold white letters. The acceleration was immense, and I tapped the shift paddle each time until I got to a speed I probably shouldn't discuss here. As we slowed down, I found myself giggling like a 10-year-old who heard someone say "booger" during mass.

We made it to Highway 99, which meant a couple hundred miles of arid fields, almond groves, and the occasional dusty city thrown in for good measure. It was the longest drive of our vacation, and the less said about the scenery, the better. But it was a good time to think about comfort and ergonomics.

From a driver's perspective, the cockpit and center console are very well thought out. Unlike BMW, which has a button for just about everything, Alfa opts for a minimalist layout. There's the infotainment display, climate controls below it, and a console with three knobs and a couple of cupholders. That's it. At left is the DNA drive selector. In the middle was the dial for controlling the infotainment display. To the right was another small knob for volume and switching radio stations. It's an intuitive setup, and one that's easy to operate without looking down.

I was critical of Alfa's infotainment system in my original review, but I found myself reconsidering that. There's more twisting and clicking than I'd like, but the interface is clean, the menus are easy to navigate, and it doesn't take too much searching to find a setting. And with CarPlay and Android Auto included ($100 option for each), I could use the best-available interface for phone calls, podcasts, and my music. Annoyingly, the USB port in the dashboard stopped working the next-to-last day of our trip. The two USB ports in the center storage compartment can be used for AirPlay, though, so we still had access to Maps and Podcasts.

The ride was consistently comfortable—but with a catch. The seats are aggressively bolstered with adjustable lateral and thigh supports. They are comfortable but in the same way as an overstuffed armchair: there was exactly one position that was really comfortable, and that was it.

The teens said the back was comfortable, too, but they would have liked some degree of adjustability and climate controls of their own. They were happy to lean against the windowsill and appreciated the armrest/cupholder combo that folded down in the middle of the seat. The USB ports for keeping their phones charged was a plus, too. Legroom was adequate for both my 5'3" son sitting behind me (I am 6'1") and my 5'5" daughter sitting behind my 5'5" wife.

It wasn't long after cresting Tejon Pass and descending into Los Angeles that traffic screeched to a standstill. After putting well over 1,100 miles on the car over an 11-day period, we were all thinking about the flight home and our own beds. It was a lot of driving, but I was left with mixed feelings as I parked the Alfa in the basement parking garage for the final time and walked away.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is by no means a perfect SUV. It lacks some of the features I've become accustomed to from some of its competitors, like a heads-up display, 360° camera view, and cooled seats. There is not as much road noise on the highway as the Stelvio Ti I reviewed last year, but if you want quiet, get a Maserati Levante or Volvo XC60. It doesn't handle poor road conditions as well as, say, a Range Rover Sport. And to no one's surprise, it can be a gas hog if you live in Dynamic or Race mode.

Would I want to do another epic road trip in a Stelvio Quadrifoglio? Most definitely. Other SUVs do better in the comfort and cargo departments. But nothing I have reviewed offers regular hits of driving bliss like this Alfa. [That's because I hog all the really good stuff—Ed.] For an SUV, it is incredibly responsive to even your smallest impulse behind the wheel. The engine and exhaust has been tuned like a symphony orchestra—a sonorous roar punctuated by occasional percussive bursts. The interior is suitably forward-looking, with carbon fiber accents and stitched leather, and the exterior styling hints at the power under the hood.

If you want an SUV that delivers a quiet, sedate ride, look elsewhere. The same advice goes for someone looking for loads of cargo space and some serious off-roading. If you're a fan of Italian styling, fast driving, and sublime handling—and you're in the market for an SUV—this is the car for you. Best of all, it's a true Alfa. This is a completely different beast than the 1982 Spider I used to drive, but it has all of the ineffable qualities that cause some petrolheads to continually fall head over heels for Alfa Romeo. After a second rendezvous with this Alfa, I can safely say it's the kind of car I'd want on a road trip of any length.
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