2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Extravagant sense of romance 

“When premium sports automakers want to stay in the business, it’s time to launch their SUV.”

“Starting with the 4C, Giulia and now the Stelvio, Alfa Romeo is back to the battle ground!”

“Alfa’s first ever SUV is an attractive blend of elegance and premium material,” said Issam.

“Stelvio and Giulia are singing the same Italian song under Maserati’s crest.” 

The first Alfa Romeo SUV is born, delivering a thrilling driving experience, outstanding performance and sporty style. For the first time in more than a century of history, these distinctive features of the genuine “Alfa spirit” have now come together in a sport utility vehicle. Its name is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

What does the name Stelvio mean?

The name itself tells us that this model will provide a thrilling driving experience and still excel in the comfort and versatility typical of its category. The Stelvio is Italy's highest mountain pass and Highway 38, which crosses it, is over 20 kilometers long and with more than 75 hairpin bends, has iconic status.

Exterior 

The Stelvio's proportions, with a length of 468 cm, height of 167 cm and width of 216 cm, express strength, dynamism and compactness. Externally, its attractive line is the perfect blend of tradition, design and performance, an integral part of the brand's history, dating back over a century. Achieving this mix, now, as in the past, involves combining the three ingredients of Alfa Romeo design: proportion, simplicity and top-quality surfacing. These same ingredients gave us 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. To underline its beautiful lines, the customer can choose from 13 body colors and 13 different alloy wheels, which highlight its sleek silhouette.

Interior

The same elegantly sporty imprint is found in the interior, which is simple, stylish and tailored like a bespoke suit, with painstaking craftsmanship and premium materials: the leather (including full grain), real woods and fabrics have all been chosen for their visual and tactile appeal and assembled to give a palpable sense of human artistry. The driver is central, a concept underlined by the diagonal tunnel, the slightly undulating dashboard and the small, direct-ratio, leather-wrapped steering wheel that adapts effectively to all driving styles. Also provided is a clear TFT color information display cluster (with 3.5-inch or 7-inch displays), which supplies all essential information, while the driver/car interface consists of two rotary controls for easy, immediate use of the Alfa DNA selector and Alfa Connect system. Depending on the version, Alfa Connect has a 6.5-inch or 8.8-inch high-resolution display, with integral 3D navigation function, the new frontier in infotainment developed in partnership with Magneti Marelli.

Drivetrain

Apart from its distinctive style and excellent handling, Alfa Romeo Stelvio reveals all its character through a powerful petrol engine. The new 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine (280 hp at launch, 200 hp in the near future) is a four-cylinder unit built entirely in aluminum with a carbon drive shaft, combined with the automatic eight-speed transmission and Q4 all-wheel drive. In addition to MultiAir electro-hydraulic valve actuation, the distinctive features of this engine include "2-in-1" turbo and 200-bar high-pressure direct injection, which pair up to deliver particularly snappy accelerator response across the rev range in addition to first-class fuel efficiency.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.0 280-hp turbocharged petrol engine (peak torque of 400 Nm at 2,250 rpm) is best in class in terms of acceleration, powering from zero-to-100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds. The top speed is 230 km/h.

Stelvio SUV is teamed with the automatic eight-speed transmission specifically calibrated for fast, smooth gearshifts. The transmission has a lock-up clutch to give the driver a powerful feeling of in-gear acceleration once the gear is engaged. Depending on the mode chosen with the Alfa DNA selector, the automatic transmission optimizes fluidity, comfort and ease of driving in all environments, including around town, and further improves fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Steering-column-mounted, aluminum paddle shifters are available.

Alfa DNA 

Alfa Romeo Stelvio features the new Alfa DNA selector, which modifies the car's dynamic behavior as selected by the driver: Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency (new energy-saving mode). 

Specifically, Dynamic mode accentuates performance and reactive handling. The steering response is more precise, braking is more immediate and the electronic control systems do not interfere with the pleasure of sports-style driving. Natural mode is ideal for urban and motorway contexts. Handling is tailored for comfort and fuel economy. Finally, the new Advanced Efficiency maximizes energy savings and minimizes emissions levels.

Driving impressions

It is surely an Alfa. It will drive like an Alfa. Alfa Romeo has been known in the past for its precise handling and drivability, and so are their new models. The Stelvio is extremely pleasurable to drive, not just a normal SUV with some sporty styling. 

The location was perfectly chosen at the peak of the Swiss/Italian Mountains. Steering was straight, precise and gentle without feeling over-assisted. There's little body roll in the corners and the car is lighter than its German rivals. While the cabin has to be more soundproofed, the Stelvio is properly well refined and is super comfortable for highway cruising.

Verdict

I felt in love with the “macchina” Stelvio. I actually admire Alfa Romeo’s badge. Dazzling, eye-catching and drives fantastically well. It is the fanatic driver’s car. But, with all these positive characteristics, will Alfa Romeo be able to strike the German competition? I doubt that. At least not for the time being. Prices were not announced yet but should be at least lower than the rivals. 

Pros: Attractive exterior styling, well-designed cabin, precise steering, handling, powerful engine 

Cons: Audible wind noise inside the cabin

Rivals: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-PACE, Cadillac XT5 

one word: modish

4.5 stars 

Specs

2.0L turbocharged, inline-4 cylinder, 280 hp @ 5,250 rpm, 400 Nm @ 2,250 rpm 

4WD, 8-speed auto

0-100 km/h: 5.7 sec, top speed: 230 km/h, fuel consumption: 7 L/100 km 

Weight: 1,660 kg

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