By C.A. Haire
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a pleasure to drive
When an SUV carries an $88,000 price tag, it is sure to be special. In the case of this Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, it can be found under the hood. There we find a Ferrari-designed and -built 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, cranking 505 horsepower, and 443 lbs./ft. of torque. It is hooked to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and an all-wheel-drive for a solid grip. The driveshaft is a super-light carbon fiber, which is also very durable. The steering has a quick 12:1 ratio for taking brisk corners. A computer control knob offers four driving modes: eco, normal, dynamic and race.
Placing the Stelvio in race mode provides maximum turbocharger output, hard transmission shift points, and opens the exhaust noise level to the legal limit, sure to attract any traffic police nearby.
The factory claims a 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 176. We did hit 60 in 4 seconds easily, but because most commuting was in the city limits, going for the top speed didn’t seem like a good idea. But it is still nice to know it can do so, for at least bragging rights.
While this vehicle offers great performance, it is still practical to drive in every day commuting when placed in the normal and eco mode. In these settings, the exhaust noise is mild, and claimed fuel economy is 17/23 mpg. The rear storage area can hold 26 cubic feet of gear, the total cargo limit is a half-ton, and the towing ability is 3K pounds. The interior controls are easy to understand and use, but the cabin materials used do seem to be rather bland, not impressive for such an expensive machine.
For those who would like to own this SUV, but don’t need all this power, but do need a lower price, Alfa Romeo offers the base Stelvio with a milder, yet still sophisticated four-cylinder turbo engine.
It puts out a healthy 280 horsepower, reaches 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds, gets 22/28 mpg, and starts at $44K. We racked up 800 miles on this model and found it to be more practical than the more exotic Quadrifoglio. Then again, who pays $88K for a sleek Italian sports machine to be practical? Either model is a pleasure to drive.