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.
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.
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.
The Stelvio’s proportions, in particular, express strength, dynamism and compactness. 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
all images courtesy of Alfa Romeo