Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is one of the best sporty SUVs around, with a raucous engine, sharp handling and handsome styling
Power comes from a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine with 503bhp, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. A rear-biased four-wheel drive system helps keep things in check; the car is generally rear-wheel drive unless slip or loss of traction is detected, then it redirects drive to the front axle.
The Quadrifoglio stands out from other Stelvio models thanks to flared wheel arches, wide 20-inch alloy wheels, quad exhaust tips and performance-orientated touches like a carbon fibre bonnet, Pirelli P Zero tyres and beefier brakes. The result is a car with menacing presence – something that’s backed up nicely by its rather loud exhaust.
The Quadrifoglio sits at the top of the Stelvio range and so comes packed with standard equipment. Leather upholstery, sports seats (or optional carbon-backed Sparco items), an 8.8-inch infotainment system, rear view camera, adaptive headlights and a full suite of active safety systems all feature. It’s not quite as plush inside as its German rivals, but the Stelvio is well-built and very comfortable despite its sporty remit.
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Car group tests
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is one of the most exciting fast SUVs around, combining intoxicating performance and impressive levels of involvement for a car in this class. The engine is the star of the show, its 503bhp delivered in spectacular fashion via a quick-witted gearbox and confidence-inspiring yet playful four-wheel drive system. It sounds fantastic too – if Ferrari produced a V6 today, it’d probably sound like this. Genuinely sporty levels of body control, feedback and chassis balance make the Quadrifoglio one of the very best fast SUVs for those who love driving.
Engines, performance and drive
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio followed on from the Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon in Alfa Romeo’s performance line-up, making use of that car’s 503bhp 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 engine and eight-speed auto gearbox. However, in the Stelvio the powertrain is hooked up to Alfa’s Q4 all-wheel drive system to deliver maximum traction.
It’s a rear-biased set-up, and sends 100 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels in normal driving. However, it can also shuffle up to 50 per cent to the front axle when it detects slip – and as a result Alfa claims it can cover 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and hit 176mph flat out. Those are serious numbers for a 1,830kg SUV.
Alfa already has quite a driver focused SUV in the standard Stelvio, so it’s little surprise that a set of chassis tweaks and the addition of a thumping new engine has improved its dynamic makeup. The four-wheel drive powertrain ensures that all 503bhp and 600Nm of torque are fed to the road without any drama; deep chested wails from the engine are punctuated by violent pops and bangs from the exhaust.
After the brutal acceleration you notice the steering, which is super sharp and accurate; the slightest twitch from your wrist is transmitted directly to the wheels. It instills the Stelvio with a greater sense of agility than its portly kerbweight would lead you to believe. Combined with the four-wheel drive system it makes for an incredibly fast and secure performance car.
Flick the Stelvio through the various drive modes and up to its most aggressive Race setting, and the reins are loosened on the stability control. This allows for a bit more movement at the rear end before the four-wheel drive system gathers it all up and launches you down the road, but even here it’s incredibly surefooted.
It’s a beautifully balanced SUV, but it has its limits. The Stelvio manages its weight shifting from side to side through high-speed corners, but you are always aware of the mass it’s hauling around – as it leans a little through corners.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is powered by the same 503bhp twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 as found in the Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon. It’s brimming with character and sounds fantastic. 0-62mph flashes by in 3.8 seconds, while a top speed of 176mph is impressive.
The 2.9-litre V6 and eight-speed auto combination from the Giulia Quadrifoglio is an excellent pairing and it’s the same story in the Stelvio. A wide spread of torque, sharp throttle response and thumping gear changes make it one of the best powertrains in the business.
Alfa’s Pro-DNA system brings a host of drive modes, with the larier Dynamic and Race modes sharpening throttle response, backing off the traction control and opening up the baffles in the quad-tipped exhausts.
MPG, CO2 and Running Costs
Like all high-performance premium cars, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio will be a pricey car to run. Official fuel economy figures of 24.5mpg are actually pretty respectable for a car of this size and performance, thanks in part to the engine’s ability to imperceptibly shut down a bank of its cylinders to reduce fuel consumption when cruising at steady speeds of up to around 80mph.
All other expenses will be high by conventional standards. First year road tax sits at £1,280 (usually rolled into the on-the-road price), while company car buyers will face the highest-possible 37 per cent Benefit in Kind rate. The Quadrifoglio’s high asking price means it’ll incur a surcharge that’ll bring yearly road tax payments to £465 in years two to six of ownership.
Our experts predict that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will hold on to around 50.4 to 53.4 per cent of its value come trade-in time after three years and 36,000 miles. The Jaguar F-Pace SVR retains around 53.3 per cent over the same period, while the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 will hold on to around 49.9 to 52.1 per cent.
Interior, design and technology
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio shares much with its performance saloon cousin, the Giulia Quadrifoglio. The two cars have the same platform and engine, though the Stelvio utilises Alfa Romeo’s Q4 four-wheel drive system.
The similarities continue inside the cabin, where the Stelvio shares much of its design and parts with its saloon counterpart. There are several neat touches to remind you that you are in something a bit more special, though. The Alcantara and carbon fibre steering wheel, red decorative stitching and excellent optional carbon-backed Sparco bucket seats set the tone without being over the top. Our only cabin reservation is perhaps some of the switchgear doesn’t feel or operate with the slickness you’d expect in a premium SUV.
Overall quality is good, but not quite as impressive as that found in a Mercedes or BMW. It represents a big step forward over older Alfa Romeos, however.
Just like the standard Stelvio, the Quadrifoglio comes with an 8.8-inch infotainment system that incorporates sat-nav, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a big screen that has been incorporated nicely into the top of the dash, but its not the most efficient when it comes to displaying information. The system is easy to control with its centre-console-mounted rotary controller. An optional 14-speaker Harmon Kardon audio upgrade is offered.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
The go-faster Stelvio doesn’t really lose out to its standard counterparts when it comes to practicality. There’s loads of space up front, the cabin boasts plenty of storage for family life and there’s a good-sized boot.
Crucially for a sporty car, the driving position is good too – it’s possible to get really low in the car yet still benefit from the added height of an SUV with a good view out.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is longer than most of its rivals, including the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 and BMW X3M Competition. The Jaguar F-Pace SVR is bigger in every direction, though. The Quadrifoglio measures 4,702mm in length and is 2,163mm wide including its mirrors.
Much like the standard Stelvio, the Quadrifoglio is a practical mid-sized SUV – there’s ample space in the front, while the rear bench is spacious enough for adults. Rear kneeroom suffers slightly if you opt for the Sparco carbon-backed seats, but not by much. The sloping roof robs a little headroom, but only those over six feet tall will notice. ISOfix points are supplied in the outer rear seats.
The Stelvio has 525 litres of boot space – 25 less than you’ll find in the back of the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 and BMW X3 M Competition, and considerably smaller than that in the larger F-Pace SVR. In practise though it’s a very practical space – well shaped and with a low load lip.
The rear seats fold with a 40/20/40 split, while an electric tailgate comes as standard for added practicality.
Reliability and Safety
Alfa Romeo performed very well in our 2019 Driver Power ownership survey. The Stelvio did not feature in the survey, but its Giulia counterpart finished in a strong 3rd place, with owners praising the driving experience overall –but 28% of owners reported experiencing a fault, most of which were with that car’s electrics.
Alfa Romeo itself finished second overall out of 30 manufacturers – owners reported a high number of faults but did not award their cars a bad reliability result. This is likely to mean that any issues were minor and simply fixed by dealers.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes as standard with a rear view camera, lane-departure warning and blind-spot detection. Adaptive cruise control is a cost option at around £900.
The Stelvio comes with an impressive five-year, 75,000-mile warranty and five years of roadside assistance – great for peace of mind and better than most other cars in the class. By contrast, Mercedes and BMW each offer a three-year unlimited mile warranty.
Alfa Romeo’s Easy Care servicing plan can be customised to fit your car’s use and spread the cost of maintenance.