2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio First Drive: SUV Excitement
– Austin, Texas
After falling head over heels for the Giulia Quadrifoglio, Alfa Romeo’s scorcher of a sports sedan, it was reasonable to wonder whether I’d be a little less thrilled by the SUV version. After all, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is 10.2 inches taller and weighs 477 pounds more than the four-door sedan on which it’s based. But the good news is that from behind the wheel, not a bit of Quadrifoglio magic has been lost in the transition from sedan to SUV.
That’s due in part to the fact that, beneath the bodywork, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is almost mechanically identical to the Giulia. One big change is the addition of all-wheel drive, though the system operates as a rear-wheel-drive car the majority of the time, only shuffling power – up to 60 percent of it – to the front wheels if things get slippery. To fit the front differential in the Stelvio’s engine bay, Alfa engineers had to relocate the 2.9-liter V6 engine’s two turbochargers slightly compared to the layout in the Giulia. But power ratings are the same: 505 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 443 pound-feet of torque from just 2,500 rpm. An eight-speed automatic provides gear-swapping duties.
Alfa had originally promised that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio would reach 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds, but some last-minute tinkering with the software for the traction control and AWD system now has that figure down to a claimed 3.6 secon...