Congrats on having children and/or an active lifestyle. Now you need a vehicle that can carry your progeny and/or surfboard. However, you don’t want to join the masses of identical crossovers because life’s too short for the norm, so why not aim high, and grab a premium SUV with the biggest engine in the line up. Enter stage right: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and Porsche Macan Turbo (with Performance Pack).
By the numbers
Both the Alfa and the Porsche do rather well in the ‘big numbers’ stakes. Alfa’s seen fit to stuff the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s biturbocharged 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 into its new SUV. The result is a 505-horsepower, 443 pound-feet monster capable of cracking 0 to 60 miles per hour 3.6 seconds and hitting 176 mph.
On the other hand, the Porsche gets a bigger biturbocharged 3.6-liter turbo V6 with a lower 440 hp power output. Torque sits at 442 lb-ft. The sprint to 60 mph takes 4.2 seconds and it’ll top out at a pleasingly large 169 mph. But it has another big number worth noting: weight.
The Porsche weighs in at 4,244 pounds, while the Alfa tips the scales shy of 4,360 pounds. The German’s numbers may be large, but maybe large in the wrong places.
When it comes to looks the Alfa has the Porsche beat. While the German car looks pretty handsome on its lonesome, the Stelvio makes it look rather bland when the two are placed side by side.
Porsche’s straight lines and “I’m related to a 911” looks are all well and good, but when you see Alfa’s swooping, flared, vented, contoured shape, especially considering the amount of real estate to play with, it’s very pretty indeed.
Living with it
There may be plenty of power on offer, and one looks vastly better than the other, but what about living with your choices? The Porsche’s infotainment system may not be the latest Porsche tech (see the Panamera for that), but it works well, is intuitive, and doesn’t irk. The Alfa’s on the other hand… the less said about it the better. However, the Italian car comes with a clutter-free center stack while the Porsche is still clinging on to the old-school, button-heavy ways of the past. If you didn’t spec something on your Macan, Porsche puts a “look at how cheap I am” plastic blanking plate where your hard-earned gadgets could have been.
Cargo space isn’t scarce in either car – the Porsche gets 17.7 cubic feet with the seats up and 53.0 with them down. The Alfa edges it slightly with 18.5 cubic feet seats-up and 56.5 with everything folded flat.
However, the Alfa’s practicality win is short-lived because seeing out of the back of it is a challenge. Its rear window is so small it really needn’t be there, and turning your head to do a blindspot check is futile – the stylized rear window line creates a massive blind spot itself. Conversely the Porsche is easy to see out of, though its rear window is just as comically small as the Stelvio’s.
Behind the wheel
Numbers are one thing, driving is something completely different. The Alfa’s grunt surges it forward in a rather unsettling way – you simply don’t expect something so big and tall to move quite that quickly. While the Porsche feels like no slouch, the extra drama that comes with the Quadrifoglio’s noise makes the Italian feel like a far more exciting machine. Sure, the Macan makes a pleasant burble, but it’s got nothing on Alfa’s latest.
The Stelvio has a hugely sensitive throttle; slight inputs can make a huge difference, giving it an aggressive quality that the Macan lacks. Porsche’s cars are all designed for a bit of light track use and as such they’re all pretty competent around them. Where the Alfa seems twitchy and on edge, the Porsche is composed, balanced, and easy to drive quickly. The German handles better than the powerful Alfa, that’s for sure. Both cars, incidentally, can go a touch sideways in the right hands...
If you’re out for a fun drive though, both will entertain, but the Alfa has the sound to match its looks and performance.
And the winner is…
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Not because it’s the better car – it’s deeply flawed – but because it’s more fun. It shows you that cars can be noisy, raucous, and make you grin like a lunatic in a pleasingly old-school way. The Alfa is hard to recommend as anything other than a ‘heart’ car, the kind of car you buy not for resale value, but because you know you’ll love it while you have it.
|2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
|2017 Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Package
|Biturbocharged 2.9-Liter V6
|Biturbocharged 3.6-Liter V6
|505 Horsepower / 443 Pound-Feet
|440 Horsepower / 442 Pound-Feet
|176 Miles Per Hour
|169 Miles Per Hour
|17 City / 23 Highway / 19 Combined
|17 City / 23 Highway / 19 Combined
|18.5 / 56.5 Cubic Feet
|17.7 / 53.0 Cubic Feet