Still great to drive, now more fleshed out for 2020.
There's no performance crossover that tugs at our heartstrings quite like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. It's just so charming. A sleek design and aggressive Quadrifoglio cues make the Stelvio an absolute stunner, and while other performance crossovers drive well enough, the Alfa feels exceptional on the road.
Combined with a few necessary updates for 2020 – like improvements to the infotainment, interior quality, and materials – and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio finally feels like a finished product. It's just a matter of deciding whether this performance SUV is worth its hefty asking price.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a damn good-looking SUV. Sporting a similar triangular grille piece and flared lower vents, as found on the Giulia Quadrifoglio sedan, and wearing a set of sharp 20-inch wheels, the Stelvio has an unmistakable look. You won’t find another SUV anywhere that looks like the Stelvio. And our tester’s eye-popping Misano Blue Metallic paint job (a $600 option) further accents the Stelvio’s wide hips and sloped roofline.
The Stelvio Quad’s interior is very clean, if not a bit pedestrian in this particular spec. Our tester wears black leather-and-Alcantara seats with matching black leather on the dash, some interesting green and white stitching, and carbon fiber accents on the center console thrown in for good measure. There are some neat visual cues, though, like the red starter button on the steering wheel (it’s black on standard models). The green, white, and red Italian flag motif behind the shifter is a neat touch as well, and the four-leaf clover emblem on the helm hints at the Stelvio’s sporty nature.
Other reviewers have dinged the Stelvio for its sub-par interior quality – and if this were the 2019 model, we might’ve too. But Alfa addressed many of its interior issues with the latest facelift. The gearshift lever gets a leather wrap rather than last year’s flimsy plastic, the three rotary control dials in the center console have more heft, and the infotainment screen gets a nicer surround.
As expected, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio rides rough. Even in the softest setting, it’s stiff over smooth pavement and borders on back-breaking on rougher roads. The 20-inch wheels and rubber band–thin Pirelli P Zero tires don’t do anything to help soften the blow of the performance-tuned suspension, and the sporty Sparco buckets – while nicely bolstered – feel too stiff for longer driving bouts.
At least the Stelvio has decent interior space compared to its nearest rivals. The Alfa is a compact SUV, so it competes directly with the likes of the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Porsche Macan. As such, the Stelvio has some of the best front headroom in the class (40.2 inches) and competitive front legroom (36.6 inches), which makes it feel nice and roomy from the front two buckets. The second row feels tighter, though – the 38.9 inches of headroom and 31.9 inches in legroom are below average for the class.
Alfa Romeo improved the Stelvio’s infotainment system for 2020. The same 8.8-inch screen from last year’s model carries over, only now it’s a touchscreen – though you can still control it with the rotary dial as well. The screen itself gets better graphics, more configurable widgets, and faster processing to go along with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And generally speaking, it all looks clean and is very easy to use.
There’s also an updated 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel that looks better and offers more customization. But where others like Audi and BMW have moved to a fully digital instrument cluster, that 7.0-inch screen sits between two analog gauges. Alfa Romeo keeps it simple, for better or worse. And one of the few options available is the $300 wireless charger, which our tester does have.
There is no other SUV that drives like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, not a one. The 505-horsepower, Ferrari-sourced, twin-turbocharged V6 is one of the best engines available anywhere. It revs with ferocity up and delivers a linear burst of power, able to launch the Stelvio to 60 miles per hour in a ridiculous 3.6 seconds. The Quadrifoglio is stupid quick, as is its eight-speed automatic transmission when being driven hard – though, it’s pretty amenable otherwise – and the throaty braap that comes from the quad exhaust tips is better than any song we’ve ever heard.
And the way the Stelvio handles is just… magic. The steering is hyper-reactive and perfectly weighted – in fact, it’s identical to what you get in the Giulia Quad – which means you can fling the Quad into a corner aggressively and it responds with perfect form. The suspension (as we mentioned earlier) is very stiff, but that yields spirited handling in the corners, and there’s very little body roll to note. The Stelvio Quad feels a lot like a lifted Giulia Quad because it is – and that’s a great thing.
Our tester also gets the optional ultra-high-performance Brembo brakes, a hearty $8,000 option. They certainly do a good job of stopping the Stelvio, but they can be a bit grabbier than the traditional brakes for normal driving and don’t feel totally worthy of their whopping price tag, unless you actually plan to track your luxury SUV.
Every Stelvio comes standard with automatic emergency braking for 2020, and new safety features for 2020 include traffic-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring. All of that – plus things like automatic high-beam assist and driver attention alert – are available as part of the $2,000 Active Driver Assist package. And we think it’s worth the price.
The Stelvio’s adaptive cruise control system is advanced – it maintains a steady pace to the car in front, keeps the Stelvio centered in the lane, and brakes seamlessly all the way down to zero. We found the lane departure alert to be overly sensitive and annoying (it gives off a loud beep – a vibration function or volume adjustment would be nice), but it’s easy to turn off via the settings menu on the touchscreen.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio won’t win any awards for its efficiency – it gets just 17 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 19 combined. Plus that Italian-built V6 only drinks premium fuel. But at least the Stelvio is more efficient than competitors like the BMW X3 M Competition (16 combined), Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition (17 combined), and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 (18 combined). Plus it matches Porsche Macan Turbo, both with 19 mpg combined.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio costs $80,500 to start. Alfa doesn’t offer a ton of options compared to what you get on BMW and Porsche, but somehow our tester still costs $95,690. Some of the richest add-ons include the $8,000 Brembo brake package, the $3,500 Sparco leather and Alcantara bucket seats, and the $2,000 Active Driver Assist package, plus a handful of less expensive options like paint ($600) and a wireless charger ($300).
That said, this particular version of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio feels well priced for what you get. Similarly spec’d examples of the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography and Porsche Macan Turbo that we’ve driven were more expensive – the latter cresting $115,000. But competitors like the GLC 63 ($73,750) and X3 M Competition ($76,900) are a touch cheaper to start.
Gallery: 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio: Review
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio