SUVs aren’t something we visit all that often in the Car Throttle long-term test garage, though the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio isn’t like the others. There’s no shortage of fire-breathing, circa-500bhp high-riders for this kind of money, but the Alfa Romeo stands head and shoulders above the rest.
We’ve long maintained that if it simply has to be a fast, mid-sized SUV as opposed to a fast wagon, this is what you want. It looks great, it sounds incredible, and it’s amazingly playful for a heavy, all-wheel drive car with a decent amount of ground clearance.
If it was our money, though, we’d be all predictable and have the Giulia Quadrifoglio instead. But with no estate option for Alfa’s super saloon, the Stelvio has a big leg up over its sibling in terms of practicality. To see if this is enough to change our Stelvio vs Giulia Q stance, we’ll be switching to an example of the latter at around the three-month mark, and running it for a similar stretch.
‘Our’ Stelvio Q is finished in Misano Blue, a £770 option. There are some other options that further inflate the £70,239 base price to £79,045 - we’ll break these down in a later piece.
It’s about 300kg heavier than the Giulia, but superior traction off the line means it’s a tenth quicker to 62mph, covering the benchmark sprint in 3.8 seconds. A taller, less slippery shape means the top speed suffers, dropping from 190mph to 177mph. That’s still a lot more impressive than many of the Stelvio Q’s rivals, though, which have a tendency to be electronically-limited to 155mph.
Drive comes from the same 503bhp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 as the Giulia, which the motoring world is pretty certain to have Ferrari V8 origins, even though neither Maranello nor Alfa will confirm or deny. Torque is fed to all four wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, manual control of which is possible through sizeable column-mounted shifters.
We’ll be taking you through what’s good and bad about living with one of these cars (and in typical Alfa fashion, we’ve already found a few irritating foibles). As well as comparing it with its saloon relative, we’ll also look to put the Stelvio against one of its rivals.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know about the car, or anything you’d like to see us do with it, let us know in the comments.