LOS ANGELES—Seems like everyone is getting into the crossover SUV game these days: Italian automaker (and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles subsidiary) Alfa Romeo is entering the premium midsize SUV fray with an all-new model based on the architecture of its Giulia sedan.
Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models are powered by an all-new 2.0-liter all-aluminum turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 280 horsepower, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The top-line, super-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio parallels the recently introduced Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio compact sedan; it offers a 505-horsepower twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6. Alfa claims a 0-60-mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 177 mph(!).
All Stelvio models come standard with all-wheel drive and feature Alfa’s DNA drive-mode selector. A rotary dial allows drivers to select between Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency modes that alter throttle response, turbo-boost pressure, and suspension settings. The Quadrifoglio model adds a Race mode that optimizes settings for maximum performance, and can also be ordered with lightweight carbon-fiber Sparco racing seats and Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes.
The Stelvio’s available “driver-centric” hardware includes a limited-slip rear differential, an active suspension system, wheel sizes ranging from 18 inches to 21 inches. Available safety features include a forward collision-warning system, adaptive cruise control with full-stop capability, and lane-departure warning.
The Stelvio will be built in Frosinone, Italy.
It makes good sense for Alfa Romeo to spin another product line off of its new Giulia sedan architecture, and the premium SUV market is hotter than ever. The Alfa Romeo brand certainly has an uphill climb ahead of it to gain a foothold in the North American market, but Stelvio’s sexy styling and impressive specs should help it stand out from the pack. We’ve recently driven the top-line Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and if the Stelvio retains the lusty, agile driving personality of its sedan sibling, it should be one of the best-handling SUVs around. The Stelvio’s name comes from the Stelvio Pass, a legendary driver’s road in the Italian Alps. With its 50/50 weight distribution, quick steering, and snarky engines, the Alfa’s new SUV should be more than up to the task of tackling its namesake road.