Class: Premium Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 267
Fuel used: 16.9 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||B-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||505-hp 2.9L|
|Engine Type||Turbo V6|
Real-world fuel economy: 15.8 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/23/19 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas required
Base price: $80,245 (not including $1595 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat paint ($2200), Driver Assistance Dynamic Package ($1200), Convenience Package with Hands-Free Power Liftgate ($350), Brembo-brand carbon-ceramic brakes ($8000), dual-pane sunroof ($1350), heated rear seat ($350), carbon-fiber steering wheel ($400), 20-inch dark 5-hole aluminum wheels ($500), red brake calipers ($350)
Price as tested: $96,540
The great: Ferocious acceleration; agile handling
The good: Distinctive styling with Italian flair
The not so good: Steep pricing; iffy reliability record; some quirky controls; limited passenger and cargo space
What’s the value of a premium compact crossover? Like baseball or rocket science, it’s all in the numbers.
You can look at the starting price of a 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio—$81,840, with delivery—and roll your eyes as if to say, “Oh, no way.” But if you look deeper into the class, you see that the only vehicles that approximate the Quadrifoglio’s power output cost about the same. The “bargain” of the rarified group of 500-plus-horsepower premium compact SUVs arguably is the Jaguar F-Pace SVR with 550 horsepower for $80,895 before options. Meanwhile, there’s the Mercedes-Benz GLC63 S Coupe, a 503-horse hatchback that starts the meter running at $82,795. And, another “bargain” arrives for 2020 in the form of BMW’s 503-hp X3 M Competition, which starts at $76,900.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio pretty much splits the difference in cost between the F-Pace SVR and the GLC63 S, and delivers 505 horsepower. The kicker is that the Alfa does so with a twin-turbocharged V6, while the others both use larger-displacement V8s, supercharged in the case of the Jag and turbocharged for the M-B. The bigger mills come with a slight fuel-economy penalty per EPA estimates—one mpg down in city driving and one to two behind on the highway.
We doubt the approximately $950 that separates one model from the other or a mile a gallon here and there is keeping anyone who can spend upwards of $80,000 on a small SUV awake at night. They’re probably more moved by bragging-rights stats like 0-60-mph time and top speed, numbers that favor the Italian. Manufacturer-reported times to 60 are 4.1 seconds for the F-Pace, 3.7 seconds for the GLC, and 3.6 clicks for the Stelvio; top speed is 176 mph, the same as the Jaguar and two mph higher than the Mercedes. Now what’s the value play here?
The Quadrifoglio stands apart from other Stelvios that Consumer Guide has tested since the little luxury ute’s arrival for 2018. One more turbocharger, two additional cylinders, and 225 extra horsepower than the base engine has can do that. The engine’s fast throttle response and a healthy 443 lb-ft of torque that peaks at 2500 rpm hastily dispatch the “Quad” with a delightful rumble through the dual-mode exhaust system when the “DNA Pro” driving-mode selector is in “Dynamic” or “Race” settings.
The Ferrari-derived powerplant is paired with an effective 8-speed automatic transmission that the impatient can work for themselves via huge shifter paddles mounted behind the heated steering wheel. A stop/start feature is standard, and clicking DNA Pro into its “Advanced Efficiency” mode permits cylinder deactivation for heightened fuel conservation when conditions dictate. EPA estimates for the Stelvio Quadrifoglio are 17 mpg in city driving, 23 mpg on the highway, and 19 combined. This reviewer recorded 17.03 mpg after a test stint of 175.4 miles made up of 59 percent city-type operation.
Though the availability of rear-wheel drive is new for 2019 Stelvios, that is restricted to base and Sport 4-cylinder models; the Quadrifoglio comes solely with all-wheel drive and a torque-vectoring differential to get the power down where needed. It handles wonderfully—Alfa Romeo says front-to-rear weight distribution is near the ideal 50/50, and it employs things like a carbon-fiber driveshaft to make it so. Steering is quick and direct. The brakes don’t really come on strong until the pedal goes somewhat deep, but then the Brembo CCM carbon-ceramic disc-brake rotors—an $8000 option—stopped the test vehicle with absolute surety. Ride is firm, and the low-profile Pirellis on newly standard staggered-width 20-inch alloy wheels don’t help much in mitigating road shocks, but the payoff comes in well-controlled body lean in corners. Note that Dynamic mode puts a little more starch in steering and damping characteristics than you’ll find in “Natural” mode.
Further Quadrifoglio standard equipment includes leather-and-Alcantara seats with a no-cost choice of contrast stitching when all-black upholstery is selected; ours was a pairing of green and white that was welcome against the prevailing darkness. The stitching also runs through the leather coverings on the dash and door tops. Carbon-fiber trim imparts a performance-vehicle vibe to the cabin. Other basic bits are 8-way power front seats with 4-way lumbar adjustment; heated front seats; aluminum-faced pedals; a flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel; dual-zone climate control; 7-inch thin-film transistor driver-information display; Harman Kardon audio with AM/FM/HD radio, satellite radio, and navigation; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration (new for the year); blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts; forward-collision warning; keyless access and starting; remote start; auto-dimming exterior mirrors; adaptive bi-xenon headlights; LED taillights; and a power liftgate.
In other respects, the Quadrifoglio mimics other Stelvios that CG has sampled. The roofline is somewhat low, which cuts down on headroom in both rows. Legroom is best in the front seats, but gets a little more cramped in back—especially if anyone in front needs to track their seat far back. The sloping roof cuts into driver vision to the rear corners and straight back through the tailgate. The infotainment system is governed by a central dial on the console that takes a lot of time and attention to master, but climate controls are more convenient, with rotary dials to set temperature and fan speed and buttons for other functions between the dials.
There’s serviceable interior storage in the glove box, console box, and door map pockets—all small—with the added benefits of covered cup holders in the console and a drop-down bin on the left side of the dash. Rear-seat storage consists of net pouches on the backs of the front seats and cup holders in the pull-down center armrest. In back, cargo loads onto a good-sized flat floor. Rear seats fold in a 40/20/40 split for added space, and rest just about level with the floor.
With a considerable option load, our test truck hit $96,540—high, yes, but commensurate with its peers. If there’s one thing haunting the Stelvio (and its Giulia sister sedan) it’s an early bad reputation for reliability. If this Alfa can be counted on, it is one hot little number.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
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