First Look: The Alfa Romeo Stelvio, a Luxury SUV for Drivers

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Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo finally has launched a high-performance, luxury-minded SUV — and, thankfully, it promises to be a driving machine.

Named for the Stelvio Pass — a mountain road in northern Italy that, at 9,045 feet above sea level, is the second-highest paved pass in the Alps — the Alfa Romeo Stelvio will launch with its top-of-the-range Quadrifoglio edition, which boasts a 2.9-liter bi-turbo intercooled V-6 engine that delivers a class-leading 505 horsepower, top speed of 177 mph and 0–60 time of 3.9 seconds.

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The Quadrifoglio edition looks to be the most driver-focused SUV on the market. It comes equipped with standard Q4 all-wheel-drive, four-mode Alfa DNA Pro selector with Race mode, torque vectoring differential and Quadrifoglio-tuned adaptive suspension.

As expected, all the bells and whistles are standard on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Inside, leather wraps Alcantara front seats, the steering wheel and instrument panel, next to the carbon fiber interior trim. Available in performance-enhancing options include an ultra-lightweight carbon fiber shell, Sparco racing seats and Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes.

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The Stelvio will also be offered in base and Ti models. Both feature an all-aluminum, 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbo engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission, delivering 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque, class-exclusive carbon fiber driveshaft, Q4 all-wheel-drive, dual exhaust with bright tips, 18-inch aluminum wheels, leather seating, backup camera with rear park sensors, power lift gate, and Formula One-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel with integrated push button start, for starters. To that the Stelvio Ti adds 19-inch wheels, genuine wood interior accents, and an 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment display.

The driver-centric interior is focused and to-the-point. Located in the center console are two simple rotary dials. The first controls Alfa’s DNA Drive Mode system with three unique driver selectable modes (Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency) that can be used to fine tune the driving experience by adjusting throttle response, boost pressure, and suspension settings in Stelvio and Stelvio Ti. Stelvio Quadrifoglio adds the fourth mode — Race — with its exclusive DNA Pro Drive Mode system.

All Stelvio models will be built at the Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy, and feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — not to mention that classic Alfa Romeo grille, flanked by broad-mouth openings.

Prices have yet to be confirmed, but look for the Stelvio to start at around $43,000 and top out at $70,000 for the Quadrifoglio edition.

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