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First Drive: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The story: Alfa Romeo has added a high-performance range-topper to its SUV range, with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio joining the hot version of the Giulia compact executive saloon.
Key rival:Audi SQ5
Price:£ £68,179
On sale:Now

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a bigger task than simply being a low-volume, high-performance halo model. The Italian brand expects 10-15% of Stelvio registrations to be its most rapid and most expensive – and highest emitting – model, so it needs to leave showrooms in decent numbers.

The Quadrifoglio is powered by a 2.9-litre Bi-turbo petrol engine that produces 510hp, as well as 227g/km of CO2. It manages an average fuel economy figure of 28.8mpg, helped by cylinder-deactivation technology that shuts off up to half of the six cylinders under light load when the car is set into the Advanced Efficiency setting of Alfa’s drive select controller. The DNA system also includes Dynamic and Natural settings, as well as a track-orientated Race mode that deactivates the car’s safety systems.

First Drive - 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - image 9

The Quadrifoglio is very successful in what it does in terms of translating what a high-performance Alfa Romeo should look, sound and drive like. The front and rear bumpers, wheelarches, side skirts and extra bonnet vents are all specific to the hottest version, along with the 20-inch alloy wheels, while the interior gets carbon fibre inserts, and for a pricey extra fee, high-class Sparco race seats and a carbon fibre and Alcantara steering wheel.

This Stelvio is immensely rapid, and the 3.8sec 0-62mph acceleration time feels ridiculous for a five-seat SUV. But the Quadrifoglio is also handy round corners, belying its high centre of gravity. It’s certainly set up with sporting prowess as more of a priority than ride comfort, with those big wheels thumping into holes and bumps in the road. Still, the barking exhaust sounds great under acceleration.

First Drive - 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - image 10

The bad news is the price, with this mid-sized premium SUV costing almost £70,000. The cabin, and in particular the infotainment system, certainly don’t feel like they belong in a car quite this expensive. The Quadrifoglio definitely fulfils the performance element of the brief, at the very least as well as any of its premium German rivals, but doesn’t feel quite as high-quality while doing it.


Paul Barker

The verdict

Excellent, extremely rapid SUV that has a very high price, even before adding some tempting options, while interior quality is patchy for the money.