The Italian flair Alfa Romeo is one whose existence is up for speculation. But when it produces cars that not only look like pure luxury but also efficient enough to go head to head with the big boys. Alfa showed that it could keep up with the Germans in the sport market with its Giulia while also manufacturing a car that looked amazing doing it.
But with the Stelvio, Alfa Romeo is taking the customary Italian style and its driving pleasure to the world of SUVs. Its first attempt to break into this market comes at a convenient time considering that no other manufacturer’s lineup is safe from the addition of a sport utility vehicle in the market.
Alfa Romeo, which stands for romantic notions of motor technology, has a historic motorsport heritage from the arena of Formula One, the Mille Miglia et al. So it would obviously seem uncharacteristic for Alfa to produce something as coarse as an SUV. However, Alfa Romeo maintains a consistent driving quality and heritage as a brand that will remain intact for years to come, and that will make its customers feel like every part of the experience is as special to drive as even the staunchest Alfista.
And Alfa did not hold back to achieve this bold statement. It has equipped the Stelvio with a 280 horsepower, a ZF 8-speed gearbox, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, and an urbane suspension setup. In addition, the all-wheel-driving system can send all of the power to the rear wheels. The end result is a car that can provide enough power to feel sporty, and a transmission that gives you sharp ratio changes. It can also corners flat and handles like its rear-wheel-drive.
Weight saving plays a big role in this. Alfa uses heavily aluminum for the engine, suspension and body panels as well as a carbon fiber drive shaft that can keep the weight to a minimum. This is what allows the car to get away with a meek horsepower, bringing it to 62 in 5.7 seconds. This allows the driver a combination of driving enjoyment and security. Although, the clever suspension that is set up is allowed for a relatively compliant, if not a little firm, ride on straight roads. But, in tight turns where you could easily forgive a top-heavy SUV from slanting a little, the Stelvio can hold its ground and hold it remarkably flat.
All in all, the Stelvio was able to incarcerate most of an Alfa’s driving pleasure. The whole package might not be in every Alfista’s taste, but it retains enough flair to be attractive and efficient. More importantly, if the Stelvio and Giulia can make it onto adequate driveways, Alfa Romeo might be able to get back to its actual job, that is, to making the types of cars we all want to see it make. For that reason alone, this car should be welcomed with open arms and a satisfied fate. The bonus is that in addition to being a decent ride, it is also pretty nice to look at.