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Looking at the recent evidence, you’d have
to say Alfa Romeo’s wilderness years might be over. The Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio was
genuinely one of the best small sports saloons of all time, I really mean that, of all time,
it’s fantastic. In 2018, Alfa Romeo returns to Formula 1, this is really significant stuff
for an iconic company that for a long time has just been in the doldrums. And so we approach
this car, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, full of optimism and hope, don’t we? However, let
me just temper that a little bit, let me just remind you that it was only a couple of years
ago that Alfa brought out the 4C, the less than brilliant 4C. So, let’s approach this
car, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, with a balance between caution and optimism. Alfa makes some
big claims for this car, they say it’s the world’s fastest production SUV. So they’re
talking 176 mph flat out, 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, that’s massively quick for an SUV and round
the ‘ring it’s done a 7mins 52sec, so we know it’s fast. What I want to know is
can this, an SUV, actually be fun to drive? I don’t just mean quick and a bit grippy
around the corners, I mean can it be really fun and exciting to drive. Helpfully, we are
right next to what might well be one of the best roads in the world, we’re in the UAE,
we’re a couple of hours outside of Dubai. This is the Jebel Jais Highway, it looks like
an alpine road, doesn’t it? Almost the Arabian Stelvio. Anyway, let’s have a think about
the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, it follows a year or so after the Giulia Quadrifoglio was launched
and it uses the same engine and gearbox as that car so it’s a 2.9-litre twin-turbo
V6, just over 500 horsepower, 443lb-ft of torque and an 8 speed automatic gearbox. Loads
of power, it’s responsive, it revs out really well, all the way to just under 7000 rpm.
It’s got proper energy at the top end, yeah it just keeps pulling. The 8 speed automatic
gearbox, it doesn’t have the intensity of a DSG but I just don’t think you miss it.
Yeah, really, really cool drivetrain this, we’ve got a good soundtrack and we’ve
got tons of performance. It’s a heavy car but it’s really, really quick and of course
with four-wheel-drive you’ve got loads of traction as well How does that four-wheel-drive
system work? So they say it’s 100% rear-wheel-drive until those wheels start to slip in which
case it can send up to 50% of the drive forwards. So how does it feel? If you put your foot
down mid-corner or coming out of a corner you can just feel it rotating slightly, you
can feel the rear end wanting to come around every so slightly but then very quickly it drags
itself straight again. So you can make it do very tiny little baby drifts but it won’t
slide like a Giulia Quadrifoglio which is rear-wheel-drive of course. What it does mean,
this four-wheel-drive system, is that you’ve got loads of traction, so you just stand on
the throttle as soon as you’re past the apex and ping, off you go up the next straight
towards the next corner. Much like the Giulia Quadrifoglio, in the rear differential there
are a couple of clutch packs and that means this car’s got active torque vectoring across
the rear axle so it can send drive exactly where it’s needed to make this thing handle
and behave like a much more nimble, more athletic kind of car and there’s more as well, if
you lift up the bonnet you can have a look now, the engine is way back in the chassis,
that helps the weight distribution and stops it being really nose heavy. It may be a tall,
high riding car but they’ve really worked hard to overcome those fundamental issues.
Yeah, as far as high performance SUV drivetrains go, this is pretty faultless, I have to say.
This DNA dial here gives us lots of different drive modes so ‘a’ is effectively the
echo mode, ‘n’ is normal, ‘d’ is dynamic and then we’ve got race mode as well and
within race mode I can switch back to the softer dampers setting. That, in the Giulia,
is a brilliant, brilliant feature, it means you can use race mode on a bumpy road and
it works beautifully. As it happens, this road is beautifully smooth, it’s so smooth
you want to lick it, so I’m going to leave the dampers in the firm mode and that’s
where you get the most body control. Steering, it’s really direct so it’s a ratio of
12:1 and that for an SUV is really, really quick. It feels a lot like the Giulia which
also had super sharp, very direct steering, it actually makes it feel like a much lower
car, like a hot hatch, or a saloon or something. And it’s super precise, you can place the
car exactly where you want it. Again, as far as SUV steering goes, you can’t really fault
it. Really nice weight. Just slides a tiny bit but not properly, we can forgive it that,
I think. Front end, we’re on Pirelli PZero tyres here, they’re not super grippy tyres
at all and we’ve got good turning grip, good turn-in grip, it’s a sharp front end
but ultimately the cars balance is understeer, that’s what it does. When it runs out of
grip the front end will just wash wide, it just means that on a road like this, corner
after corner you place it right on the limit of front end grip and just drive through every
corner in gentle understeer. The front tyres just washing slightly. That might sound frustrating
but actually it’s not, it just means that you feel all the time, every corner like you’re
getting everything out of the car and that’s really satisfying, that’s really good fun.
I’m super impressed actually at how well controlled and how precise the car feels,
how sharp it feels given its weight, given the height of it, it really should be rolling
around like a whale but it’s not, it’s really, really sharp for this sort of car.
What else gets this close? Porsche Macan GTS, Macan Turbo, maybe. For the most part, these
cast iron brakes have held up really well today but we’ve had a quick blast from top
to bottom and I can start to smell them now and I can start to feel the pedal going a
little bit longer, we’re losing a little bit of braking performance, that’s to be
expected really, isn’t it? It’s a bloody fast car, it’s heavy and this is a quick
road with lots of big braking zones so inevitably they’re going to get hot. They haven’t
mentioned a price yet, apparently there won’t be a price for this car until July 2018, so
I’m going to have to record two pieces to camera now. And at £50,000 I think this car
represents really good value for money… But at £100,000, I just think this car’s
too expensive. This car’s cabin is sort of passable really, it’s unremarkable. I think if
you stepped out of a Porsche Macan and got into one of these you’d think it was just
a little bit low-rent. The same was true of the Giulia, it’s not a big problem though
and I’ve got these panels of carbon fibre, red stitching, so it looks pretty cool and
have a look at the back of these Sparco sports seats, carbon shells! Carbon shell seats in
an SUV, that’s a statement of intent. The seating position is really good, okay it’s
high because we’re in a high riding car but I actually feel like I’m sat quite low
in the body. Steering wheels right where I want it, good view out, it’s a really good
seating position this. So this test will be a little bit inconclusive because they’ve
clearly had to clamp this car down with chunky anti-roll bars and I haven’t been able,
today, to work out whether or not that’s ruined the ride quality. It might well be
that when you get on a really wavy, lumpy bumpy, tricky British B-road, the ride quality
is all over the place, we’ll have to wait until we get one in the UK to say for sure.
That is my only real reservation, otherwise I think this car is fantastic to drive for
an SUV, yes I would take the saloon, I also think the saloon looks a lot better than this
thing but if a really quick, really entertaining SUV is what you’re looking for, this is
the one, this is the one! Welcome back Alfa Romeo.

79 thoughts on “2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio – New 503bhp Hot SUV review | Autocar

  1. Hmm if this was a review of a German car and there was brake fade and understeer I think it wouldn’t be as forgiven. He seems to “forgive” a lot on this video – maybe because heart more than head.
    Was expecting a shot of him upside down in a ditch saying “well it rolled off the road but I guess you can forgive it that”.

  2. After owning two Alfa’s in the past – how can I forgive them for the pieces of shit that they sold me – I’m not leaving my Germans for now

  3. Great video, but quality, reliability and ownership proposition still uncertain. It's quite rare to get a frank assessment on this from media. If it's a good story, it'll help Alfa more than any number of beautifully shot videos, if it's bad, you've still got to tell it.

  4. Now a few 4WD systems using the Skyline style system, i.e. being rear driven normally then sending power to the front only when needed. It was always the right way to go and gives you the best of both worlds. it took many years but finally we've gone the right way with 4WD. BMW use it, Merc use it, and you've already read how good the M5 and E63 are. Well done Alfa, you're back to greatness. Stelvio and Giulia on my short list for sure.

  5. It’s bound to prove unreliable just like its saloon stablemate. The magazines have reported lots of unreliability so you have to ask, would you actually buy one with your own money? For me, no way. It’s nice to look at and fast. But that’s not the be all. I want interior quality, build quality and reliability and I have doubts that an Alfa can deliver on this if the reliability reports are to be believed.

  6. please plant some trees instead of spending on cars, if they sell 100 hyper cars in Dubai, they could fill Dubai with trees and plants

  7. Nice to see alfa making important cars again now. Now if ferrari would either sell masarati or atleast let them build some interesting cars again another iconic italian name could be unleashed again. Seeing this road used a lot lately by car people

  8. I struggle with this thing. It’s great on road, driving flat out, but if that’s what you want, why get an SUV? P-Zero tires will be useless as soon as there’s any precipitation on the ground. I know there’s the additional space it provides over a car, but personally, if I’m getting an SUV I need a little more utility. Maybe the answer is just putting some all weather tires on it.

  9. Lovely film. Nice to see alfa back. Now I just need them, to do a normal cheap car. A golf class car.
    For me, the Mecan is the one. I still don't trust Alfa Romeo.

  10. Jeep also claim to have the "world's fastest SUV' with their JGC Trackhawk. So does Lamborghini and Bentley. 1/4 & 1 mile Drag Race to settle it?
    Tesla's Model whatever doesn't count as it's actually an overpriced station wagon.

  11. Who buys an suv for handling? Why do all reviewers focus on the same tired arguments. Balance, poise (ffs), feel. If you buy this you just want a pokey family bus. End of review.

  12. Pity its an ugly Alfa, wouldn't touch one with a barge pole. BMW X5M on the other hand, beautiful car to drive, and I guess they're all trying to keep up lol, hahaha

  13. Bye Bye BMW…..Oh, by the way …less than brilliant 4 C ? You're kidding right ? Lightweight, Tossable, Fast, Visceral on every level….Oh yeah…not enough cupholders….IT SUCKS !!! Please..you're an auto enthusiast….Right ?

  14. FYI: About the price, on alfaromeo.it it starts at 95,000€ (around 83,800£) and if you add few things like carbon ceramic brakes (7,500€), Sparco seats with carbon fiber on the back (4,000€) and redyellow brake calipers (500€)… well you do the math 🙂

  15. Buy the giulia. I've driven both. The giulia is the more pure experience. Unless you have to have the additional cargo space.

  16. Hi Dan, that's a great review! Anyway, I'd like to point out a few things I disagree on:
    – the Alfa 4C is actually a formidable car destined to perform well on the track. No wonder it is "less than brilliant" on the road. Later this year however, it is gonna get an upgrade, mostly focusing on the steering and suspension to make it more comfortable on the road,
    – the Stevio is in fact one of the lightest cars in its class (dimensions and engine wise),
    – the Giulia Quadrifoglio behaves quite well on bumpy roads, I reckon we can expect the same or even better from the Stelvio.

    Looking forward for a great future of the brand!

  17. I realy love this New model! The New Mazda stelvio!!! The japanese realy make Nice cars for old people!

    Oooh shit it’s an alfa…. realy??? Or is it a Mazda ?
    Welcome back fiat! Alfa sold her soul to fiat! The last real alfa was the 75. This is a fiat with a Ferarri engine. That looks like a Mazda

  18. Mirror smooth roads, yet look at him jiggling about and bouncing up and down in his seat, that would irritate the hell out of me, especially for that money

  19. Nice road, shit country, in a shit part of the world…scenery reminiscent of post nuclear apocalyptic wasteland.

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