The exhaust notes from the Stelvio are beautifully tuned with natural pops and bangs.
Stereotypes are generally shunned in modern societies, however there are some you can’t help but agree with. The 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a masterpiece from a storied Italian brand. It’s a brand steeped in rich history of racing and known for their beautiful designs. Once you see and drive the Stelvio, you can feel the car is proud of where it comes from. Italians are fashion forward, tasteful in design and love to look good in all occasions. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio feels like a living embodiment of this stereotype.
The signature V Scudetto grille is the beginning of the swooping lines from front to rear. The curves and arches accentuate all the right parts, subtly muscular without being over the top. A Carbon Package adds race inspired details such as carbon mirror caps and the previously mentioned grille. The wheel arches have fender extensions that widen the stance and enable the body to house the 10-inch wide rear wheels. The rear bumper is sculpted with integrated openings for quad exhaust tips.
The interior design of the Stelvio is as lovely as you would expect. Red and black contrast is the theme of the cockpit. Luscious leather is used on the top dash and door panels with red stitching for a sporty and luxurious appeal. The seats are aggressively bolstered for excellent support while retaining daily comfort. Alcantara inlays add grip to the seating surfaces to help hold you in place while pulling high g-forces. Real Carbon fiber inserts are found on the doors, dash and center console adding the race inspired effect.
The Stelvio’s Carbon Package also adds a carbon fiber steering wheel. Behind the wheel are the gigantic column-mounted shift paddles, setting the Quadrifoglio apart from its competition as an exotic SUV. As exotic the Stelvio may look, it is still a crossover and it benefits by retaining ample legroom and cargo space for it to be a very daily friendly vehicle. Despite it being beautiful in design, the Stelvio does feel a bit dated especially compared to other in the price bracket it competes in.
Interior technology is a pain point in the Stelvio. The infotainment has all the functions you need such as navigation, satellite radio and smartphone integration, but its painfully slow with plenty of lag after all user inputs. The 8.8-inch display is vibrant with decent graphics, but it’s not quite acceptable for the price point of the Stelvio. The gauges are still analog surprisingly, with a LCD screen in between. The lack of a fully digital and customizable gauge cluster further dates the Stelvio.
However, all the shortcomings of the interior are temporarily forgotten when you turn the DNA drive mode selector to Dynamic. The throttle sharpens further and the exhaust valves are opened so the Stelvio’s glory can be heard and felt. The Quadrifoglio is sharp as a scalpel and carves up all the twisties you can throw at it. The 12:1 direct steering ratio makes the it very responsive with ultra quick steering.
Alfa Romeo’s Q4 all wheel drive vectors torque depending on conditions, maximizing grip in all situations whether it be rain, snow or gravel. Active suspension is designed to make the Stelvio livable while being superbly agile. The 50/50 weight distribution allows the Stelvio to handle like a hot hatch at heart, just with additional ride height.
Power from the 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine is intoxicating. It produces 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque propelling the Stelvio to its top speed of 285 km/h. Acceleration from 0-97km is attained in just 3.6 seconds, through a snappy eight-speed automatic transmission calibrated for lightning quick shifts with aggression. Using the large paddles is extremely satisfying and elevates the shifting experience into supercar territory.
The exhaust notes from the Stelvio are beautifully tuned with natural pops and bangs. The carbon driveshafts not only help with weight distribution but also enhance the engine response. The crackle and snap from upshifts is an incredibly addictive sound and also elevates the driving experience into supercar territory. Despite it being a daily-able crossover, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio doesn’t hide the fact that it’s all about style and the experience.
All the performance means nothing if it can’t be used with confidence. Luckily the Stelvio does not skimp out on safety. An active driver assistance package is standard fare, and includes everything from active lane assist, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, and more. This package allows drivers to enjoy the Stelvio’s performance with peace of mind.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is just excellent, but as expected from a 505-hp crossover, it’s not cheap with a starting price of $98,440. Our tester came to $104,000, and key competition comes from the Porsche Macan Turbo and the Jaguar F-Pace SVR. At $96,500 the Porsche Macan Turbo is the one to get, but Porsche is known for its expensive option catalogue. The Stelvio is a lot more fun but less comfort-oriented and far quirkier, when compared to its rivals.
After driving the 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio it’s obvious that Alfa builds from the heart to enhance the driving experience and theatrics. I love the Stelvio for being the way that it is, and having character. However at over $100,000 as tested, the interior tech and design is a hard pill to swallow. This is a crossover for those who appreciate the driving experience above all else, and I am one of those people for sure.