Few still dispute whether or not the Stelvio is currently Alfa Romeo's most important weapon in their newly formed arsenal against the established premium marques. Sure, the Giulia laid the groundwork for a steady rise back to prominence and prestige, but the success of the Stelvio is what the company’s fortunes hinge on.
It’s off to a very good start in most, if not all, the markets that it has been introduced in. Australians have been warm in their reception of the reformed Alfa Romeo line-up as well as the sporty but practical Stelvio. Yet the fiery Quadrifoglio version had been held back from its initial local launch earlier this year. No longer.
Starting in middle January 2019, Alfa’s super SUV will make landfall for $149,000, excluding on-road costs. Featuring the same Ferrari-built 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 as the Giulia QV, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio boasts the same 375kW and 600Nm output, mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.
“We are excited to offer the hotly anticipated all-new Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV at such a competitive price and look forward to attracting new fans to the brand in search of a practical SUV without comprising on performance and driving excitement,” Alfa Romeo Australia CEO Steve Zanlunghi said.
Globally, the performance SUV arms race has been heating up for some time now, but now that the Italians have joined the skirmish Down Under, a few hurdles lie in the Alfa’s path from the get go. Landing at a tick under $150k, the Stelvio Q is priced dearer than the equivalent Mercedes-AMG, the GLC 63 S. The V8-powered German matches its firepower in kW, but outguns the Alfa for torque by 100Nm.
Next up, also from Germany, there’s Porsche Macan Turbo, an established industry benchmark which slots in at roughly $16k less. It’s 3.6-litre bi-turbo V6 is less potent than the Stelvio, but the sum of its engineering makes it every bit its equal. And finally we have the Jaguar F-Pace S and the soon to be revealed BMW X3 M, both with turbocharged six-cylinder motors and a stronger pedigree in this space.
Thanks to the added grip from its Q4 all-wheel drive system with Active Torque Vectoring, Stelvio Quadrifoglio is capable of running the 100km/h sprint in just 3.8 seconds and will keep going to a top speed of 283km/h, no doubt helping it earn the title of fastest production SUV to lap the Nurburgring with a time of 7 minutes 51.7 seconds.