2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, November 16, 2016
- New performance-oriented SUV
- Seating for five people in a midsize package
- Stelvio, Stelvio Ti, and Stelvio Quadrifoglio model series
- Turbocharged 4-cylinder or twin-turbocharged V6 engine
- 8-speed automatic transmission and standard Q4 all-wheel drive
- Built in Italy, on sale in 2017
Following a long absence from the U.S. market followed by a lengthy gestation period after it announced a return to America, the Alfa Romeo product pipeline opens wider and flows faster with the introduction of the new 2018 Stelvio midsize luxury SUV.
Claiming it is “uniquely engineered to challenge 2-door sports cars on the track without sacrificing the characteristics…of a premium SUV,” Alfa Romeo has named the Stelvio for the one of the world’s great driving roads, the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps. The Stelvio will be built in Italy, too, in the automaker’s Cassino plant in Frosinone.
Equipped with seating for up to five people, and built on the same platform as the recently introduced Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan, the Stelvio will be offered in standard, Stelvio Ti, and Stelvio Quadrifoglio model series when it goes on sale next year.
Styling alone should sell the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio. It looks terrific, and thanks to that grille it also looks like nothing else on the road.
Official photography depicts the racy Stelvio Quadrifoglio, complete with its four-leaf clover insignias on the fenders, signature aluminum wheel design, red-painted front brake calipers, and quad-outlet exhaust.
In total, Alfa Romeo will offer the Stelvio in 13 different paint colors combined with seven different wheel designs, ranging in size from 18 inches to 21 inches in diameter.
Every new Stelvio will have a Formula One racing-inspired, flat-bottom steering wheel with an integrated engine start button, leather seating, and more. Standard versions also get a 6.6-inch infotainment display with smartphone projection, while the Stelvio Ti is equipped with real wood interior trim and a bigger 8.8-inch infotainment system display with handwriting recognition capability and 3-D graphics.
Step up to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio for 12-way power adjustable performance seats wrapped in leather and Alcantara. These versions also get a unique steering wheel, a leather-wrapped dashboard, and carbon fiber interior trim.
Alfa Romeo has not clearly defined the Stelvio’s standard and optional equipment levels. The company confirms that the Ti model series will offer Sport and Lusso trim packages, and that Quadrifoglio buyers can upgrade to lightweight Sparco racing seats constructed around a carbon fiber shell.
Additional extras include a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon premium surround sound system with 900 watts of power, and a panoramic sunroof.
Under the Hood:
Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models are equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 280 horsepower. Torque measures 306 pound-feet, and peaks from 2,250 rpm to 4,500 rpm. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, equipped with slender aluminum paddle shifters mounted to the steering column, and a carbon-fiber driveshaft feeds the power to all four wheels through a standard Q4 all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 60 percent of power output to the SUV’s front wheels.
Stelvio Quadrifoglio versions thunder down the road with a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine cranking out 505 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque between 2,500 rpm and 5,500 rpm. This version accelerates to 60 mph in a scant 3.9 seconds, according to Alfa Romeo, and can attain a top speed of 177 mph. Quadrifoglio models also include a cylinder deactivation system to help maximize fuel economy under appropriate driving conditions.
All Stelvios are engineered to provide as close to perfect weight distribution as is possible. Extensive use of aluminum for suspension components assists in this effort, and the Stelvio uses an exclusive double-wishbone front suspension design with a semi-virtual steering axis that Alfa explains will provide the “most direct steering ratio in the segment.”
An adaptive suspension is an option for the Stelvio Ti and a performance-tuned version of it comes standard on Quadriofoglio. The top-of-the-line version also gets a torque vectoring differential and performance brakes, and can be optioned with Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes. A rear mechanical limited slip differential is also available.
Engineered to modern crash-safety standards, the Stelvio should perform well against modern testing procedures. Of course, official results are not yet available.
As far as driver assistance and safety technologies are concerned, Alfa Romeo has confirmed that a reversing camera is standard, and that the Stelvio will also offer forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, a lane departure warning system, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.
Adaptive cruise control with full-stop capability will also be available for the Stelvio, though Alfa Romeo does not specifically state that the system will also accelerate the SUV when traffic starts to move.
A power rear liftgate will be installed for all Stelvio models, and the infotainment systems are sure to provide the latest features and services that will be offered by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles when this new Alfa Romeo goes on sale.