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Car Review

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review

£84,535
710
Published: 13 Mar 2024
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

We were fond of the Stelvio QF’s brilliantly balanced road manners when we first met it back in 2016, and little has changed. In the car, and in our estimations of it. It confidently demonstrates that out-and-out power is futile, and ultimate suspension stiffness is a literal pain in the backside. What you want is useable power, an engaging set-up, and road-friendly suppleness.

That said, the hot Stelvio isn’t perfect. Even with the ‘bumpy road mode’ damper button prodded, you really notice extra bubbliness in the ride compared to its beautifully damped Giulia cousin – the price you pay for a smidge of extra ride height is your head bobbling around like one of those novelty figurines found in the back window of a holiday taxi. Be absolutely sure you need the extra rear seat space offered by the Stelvio before you spend £8k upsizing from the slinky saloon.

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It's a pointy, agile car though, which feels gratifyingly lighter than its immediate German rivals. Which, at 1,850kg, it is. On a back road, or a track, the poised handling is a match for any of them. Even for the most ardent anti-SUV atheist, it’s difficult to argue with the Stelvio’s entertainment factor.

Is it fast?

Fast enough: there’s a hiccup of turbo lag but then the V6 pulls strongly from 2,500rpm accompanied by a noise that sounds more authentic – and less augmented – than any of its rivals. You can up the ante with the optional Akrapovic exhaust and its carbon-sleeved pipes, but it’s hardly a must-have option.

What about modes?

As you were: Race uncorks the noisiest noise and angriest throttle map, but at the expensive of all traction and stability control. Even with AWD underneath you, it’s not something we’d condone triggering on your favourite commute roundabout. D for Dynamic is exciting enough. Neutral and Advanced purport to pacify the Stelvio’s arm-waving exuberance and increase its efficiency, but it’s a bit like a pineapple pizza – you get the sense the Italians would really rather you didn’t bother.

What about the everyday stuff?

The eight-speed gearbox is polite in traffic, though the mapping occasionally gets confused if you’ve been bumbling around slowly for a few minutes then catch the car napping by clogging the throttle – like you would passing a national speed limit sign after quitting a sleepy village, for example. The brakes don’t wilt in regular road use and even stand up well to track abuse, though the hazard-flash strobing under even moderate braking is a Stellantis group carryover from a learner-spec Fiat 500 we’d gladly do without in what’s supposed to be a motorsport-inspired performance pedigree.

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