If you’re currently dreaming of putting Ferrari’s yet to be released Purosangue SUV in your garage, but are pretty sure you can’t actually afford it, for a fraction of the price, you can own and drive the next best thing; the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.
Starting at $147,950 excluding on-road costs and optional extras, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio or “QF”, is Alfa Romeo’s high performance, all-wheel drive midsize SUV, taking on the likes of the Porsche Macan Turbo and the Mercedes GLC 63 S.
And just to bring the connection to the prancing horse together, Alfa Romeo commissioned the help of Ferrari’s engineers in the design of the Stelvio’s engine and chassis. The result is a monstrous yet beautiful SUV with a rigid track-ready chassis.
To drive it is a life changing experience. That’s mostly because an SUV, regardless of size or shape, should not be able to do the things the Stelvio Quadrifoglio can do. More on that in a moment.
Our tester came in the metallic Trofeo White, it’s body rotund yet aggressive. The front is long and sharp, this flows all the way down the side of the Stelvio to the super aggressive rear end, which sports a quad tip exhaust.
The 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 power plant is, as previously mentioned, a Ferrari Portofino V8 with two less cylinders, and an absolute monster in its own right. This outputs 375kW of power, along with 600Nm of torque, to all four wheels.
For those who are strangers to high-powered vehicles, when depressing the throttle, you’ll be shot forward, hitting 100km/h in just a touch under 4.0 seconds, your inhibitions and sanity left a few hundred metres behind you.
You’ll also be leaving a sensible fuel economy figure in the dust because the Quadrifoglio just loves to drink fuel, and lots of it too. Alfa Romeo claims a combined economy of 10.2-litres/100km (or 620km from the 64-litre fuel tank). Good luck with that.
The lowest figure we saw during our week with the QF was 14.6-ltires/100km, and hit peaks of 19.3-litres/100km on shorter trips. So at best, we’d be refuelling every 430km. Keep this in mind when planning out your budget for this thirsty SUV.
The drivetrain in the Stelvio QF is flawless, and the 8-speed automatic shifts fast and smooth. There’s no rev hang while power and torque are delivered, and the engine sounds so very good. It’s as close as you’ll get to a supercar without the usual price tag.
It’s an astounding package, jammed into what a young mother of two might take grocery shopping, or use for picking up the kids from school. A truly magnificent experience to drive, once you take a seat in the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, it’s difficult to leave.
The power delivery is unrivalled and its handling capabilities are outside the realm of the SUV norm. This paired with the use of ultra light materials during assembly make the Stelvio QF only a bit over 200kg heavier than the Giulia QF sedan.
Around corners, the Stelvio is planted and there is minimal body roll, especially in Race or Sport modes. Even in Normal and Adaptive mode, it handles more like a race car than an SUV. Alfa’s Q4 all-wheel drive system is also excellent.
There’s no understeer when you mix a large amount of throttle and high cornering speed, and its chassis dynamics control system, which pairs to the DNA drive mode setup, provides a refined and well-tuned driving experience.
The optional 21-inch wheels on our tester were wrapped in Pirelli P Zeros, basically a road-going race tyre. Behind the large wheels are huge drilled brake rotors accompanied by massive red callipers to provide the anchors necessary to bring this beast to a standstill.
The pedal however is a touch stiff and sensitive up top so you’ll need to put your back into stopping the car. It will take some getting used to. In the suspension setup, lies one of the Stelvio’s greatest weaknesses, its overly harsh ride quality.
Yes, it has electronic damper control so you can soften the ride comfort at the touch of a button, but even at the softest setting, it’s still firm, and uncharacteristic of your usual SUV. If you off-road it, you’ll want to take it slowly so as to not risk damaging your spine.
With that said, it’s not completely unforgiving and there are upsides to having a firm ride in an SUV. You could always take it to the track, it was after all designed for it.
The interior is clad in a combination of leather and carbon fibre, sealed with Alfa’s signature white and green stitching. It oozes comfort, luxury and performance in one package. The d-shaped sports steering wheel with a start button makes it more racer than family mover.
The front seats are mildly bucketed and heated, maximising sportiness and comfort. The instrument cluster is only partially digital but provides basic yet easy to read information at the touch of a button.
The Stelvio’s central infotainment unit consists of a fairly small 8.8-inch touchscreen embedded in the dashboard’s leather and carbon. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included, as well as an independent satellite navigation system, which works quite well.
Car controls, along with Alfa Romeo’s “Performance Pages”, which contain more readings and gauges for the enthusiast, can also be accessed here too. There’s a rotary dial on the centre console too, if you have a phobia for fingerprints on touchscreens.
The dual zone climate system works well and is easy to control for the front row, but the second row only has access to two vents, without independent controls. There’s plenty of legroom back there, but headroom can be a bit of a problem due to the sloping roofline.
It’d be a big call to squeeze three adults back there too, but there’s ample room for infants and toddlers. We were able to place a rear-facing infant seat without compromising the front passenger seating position.
Three top-tether mounts and two ISOFIX mounts on the outboard seats are offered, and bot space is a reasonable 525-litres. That’s plenty of room to lug around a bulky stroller, some bags and shopping.
The tailgate is electronic, making it super convenient when you’re lugging goods or have your hands full with a wailing child. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s standard safety tech includes forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking.
There’s also blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and a plethora of other stuff. It doesn’t, however, have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. Its 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel siblings do though, but they don’t have Race mode, which opts you out of a few bits of safety tech.
Alfa Romeo offers a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is capped price. Overall, it’s a fantastic driver’s car, and if you’re looking for an SUV that has a specific focus on performance, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is for you.
It is the perfect blend of performance, practicality, aesthetics and European luxury in a refined SUV package. You can find out more on the Alfa Romeo Australia website.
Our 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio was supplied by Alfa Romeo Australia. To find out more, contact your local Alfa Romeo dealer. Pictures courtesy of Brakefast Media.