2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio —Adding a race mode and 505 horsepower

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(November 28, 2016) Alfa Romeo’s new Stelvio is a high-performance crossover focused more on-road performance than off-road capability; kicking to the curb the notion that vehicles like this are something more than easy entry, high-riding station wagons.

Built on the platform used to make the Giulia sedan, and assembled in Alfa’s Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy, the Stelvio comes in three trim levels, Stelvio, Stelvio Ti and Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

The first two are powered by Alfa’s 2.0-liter inline four, which produces a stout 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque and is enough to push the mid-size crossover to a top speed of 144 mph. The Quadrifoglio, like its Giulia namesake, dumps this engine and replaces it with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces 505 hp and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s enough to propel the SUV from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 177 mph. (Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.)

Its unique abilities add a fourth mode to Alfa’s DNA (Dynamic, Natural, Advanced efficiency) drive selector: Race. Yep, just what you need for those snowy mornings as you traverse boulders, rocks and open plains in your SUV. Especially when you increase its off-road capability by ordering the optional carbon fiber Sparco racing seats and carbon ceramic brakes.

Sarcasm aside, the Stelvio’s Q4 all-wheel drive system can transfer up to 60% of the engine’s torque to the front axle, and is linked to he DNA system and chassis computer to adapt power and torque output to the conditions on the ground in real time. Order the Performance Package, and a mechanical limited-slip rear differential is added to improve rear wheel traction. And, on the Quadrifoglio, the rear differential vectors torque from side-to-side via twin clutch packs to deliver maximum lateral acceleration, traction and control.

Like the Giulia, the Stelvio has 50/50 weight distribution, class-leading torsional rigidity, and uses aluminum in the front and rear subframes, front shock towers, suspension, doors, fenders, rear crossmember, and brake calipers. The dual wishbone front suspension has a semi-virtual steering axis and quick steering ratio, while the rear suspension is a “vertical rod” multi-link design. Four-channel damping control is standard on the Quadrifoglio and optional on the Ti.

Available safety features include:

    Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus.
    Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop.
    Lane Departure Warning.
    Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection.
    Front and rear parking sensors.

More important to the fashionistas who will gravitate toward the Stelvio’s new kid on the block freshness are the 13 exterior color choices, seven wheel choices in sizes from 18 to 21 inches, and what Alfa Romeo describes as “almost endless selection of interior color and trim choices.” Stir in Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a 900-watt, 12-channel, 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and you have a vehicle that crosses over from sport to luxury. Prices will be set closer to the Stelvio’s 2017 launch.

The Virtual Driver