Last year, Alfa Romeo dealers sold 516 cars in the U.S., 143 fewer than in 2015. Through May this year, 2,702 have found homes, thanks to the Giulia sedan. Alfa could sell way more now that it has its very own SUV. That would be the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio, named after the harrowing, 48-corner mountain pass in the Italian Alps.
Alfa’s newest SUV made its world debut at last fall’s LA show. Wearing a $41,995 base sticker, the Stelvio rides on FCA’s rear-drive Giorgio platform, which is also what the Giulia uses. They have the same wheelbase, while the SUV is 2 inches longer overall and 8.9 inches taller. The Stelvio is built alongside the sedan at FCA’s plant in Cassino, Italy.
Under the hood
Two engines are available: a 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo-four (280 hp/306 lb-ft) in base, Sport and Ti models, with the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 (505 hp/443 lb-ft) coming early 2018 under the Quadrifoglio’s hood. Let’s not forget this engine’s bloodline: It’s the twin-turbo V8 in Ferrari’s GTC4Lusso T, 488 and California T, minus two cylinders. Alfa says it’s good for a 3.9-second 0-60 mph time and also has cylinder deactivation.
Regardless of engine choice, weight savings is key: The Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s front and rear subframes, suspension pieces (control arms front, multilink rear), fenders and doors are all aluminum while the rear cross-member contains composite plastics.
Handling the power is an all-wheel-drive system able to transfer up to 60% of torque frontward if needed; otherwise, it’s 100% rear-wheel based. It works with what Alfa calls the Chassis Domain Controller and DNA drive-mode system. Like in the Giulia, the drive-mode system has dynamic, natural and advanced efficiency modes, adjusting accordingly the turbo-boost pressure, throttle response and (on the Ti and Quadrifoglio) suspension settings.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio options
The base car’s equipment includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, chrome exhaust tips, LED lamps front and rear, 7-inch TFT display, eight-speaker stereo, backup camera and more. Sport upgrades include 19-inch wheels, aluminum interior trim, and a beefier suspension. Ti adds heated seats and steering wheel plus an 8.8-inch screen while the Ti Sport gets 20-inch wheels, 12-way power seats and the Ti Lusso has wood interior trim.
The Stelvio looks like a taller Giulia, which is a good thing. Check out the body-side crease and the hood and grille, the short overhangs and coupe-ish roofline, all of which look great. The well-built interior also looks familiar if you’ve been in a Giulia. The Stelvio’s is stylish, with a large tach and speedometer front and center, starter button mounted on the steering wheel and snug, comfy buckets.