Seems like someone at Alfa Romeo has been taking serious hallucinogens again, because Alfa went and made a Quadrifoglio version of their all-new 2018 Stelvio SUV. Sure, other car companies have done this: AMG Merc G-Classes and seriously hopped up Porsche Cayannes and that sort of thing – but this is Italian levels of crazy. Remember, the Germans invented the pipe organ. Italians invented opera.
To Italians, everything is a big deal. You miss’a da’bus? Una catastrofe! Girlfriend dumped you? Una catastrofe! The pope dies? Una catastrofe! Ferrari comes in second? Una catastrofe! So when an Italian car company, Alfa, in this case, gets into the SUV game, and various people (e.g. Germans) start making go-fast versions? Una catastrofe! The only “reasonable” and “sane” response is to not only make your own SUV, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, but then you’ve got to do something like drop in 75 percent of the engine from a Ferrari 488 GTB and say, “stai ben’!”
Speed Fixes Everything
Is the all-new 2018 Stelvio Quadrifoglio practical? Can it ford deep streams? Drive up snow-covered mountain slopes with ease? Reliable? Who cares! For everyone of you that say stuff like that is important in an SUV, I have the following rebuttals: 505 horsepower, zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds, and a top speed of 176 mph. Sure, sure, yap all you want about “Ford Expedition” this “German build quality of the Cayenne” that, I’ll be taking the Stelvio Quadrifoglio for a little jaunt around the Nürburgring. Where, in case you didn’t see this one coming, the SQ lapped the place in a record 7 minutes 51.7 seconds. Yes, that’s the fastest time ever posted by a production SUV, and yes, that makes the Stelvio Quadrifoglio the fastest production SUV in the world.
Power & Performance
As I mentioned, the SQ will be motivated down La Strada via an all-aluminum, 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, generating 505 horsepower. In addition to all that horsepower, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio engine cranks out 443 lb-ft. of torque. Said mill is direct-injected, and was designed to heighten the lightweight architecture of the SUV. It features a compact, 90-degree layout to drop the center of gravity seemingly four feet under your seat. The engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which makes sense, because adding a full-on Ferrari double clutch semi-auto box would have tripled the price.
And from there on out, things on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio just seem to get more and more radical. The Quadrifoglio features a class-exclusive carbon fiber driveshaft. A carbon fiber driveshaft?! In a “truck?” Voi gente di Milano siete un mucchio di torte alla frutta! That composite driveshaft is hooked up to a torque vectoring differential (a piece of kit right out of Ferrari’s Grand Prix shop), controlled by a four-mode Alfa DNA Pro selector, complete with a Race mode. There is a Quadrifoglio-tuned adaptive suspension system to compliment the steering which Alfa describes as “direct.”
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio also comes with 20-inch aluminum wheels with immense 6-piston Brembo front brakes. There are aggressively bolstered Alcantara leather seats (14-way power front and 4-way lumbar adjustments), leather-wrapped dash and doors with accent stitching, and genuine carbon fiber adorning the interior. You will also find a specific Quadrifoglio instrument cluster with a 200-mph speedometer (risate maniacali) and a cylinder deactivation system to maximize fuel efficiency.
And the finishing touch (Italians always have that nice finishing touch) is the hand-painted Quadrifoglio badge. Said badge is symbolic of Alfa Romeo race cars and high-performance production vehicles.
Pricing & Manufacturing
The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is manufactured at the Alfa Romeo plant in Cassino, Italy (yes, that Cassino) and lists for a not all that unreasonable $79,995. No, that’s not cheap. Indeed, that is the most expensive Alfa you can currently buy. But it is right in line for what other (and let’s just say it: lesser) higher performance SUVs go for.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.