It was off to Dubai for the last new model launch trip of 2017. The mission: tackle the renowned Jebel Jais Road in the Al Wadi Desert in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. And this is what this seriously stylish and fast SUV was all about.
This new model with its many class-topping features immediately becomes the new benchmark in the premium compact SUV segment.
With its awe-inspiring design, performance and technology, it is the “fastest SUV around the circuit”, having clocked the new record for its class on the iconic Nürburgring: 7 minutes 51.7 seconds.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is equipped with the exclusive aluminium 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine, developed with inputs from Ferrari technologies and engineering know-how, which delivers a maximum power of 375 kW at 6 500 rpm and generates a maximum torque of 600 Nm from 2 500 to 5 000 rpm.
This power plant is teamed with the specifically calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission that allows gear shifts in just 150 milliseconds in Race driving mode.
Moreover, to maximise the driving experience, the model is equipped as standard with one-piece aluminium paddle shifters integral with the steering column. Its performance is outstanding with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h claimed to just be 3.8 seconds and best-in-class top speed of 283 km/h.
But the Alfa Romeo sports SUV is also incredibly efficient in terms of emission and fuel consumption, thanks to its electronically controlled cylinder deactivation system and the “sailing” function, available in Advanced Efficiency driving mode.
For the first time, the 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine is combined with the innovative Q4 all-wheel drive system with its guarantees of unbeatable performance, traction, driving pleasure and safety in all situations.
In normal conditions, the Q4 system transfers 100 percent of the torque to the rear axle. As the wheels approach their grip limit, the system transmits up to 50 percent of the torque to the front axle in real time, by means of an active transfer case.
In particular, the Q4 system architecture includes an active transfer case and front differential designed to meet the specific technical requirements of Alfa Romeo, entailing the rapid-response management of high torque levels, with a compact, lightweight set-up.
The active transfer case makes use of advanced active clutch technology to deliver an outstandingly dynamic ride combined with good fuel economy. The Next-Gen integrated actuator delivers high response speed and precise torque distribution in line with the selected Alfa DNA Pro drive mode setting.
The Q4 system continuously monitors numerous parameters to optimise torque distribution between the two axles according to what the car is doing and how much grip there is beneath the wheels.
This technology can predict imminent loss of grip by processing the data it receives from the lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering-wheel angle and yaw sensors. What’s more, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is equipped with the exclusive Alfa TM Chassis Domain Control unit and is the only SUV in its class to provide differential Alfa TM Active Torque Vectoring as standard.
In keeping with Alfa Romeo’s technical traditions, electronic assistance must never be intrusive, but merely facilitate the driving experience.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio confirms this philosophy: it is structurally unique, but still offers numerous sophisticated systems to make the driving experience – already assured by the car’s underlying technical excellence – even more thrilling. Also, standard is the innovative Alfa TM Active Suspension, the system that continually, actively controls the suspensions and shock absorbers.
Not to mention that the SUV guarantees impeccable handing and comfort thanks to its suspension layout, with the exclusive AlfaLink TM technology: up front it has a double wishbone system with semi-virtual steering axis, with a four-and-ahalf link Multilink system at the rear.
In any situation and at all speeds, driving the Quadrifoglio SUV, with the most direct steering ratio on the market (12.1:1), is natural and instinctive.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio holds two best-in-class titles which make it the highest-performing SUV in its segment: with a kerb weight of 1 830 kg, the model boasts the best weight/power ratio in its category at 3.6 kg/HP and the best specific power at 176 HP/l.
These amazing results, synonymous with great pleasure at the wheel, were achieved through perfect weight distribution between the two axles and the use of ultra-lightweight materials such as carbon fibre for the driveshaft and aluminium for the engine, suspension, brakes, doors, wheel-arches, bonnet and tailgate.
Another special feature of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the innovative electromechanical Integrated Brake System (IBS) – an Alfa Romeo brand exclusive, which first appeared on the Giulia – which has become the new benchmark in terms of both swift response and stopping distance, on any road surface, and weight reduction compared to a conventional braking system.
High-performance carbon-ceramic discs will also be available as an optional after the launch.
Extreme performance and leading-edge technology are unmistakably conveyed by the unique style of Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the finest expression of Italian design, interpreted with Alfa Romeo’s unique flair and the perfect synergy of form and function, in a sensual, muscular car body.
The model’s distinctive characteristics include the bonnet with structural vents, the sporty sideskirt, the massive wheel arches and four exhaust tips. The same sporty imprint is found in the interior, with painstaking craftsmanship and premium materials: carbon fibre, leather and alcantara.
And the centre of the dashboard is dominated by the new AlfaTMConnect 3D NAV 8.8-inch infotainment system. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio cockpit is simple and tasteful, forged around the driver.
The controls are grouped together on the steering wheel, which is small and direct to suit all driving styles. The diagonal tunnel and slightly undulating dashboard converge on the driving seat, “tailored” like a bespoke suit, with painstaking craftsmanship and with lavish use of carbon fibre on the console, tunnel, dashboard trim, handle inserts and steering wheel rim.
The black seats, in leather and alcantara, are specific to the model and are more strongly shaped for more support when cornering. The system offers Apple CarPlay, the smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car.
Android AutoTM is also compatible with the new infotainment system, bringing the best of Google into the SUV. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio will launch in South Africa around the middle of 2018, and pricing will be announced closer to the time.