As 2021 moves on, more and more interesting stuff is planned. And the more content will be created. I'm proudly announcing my collaboration with Alfa Romeo Switzerland in case you haven't noticed yet on Instagram. I'm very happy and thankful for these opportunities so head over to their Instagram and give them a follow: @alfaromeo_switzerland
They kindly handed me over the keys to the 2020 facelifted Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio painted in the optional outstandingly beautiful "Rosso Competizione".
location: Thusis - Bergün, GR (Switzerland)
I had the chance to test drive the Stelvio for slightly over a week to learn a lot about it. One of the first things I noticed was the sheer size of it. I'm 1.72m tall. Well, not that tall actually... and I had some small issues to estimate the car's size because I couldn't even see the hood properly. I never needed so much different seating positions to find my own preferred one. Something I haven't experienced in any other car before. But no worries, you definitely get used to it. And when you hit the right spot you feel 100% connected to the car. It gets very addictive and makes you think about where to head next.
This is where is's all at! "La Meccanica Delle Emozioni" isn't just a marketing gag. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio proves true sportiness combined with an embarrassingly but addictively loud Akrapovic exhaust system in "Race" mode beside very comfortable motorway cruising in "normal" mode. Although the car is meant to be a sporty SUV with daily based usability. It is able to fulfill the demands. I just was a bit disappointed about the boot space. It's alright, but nothing very mentionable. But let's get back to driving.
Direct steering, great agility and maybe slightly too much power smash you around the corners. The whole concept even convinced me with winter tires. The breaks are pretty scathing and work quite well. The whole handling surprised me. The car is a true alternative to the german competitors like Audi ABT SQ5, BMW X3M or Mercedes GLC63 AMG. And even cheaper!
It comes with a 2.9 liter V6 producing 510PS (375kW) which push the car on all four wheels towards the next corner. The steering wheel feels great. And so do the shifting pedals. Just a great experience.
There's only one tipp I'd like to give any Stelvio drivers: Turn off all the electronic systems like the lane assist and traffic sign recognition. They don't work 100% flawlessly. Once on the motorway i was cruising at the allowed 120km/h with cruise control on and the car recognized the road sing "max. 60" belonging to an exit lane. The car instantly braked hard to get down to the 60km/h speed. On the motorway! I was kinda shocked. Turned off the cruise control as fast as possible to get back up at 120 because it was rather heavy traffic. Bit disappointing to be honest. It only happened once. And then there're these huge, yes, pretty huge side mirrors which highly affect the visibility at road crossings. Especially when you want to turn and change directions.
Otherwise I absolutely loved motorway cruising.
location: Schwägalp-Pass, SG (Switzerland)
Loads of non-car-guys complain about that cars tend to look more similar as time goes on. Well in fact, this isn't 100% in my own opinion. Alfa always proofed that they can be different. Some major differences are the ronal inspired wheels and the triangle grill in the front with the resulting asymmetric numberplate placement which I quite like. Interesting for me are the shapes Alfa brought out with the sportiest Stelvio variant. They sticked to organic and flowing lines instead of bringing out a sharp-edged bodywork like really anyone else does to give the to-of-the-line cars an extra special and aggressive look. And it truly works on the Alfa Romeo, doesn't it? Pretty refreshing!
Even though the car is an SUV it could sit a lot lower. Look at the photo above. I think the stance could be a lot better because most of the Stelvios probably never see any gravel underneath. As a side effect the center of gravity comes closer to the ground which leads to an even better handling.
Or maybe they just wanted to give us some tuning potential. Who knows. Well, I wouldn't actually change anything despite trying to get the car lower.
And on top there're a few small details to pay attention to like the four-leafed clover badge on the sides, the black trim on the logos or the gills on the hood which give the Quadrifoglio it's extra sharpness.
Place to be
I actually really enjoyed driving the Stelvio in the various driving modes. Both "normal" for urban driving and "race" mode in the countryside with manual shifting were my most chosen options.
I always felt great in the optional Sparco carbon bucket seats which cost 6'000CHF on top! At least there're super comfortable and look insanely good. Plus they need less space. So you have some additional leg space in the back. The dashboard has a historical background which i highly appreciate. Actually the whole interior has a better quality than I would have ever imagined. Hats off, loads of nice materials and great attention to details. Only the rear view mirror felt extremely cheap and looks like coming out of 2005. But that's really the only thing to complain about.
The infotainment system is a bit fussy but works pretty fast. You're able to go through the menus via the touch screen itself or a turning knob in the center console like BMW used to have it until a couple years back. Bluetooth connects and Apple Car Play starts quickly. Nothing to worry about. Solid stuff.
And I absolutely loved the huge panorama window. Brought in the fresh spring air. Pure summer vibes!
It might not be the most perfect car, the fastest either, the most spacious either or the one with the highest quality. But the car is surprisingly good and gives you loads of smiles. It has true character. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio definitely found a spot in my heart. I'm sure I'd never buy one because overpowered SUV's don't make sense to me. It's a car many of us probably want to have but wouldn't buy. But I highly appreciate everyone who decides to buy one just to keep the variety on our streets. I'm very interested how different the Giulia Quadrifoglio will be.