Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 05 Apr 2020
There is a certain something about Italians. It’s a nation with a certain something, a magic dust that seems to adorn fashion, food and the soul of the products which they produce. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is purpose-built to be a practical family SUV with a bit of extra soul. Particularly the case when it has paid a visit to Alfa Romeo’s hardcore QV division.
Since the launch of Alfa’s Giulia and Stelvio not too long ago, the Italian automotive manufacturer has been on a mission. Firstly, they produced to top hits in a row, two fantastic models, and then, of course, brought along two petrol-head inspired Quadrifoglio versions. I was not lucky enough to get behind the wheel of the QV version of the Giulia but heard rave reviews from every motoring journo I could get to, so I had to make a plan to see what they were on about, I had to drive a modern QV model. Thankfully, the opportunity came knocking with the Stelvio.
From the outside, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio follows the same teardrop, feline beauty that the Stelvio laid-out upon its introduction (in SA – Nov 2017). Gorgeous tapered lines, and what is a symbiosis between sportscar lines and SUV practicality. The QV version, however, adds that dainty lucky leaf, the four-leaf clover, it adds immense and intricate Nero large alloy wheels with exposed brake discs and callipers, a meaner front-end and four rear tailpipes and perhaps most importantly of all, a Ferrari c—developed 2.9-litre V6 banked at 90°.
Stepping inside the Stelvio QV, the first feature which you’ll notice is an F1 inspired steering-wheel with Stop/Start button. Carbon trim work adorns much of the door cards, dash, steering wheel, with leatherwork on much of the rest.
The DNA switch at the centre allows you to select your drive modes, and feels very Ferrari, as does the massive aluminium paddles behind the steering wheel and the way it shifts particularly in RACE mode. You see, driven in All wheel, Natural or Dynamic, the Stelvio QV feels like an ordinary fast luxury SUV, driven in RACE mode, it feels extraordinary.
It is when you have engaged this driving mode, that the engine note sounds like no other SUV. The Stelvio QV emits a bark reserved for Italian supercars, the 2.9-litre V6 throws out 375 kW and 600 Nm of torque all placed through an 8-speed ZR transmission which shifts cogs in an F1 snappy 150 milliseconds.
While the Stelvio QV may be heavier than the Giulia, it still manages the 0 – 100 km/h sprint in a blistering claimed 3.8 seconds and moves on steadily to 283 kph.
This SUV is hard to describe or justify, but I want it more than almost any SUV that I can think of. It has the space, the safety features and systems including blind-spot assist, active emergency braking and ISOFIX child seat mounting points. Naturally, the cabin features suede and leather throughout with airbags, and SUV practical space features such as a large folding tailgate to reveal a massive boot area.
Its assassin motor and Ferrari traits don’t make sense using any form of mental justification with its R1,825,000 price tag, but this is exactly why you’ll want it! It’s the Italian mama, who can cook like a pro, sign Opera with the best tenors and then dance on her toes with the ballerinas. It is Italian automotive design beauty and soul that simply leaves me uttering the word’s “Forza Alfa Romeo, Forza Italia.”