Alfa Romeo Stelvio preview
Alfa Romeo's first ever SUV. A decade ago that might have been radical and opinion-dividing, but now it probably elicits the response "what took so long?" The Stelvio is named after the highest mountain pass in Italy and the name of the road that traverses it, complete with its over 75 hairpin turns. That hints at how Alfa Romeo would like its SUV to be seen. At the time of writing, Alfa has only released details of two high-performance petrol versions of the Stelvio, but diesel powered variants will make up the majority of sales.
What will its rivals be?
Although pricing for the Stelvio has yet to be announced, it's expected to compete with the premium mid-size SUVs on the market. That means the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and X4, Jaguar's F-Pace, the Mercedes-Benz GLC and even Porsche's Macan. The Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport should also be considered to be alternative options.
Any tech info?
When Alfa Romeo revealed the range-topping version of the Stelvio, called the Quadrifoglio, it released details of its new Chassis Domain Control (CDC) system, labelling it the 'brain' of the car that coordinates all the car's electronic sub-systems, such as the new DNA Pro selector, the Q4 all-wheel drive, the torque vectoring system, the active suspension and the ESC stability control. Basically it centralises control for the chassis, powertrain, suspension system, braking system, steering, power steering and differential to help with cornering and safety. Not all of those sub-systems are expected on all versions of the Stelvio.
What will the range be like?
We're going to have to do a small bit of guesswork here as Alfa hasn't told us anything about the likely big sellers in the range - the diesels. Taking the Giulia saloon as a starting point, we expect to see 150, 180 and 210hp versions powered by the company's 2.2-litre diesel engine, mated as standard to an eight-speed automatic transmission and, we believe, four-wheel drive. Atop the range will be a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol model with 280hp, initially offered as a 'First Edition' that is crammed with equipment, and the fire-breathing Quadrifoglio version. The latter features a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine drawing 'inspiration from Ferrari technologies and technical know-how' producing a massive 510hp.
We love the look of the Stelvio and there's undoubtedly an increase in sales of such models, but it has to contend with a lot of rivals, many from marques that are well-established in the market as makers of premium SUVs. Still, given how impressive the Giulia saloon is, we expect big things from the Stelvio when it arrives late this year.