Your daily news portal

Posted by portugalpress on July 27, 2017

Tired of seeing millions of BMWs, Audis and Mercedes on the road? Good. Get a Stelvio.

Alfa Romeo says that when they began working on the Stelvio they set out to build an Alfa first, an SUV second. The Stelvio should look and feel like no other SUV on sale and, in a way, that briefing was met. For good and for bad (although the bad part of it is not that bad, trust me).

Alfa is on a process of self-revitalisation that began in 2014 with the beautiful 4C and really gained traction last year with the all-important new Giulia. Being a sport saloon, the Giulia is not exactly the most fashionable car right now – nor are its competitors: the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class etc. That accolade goes to the so called SUVs or crossovers.

And so Alfa, like everybody else, decided to build one. But Alfa being Alfa they were the last ones to the party and they didn’t exactly come up with anything new. So why, oh why, did they get it so right with such a traditional formula?

Well, first and foremost, the Stelvio looks good. From some angles, it looks more beautiful than any SUV has the right to look. Even writing SUV and beautiful in the same sentence feels weird to me.

Truth is, every time I parked the Stelvio and looked back at it I wondered if I should sell my BMW 3 Series Touring and buy one. Every time. That means the Stelvio not only looked good, it drove really well too. Mainly, it felt like a regular car, which is a big feat for such a tall, big car.

The Stelvio has two main tricks up its sleeve that make it a better drive than all its rivals, bar the Porsche Macan, which is just as good. First trick: it’s light(er). Not feather light, of course (I mean, look at the size of the thing), but lighter that pretty much every other similarly sized SUV.

Stelvio: 1659kg. Jaguar F-Pace: 1775kg. That makes it more agile, which makes it sportier, which makes it just plain better. Then it allows the engine to use less fuel because there is less mass to carry around. Being lighter, it puts less strain on the components on the road, making for a better ride and a more natural driving feel.

Second trick is the calibration of the steering. It’s fast, really fast. Alfa picked up Phillip Krief, a Ferrari engineer that developed the magical 458 Speciale, to develop the Giulia, to which he gave super fast steering, and they did the same to the Stelvio. Maybe an SUV shouldn’t have such a sporty front end but the truth is it works, it really does. The Stelvio is brilliant around corners.

I tested the 2.0 litre petrol version with 280 horse power, called the Veloce, with the Q4 all-wheel drive system and the fantastic eight-speed auto gearbox. It’s good. Before the crazy V6 Quadrifoglio arrives next year, this is the most powerful Stelvio on sale and fairly easy for me to say it is also the best. But it is not the car people will buy. That one is the diesel, which I haven’t driven, but if the oil burner works as well as in the Giulia, well, I can understand the choice.

Inside, this is easily the best Alfa Romeo ever built, with good materials and a high-level build quality. The infotainment system is not as good as BMW’s or Porsche’s, but, after you get to grips with it, it works well. Anyway, if you are buying the Stelvio because it connects with your iPhone, buy something else, an Alfa Romeo is not for you.

Prices start at €53.700 for the 180 horse power diesel and top at €65.000 for the petrol Veloce. The diesel Veloce, with 210 horse power, costs from €57.200. Browse the options list and it’s easy to add five or six thousand euros to those numbers. However, it’s important to mention that the Stelvio comes better equipped than the competition and that even the basic versions are appealing.

So a big thumbs-up for Alfa’s first foray into the SUV world. Now I only hope people give the Stelvio the chance it deserves.

By Guilherme Marques

Categories: 

addthis: 

News Stories

Almost the minute the country’s fires...
‘Fun Day Halloween’ is taking place on...
Portugal’s national football team will...