The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio or QF for short is one of the quickest and most
desirable SUVs that money can buy.

At one time it held the lap record for the Nurburgring in Germany and to this day still rates
as one of the five fastest SUVs to lap the 20.8km circuit. Them’s bragging rights, but the
bark from the twin-turbo V6, which exits the rear of the car via a set of four gaping tailpipes
is enough to sell the car by itself.

Stelvio QF is the Alfa you want when need something to tote the wife and kids, but you’d
better be careful not to overstep the mark – or there could be trouble.

Stelvio takes its name from a pass in the Italian Alps.

Linking Italy and Switzerland, it’s the highest pass in Europe and its 20km includes 75
hairpin bends, breath-taking views and a climb all the way up to 2743 metres.

Quadrifoglio or QF for short is Italian for four-leaf clover and it is the badge that adorns
Alfa’s stable of high-performance vehicles.

The five-seat Stelvio is now Alfa’s best-selling model, but like the Giulia sedan the range
has been quietly rationalised in recent times.

Now there’s just two grades offered: the 206kW four cylinder Veloce, priced from $78,950,
or the subject of our test, the heavy-hitting Quadrifoglio from a rarefied $146,950 — both
prices before on-road costs.

Justifying the hefty price tag for the QF is a stonking 2.9-litre 375kW twin-turbo V6
developed by Ferrari.

There’s a lot that goes with it too. Suffice to say, if you’ve got the dough – the QF will
deliver in spades.

Underlining the performance is the Alfa’s unique styling, with a plunging, predatory,
triangular-shaped grille that has stamped its mark for decades now, along with a sports
body kit, plenty of black bits, those fat exhausts and 21-inch rims, with red brake calipers
and Pirelli rubber thrown in.

Inside is a conventional dash, with analogue dials that flank a central information panel,
with a combination of metal and fair dinkum carbon-fibre trim, along with heated and
heavily bolstered sports seats with power adjustment that includes lumbar.

There’s also ambient lighting, two-zone climate air, stitched leather dashboard and door
trim, a model specific steering wheel in leather and Alcantara, with carbon fibre trim for the
dashboard, centre stack, door panels, and centre console – and a red starter button on the
steering wheel just like a race car.

Turning to the centre console, the DNA Pro rotary control provides access to four drive
modes in this model, along with a less obvious central button that tones down the
suspension settings if required.

DNA stands for Dynamic, Natural and Advanced efficiency, in other words Sport, Normal
and Eco, with Dynamic mode delivering sharper brake and steering feel with more
aggressive engine, transmission and throttle tip-in calibrations.

The QF adds Race mode which requires the driver to hold the selection for several
seconds before it becomes active, with a warning that electronic stability control is no
longer active – in other words you’re on your own.

The absence of electronic stability control has been the undoing of many an aspiring
driver, but once you venture into Race territory, you’ll find it difficult to go back.

Everything is amped up – the noise, throttle response and the speed of gear changes etc.
Service intervals are 12 months/15,000km, with a five-year/75,000km capped-price service
plan that totals $2865.

Infotainment consists of an 8.8-inch touchscreen, with satnav, AM/FM and DAB+ digital
radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and 14-speaker Harman
Kardon audio.

It can be controlled from the inset 8.8-inch screen, a rotary selector or advanced voice
recognition system.

There is one front, two centre and one rear USB port, along with wireless phone charging.

The 2.9-litre twin turbo V6 pumps out a staggering 375kW of power and 600Nm of torque,
the latter between 2500 and 5000 revs.

Drive is to all four wheels as required through an eight-speed conventional auto, with
paddle shifts.

Cylinder deactivation and auto engine stop-start have been factored in to save fuel.

Five-star safety includes six airbags and autonomous emergency braking, with forward
collision warning.

There’s also driver attention alert, rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, active blind
spot assist, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection.

There’s also something called “Driver Behaviour Warning” but it has probably got nothing
to do with the kind of behaviour this car induces.

It’s quick, Ferrari quick.

The V6 is constructed of aluminium to reduce weight, but the thing still tips the scales at a
substantial 1830kg and comes with a woefully small 64 litre fuel tank for its size.

Can you imagine how long it takes to chew through that? A quick blast was sufficient to
drain a quarter of the tank and of course it drinks the good stuff – premium unleaded.

Instead of a claimed 10.2L/100km, we found ourselves quickly getting 13.4L, while
spending too much time with your foot on the accelerator is likely to send the figure north.

The specifically calibrated ZF transmission can deliver gear shifts in 150 milliseconds, with
a best-in-class top speed of 283km/h and 0-100km/h time of just 3.8 seconds.

Stelvio sits on the same platform as Giulia, but it has been modified and raised 22cm for
its new role, with the driver sitting 190mm higher from the ground. To help reduce weight,
it has a carbon fibre drive shaft and extensive use has been made of aluminium for parts
such as the doors, bonnet and fenders, as well as for mechanical parts such as brakes
and suspension.

The suspension, called AlfaLink, features double wishbones front and an aluminium multi-
link configuration at the rear. The springs are longer than the sedan but stiffer to account
for the extra weight and ride height.

The optional 21-inch wheels fitted to our car were clad in Pirelli Pzeros — 255s at the front,
285s down the back

It all adds up to a car that performs and handles exceptionally well for an SUV; indeed,
better than some high-performance sedans.

The all-aluminium engine was reportedly developed exclusively for the Quadrifoglio by

It’s a scaled down version of Ferrari’s own twin-turbocharged F154 CB V8 engine, sharing
the California T’s bore and stroke.

The turbochargers are single-scroll units, that have been integrated into the manifold, with
water-charge air coolers.

It has side-mounted direct fuel injection, with maximum turbo boost of up to 2.4 bar.

The car is fitted with a torque vectoring diff to help put power to ground and can send up to
100 per cent of torque to either rear wheel.

Dynamic mode delivers sharper brake and steering feel with more aggressive engine,
transmission and throttle tip-in calibrations.
In Race mode, the suspension is harder again, different torque vectoring settings and the
stability system fully turned off.

There’s a button to modulate the active suspension, between sport and a softer ride.

However, the ride in dynamic mode feels more settled and that is where we left it.

The throttle is – if anything – overly responsive and quite jerky at times, while steering is
super sharp and direct and the brakes bite hard and fast (they need to).

Under hard acceleration the rear tyres manage to break traction despite the electronics,
even with big 285 Pzeros on the back and the exhaust literally barks with each rapid gear

Braking and handling are amazing. You can charge into corners almost as fast as they spit
you out.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is an incredible car.

Unfortunately, it’s not all about performance. As a daily driver it’s a bit of a handful and to
be honest, not that comfortable.

The ride is fidgety, the throttle isn’t exactly smooth and the brakes are abrupt. If you can
live with those things plus the $150K+ price tag, there’s no turning back.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 8.5/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 6/10
Practicality: 6.5/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 7.5/10
Value: 7/10


Stelvio Veloce, $78,950
Stelvio Quadrifoglio, $146,950
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Alfa Romeo dealer for drive-away prices.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, 2.9-litre V6 five door wagon

Capacity: 2.9 litres
Configuration : Bi-turbocharged V6
Maximum Power: 375 kW @ 6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 600 Nm @ 2500 – 5000 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium 95 unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 233 g/km

8-speed conventional automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 4687 mm
Wheelbase: 2818 mm
Width: 1903 mm

Height: 1648 mm
Turning Circle: 11.7 metres
Kerb Mass: 1830 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 64 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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