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Alfa Romeo Stelvio: The Mechanics of Emotion

By Arv Voss, August 10th, 2019

All 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio models feature the Q4 all-wheel drive system. The base Stelvio, and Stelvio Sport, Stelvio Ti and Stelvio TI Sport models draw power force from a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Energy reaches the wheels via a ZF eight-speed turbo automatic transmission with manual mode, featuring Alfa's DNA drive mode selector, with three settings.

-- FERRARI-DERIVED POWER

While the base Stelvio has a four-cylinder, the Quadrifoglio version is powered by the same heart and soul that gives life to the Alfa Giulia -- a Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V-6. Here's the kicker -- it pumps out 505 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. The Quadrifoglio Stelvio is capable of rocketing from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic with column mounted paddle shifters, but the Alfa DNA Drive Mode Selector is the Pro upgrade, adding a Race setting.

The Drive mode controller significantly modifies the persona of the Stelvio. A is for "Advanced Efficiency" turning the Stelvio into a polite cruiser. N is for 'Natural Mode,' which prepares the 2.9-liter V-6 for more response. D=Dynamic Mode and yields even greater engine response, and Race Mode delivers the ultimate performance level -- it also opens up the exhaust baffles providing a sweet exhaust note.

-- ICONIC ITALIAN STYLING

Visually, the Stelvio lineup leads off with the iconic triangular mesh grille sculpted within the front fascia forming the Alfa design signature. The grille is flanked by "cat-eye-like" bi-xenon projector headlamps, while LED daytime running lights provide a recognizable appearance. Below are large air intake grilles.

The profile displays, short overhangs, with a gracefully arched roofline from the "A" pillar to the "C" pillar or aft sail panel. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio sits low, with the sculpted wheel wells closely hugging the wheels and tires. There are bold character lines cut into the sides, with a shoulder line that runs the length of the vehicle.

The rear styling treatment emphasizes the Stelvio's width with an integrated spoiler lip resides just above the rearward angled gate glass.

-- COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

The Stelvio's cabin provides comfortable, supportive seating for up to five, but with the primary focus being on the driver. The three-spoke, flat bottom steering wheel has a nice substantial feel and holds the Ferrari-like red engine start/stop button.. The paddle shifters are also Ferrari inspired and are column mounted. The dash consists of an asymmetrical layout with TFT displays mounted on the left.

-- PERFORMANCE

My test 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio was the uplevel Quadrifoglio version with a base price set at $79,795. The Alfa Stelvio offers an available trailer tow hitch with a 3,000 pound capacity. The Stelvio delivers brisk acceleration response, with no discernible turbo lag, and the shifting in either manual or automatic mode is both quick and smooth. All modes of the Alfa DNA Drive Mode Selector were put to the test, with the Sport mode proving to be the most satisfying and rewarding in terms of athletic handling characteristics, where the Stelvio remains flat under challenging scenarios, such as wet and curvy.

The ride quality is exceptionally firm but also quite stable. The seats are highly supportive during spirited maneuvers, with a well balanced, near 50/50 weight distribution.

-- THE FINAL TAKE

The all-new 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is truly an SUV for the S-Curves in any of its trim levels, which are not only stylishly attractive, but perform well, and are versatile and practical. They are also reasonably priced considering their content level and capability. The Quadrifoglio version, is a phenomenal performer, and well worth the extra cash. It provides the most fun that one can have in a small SUV. You really get what you pay for.

Specifications

Base price $79,795 (as tested: $82,790)
Curb weight 4,360 lbs.
Displacement 2.9-liter
Engine type 24-valve biturbo V-6 w/GDI
Epa mileage rating 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 16.9 gal.
Horsepower (net) 505 at 6500 rpm
Overall length 179.1 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 443 at 2500 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD SUV
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