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Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review – a fast, fun-to-drive hot SUV

"The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a true performance SUV, with a fantastic engine that's great fun to drive"

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Pros

  • Wide breadth of ability
  • Fast and fun to drive
  • Practical interior

Cons

  • Fuel economy
  • Expensive to buy
  • Gearbox not as quick as rivals

Verdict – is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio a good car?

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a firecracker of a performance SUV, delivering speed, excitement and character in spades. It’s just as happy tackling a twisty B road as it is on the way to the shops or cruising along the motorway, thanks to its excellent adjustable suspension and much-improved cabin refinement. It feels more premium and well-rounded than ever before and, while it’s expensive, you’ll struggle to find a better sports SUV for the money.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio models, specs and alternatives

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the most powerful and most expensive model in the Stelvio line-up, with a Ferrari-derived petrol engine, stylish looks and wonderful handling. A fresh update for 2024 targeted the Quadrifoglio’s key weaknesses and the result is an SUV that’s more capable at tackling daily driving duties, while still offering performance to rival today’s crop of two-seater sports cars.

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The Stelvio Quadrifoglio serves as the roomier, more practical counterpart to the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon, delivering similar driving thrills but with more space for the family and all their gear. You get the same twin-turbocharged V6 engine – now turned up to 513bhp – but in the Stelvio it drives all four wheels, allowing you to put that power down no matter the weather. It’s always been a hoot to drive, but Alfa Romeo has found a way to squeeze even more enjoyment from its sports SUV.

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Most significantly, the updates for 2024 have greatly improved the Stelvio’s cabin, the area that’s long been its Achilles’ heel. A new infotainment system and digital driver’s display bring the tech up to scratch, while premium materials and an uplift in build quality close the gap to its German competition. It finally feels fit for a car costing near-£90k.

Yes, that is over £40k more than the entry-level Stelvio, but the Quadrifoglio is rather different from the other models in the range – it’s much more focused on driver enjoyment. If that’s what you’re after, then there are few SUVs that come close – especially for under six-figures. The Porsche Macan is one alternative, but the Stelvio Quadrifoglio delivers a driving experience more akin to the bigger Porsche Cayenne Turbo, for far less money.

MPG, running costs & CO2

It won’t be cheap to run but it’s unrealistic to expect a performance car like this to be economical

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s powerful engine isn’t designed for fuel economy, so don’t expect it to be cheap to run. The official economy figure for the car is only 23.9mpg – but this is par for the course amongst rivals. Select the ‘Advanced Efficiency’ driving mode and the Stelvio shuts down two of its six cylinders in an effort to save fuel, delivering much more impressive real-world economy figures on motorway stints.

A CO2 figure of 267g/km means the Stelvio sits in the top Benefit-in-Kind tax band for company car buyers, so tax costs will be very high. As a private buyer, you’ll pay £570 a year for the first five years to tax the Quadrifoglio, dropping to £180 from then onwards. Alfa Romeo offers a five-year warranty and service plans are available that can be paid monthly or upfront.

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Even at nearly £90k, the Stelvio is reasonably good value; it undercuts a BMW X3 M by a significant margin and is sharper to drive than the equally-priced Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Considering it’s one of the best-driving cars of its type, that makes it a good buy if your heart is set on a high-end performance SUV. Of course, there are many electric SUVs on sale today that can out-accelerate the Stelvio for similar money, but we’d argue they’re not as fun to drive.

Engines, drive & performance

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s engine and handling are both superb

Alfa Romeo’s 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine produces an incredible 513bhp, so performance isn’t in question: the Stelvio is rapid. It can go from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds, and it can reach 177mph flat-out. Thanks to four-wheel drive, it has loads of traction from a standstill, which is part of why it’s so fast from 0-62mph.

The speed isn’t what appeals most about the Stelvio’s engine. The engine itself is related to a Ferrari motor, so it’s a delight to drive – it’s punchy enough that you don’t have to rev it hard if you don’t want to, but it loves to be revved when the mood takes you. It sounds great even without the optional Akrapovic sports exhaust system.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox is excellent as well. It received a software tweak for 2024, improving smoothness and refinement in auto mode. Switch to the car’s sportier driving mode and change gear yourself using the paddles behind the wheel, the shifts are really sharp and quick. If we’re being picky, BMW and Porsche gearboxes are even snappier, but that’s not to say the Stelvio’s isn’t up to the task.

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The most instantly apparent trait that the Stelvio has is its steering, which is very fast – meaning that when you turn the wheel, only a little movement is needed to turn the front wheels. It gives the car a very responsive and exciting driving experience, although it may take some drivers time to get used to.

The adjustable suspension is key to the Stelvio’s breadth of ability and completes the all-round performance package. There are two suspension settings that are controlled using a button on the centre console. In the first setting, the Stelvio is perfectly comfortable, feeling even softer for 2024. In the second, it really stiffens up, sacrificing comfort for much sharper body control. It still rolls slightly more than the Giulia saloon, but most drivers will struggle to discern a difference.

Interior & comfort

The latest Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a refined interior with the latest tech

Alfa Romeo has listened to critics of the initial Stelvio Quadrifoglio and fitted an interior of much higher quality to the 2024 model. Everything feels more refined, from the material choices to the layout and quality of the switchgear. It may lack the flair of the latest BMWs, but in terms of fit and finish, it’s right up there.

There’s a new 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s simple to use and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The driver gets a new digital instrument cluster, too, with a clear readout of all your vital driving information. Elsewhere you’ll find lashings of standard-fit carbon fibre trim, a superb pair of new sports seats, as well as aluminium gearshift paddles that feel great to hold. Even the driving position is good, which is unusual and very welcome in an Italian car.

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Road noise is very impressive, too, the cabin insulation doing well to mask tyre roar at high speeds. This new-found refinement, combined with the comfortable suspension and smooth gearbox, makes the Stelvio Quadrifoglio an excellent long-distance cruiser.

Practicality & boot space

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is one of the most practical 500bhp cars ever made

Even if you ignore the fact that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has the performance of a supercar, it’s impressively practical. There’s plenty of room in the front seats and enough cubbies and storage spaces for your bits and bobs, and loads of room in the back as well.

Rear-seat passengers might find it slightly dark, but that’s the case in a Macan Turbo as well. There’s loads of leg and headroom, so even adults will be able to sit comfortably inside.

The boot is good, too. As it’s a hatch the opening is nice and wide, so it’s easy to load up, and with 525 litres of space, it’s a really useful size. It’s a bit smaller than a BMW X3M but not by a huge amount. The rear seats fold with a 40/20/40 split to open out 1,600 litres of space, which is big enough for a couple of bikes.

Reliability & safety

Safety and owner satisfaction are impressive; reliability is less so

Alfa Romeo managed an impressive fifth-place finish in the 2023 Driver Power owner survey, where owners praised the handling of their cars, as well as the intuitiveness of the interior controls. Reliability was rated fairly well too, but 28% of owners reported a fault in the first year – mainly to do with electronics – which could be concerning. 

What should quell any fears is that Alfa provides an impressive five-year/75,000-mile warranty and five years of roadside assistance with the Stelvio.

Euro NCAP gave the Stelvio a five-star rating in 2017. Adult protection was especially impressive, with a 97% score. Autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning are all fitted as standard.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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