Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV review
"The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a true performance SUV, with a fantastic engine that's great fun to drive"
- Looks great
- Fast and fun to drive
- Practical interior
- Poor infotainment
- Low-speed ride quality
- Expensive to buy
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the most powerful and most expensive model in the Stelvio line-up, with a powerful and exciting petrol engine, stylish looks and wonderful handling. It was recently updated for 2020 and while there weren’t any major changes, it’s still one of the best high-end sporty SUVs around.
The updates in 2020 were mostly focused around the interior, which needed improvement. However Alfa Romeo has left what worked so well in the previous version alone: the V6 engine still has an incredible 503bhp and sounds great.
The engine is fantastic and delivers 0-62mph in under four seconds, which is almost beyond belief for a 4x4. There are some supercars that can’t manage that, but this is a spacious four-seater with a big boot. It’s great fun to drive too.
It’s by far the most expensive Stelvio you can buy 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. The Porsche Macan Turbo is one alternative, and it’s a hard-fought battle between them.
MPG, running costs & CO2
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 24.6mpg - but this is competitive, as the Porsche Macan Turbo’s figure is 24.8mpg.
A CO2 figure of 261g/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 £475 a year to tax the Quadrifoglio. Alfa Romeo offers a five-year warranty and service plans are available that can be paid monthly or upfront.
The Stelvio is reasonably good value; it’s around the same price as a Macan Turbo but has more equipment as standard and it undercuts a BMW X3 M by a significant margin. 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.
Engines, drive & performance
Alfa Romeo’s 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine produces an incredible 503bhp, 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 176mph 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, which was new for 2020.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is excellent as well. It’s smooth enough in auto mode but if you 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.
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.
There are two suspension settings that are controlled using a button on the centre console. In the first setting the Stelvio is smooth for the most part, but a bit bumpy over potholes. In the second, it’s really stiff and while this means it’s sharper to drive, it’s a bit uncomfortable.
Interior & comfort
Alfa Romeo listened to critics of the initial Stelvio Quadrifoglio and this 2020-onwards model has received an interior more fitting of a car this expensive. For example there’s a reshaped, leather-trimmed gear selector with some better materials around it. There’s a cubby for wirelessly charging your smartphone too.
However it’s still not quite the upmarket experience you get with a Porsche Macan Turbo or a BMW X3 M, as those cars use better materials in certain places. It’s only a minor point now, though, rather than a sore patch for the Alfa Romeo.
The seats are excellent, offering lots of support and comfort. The driving position is very good, which is unusual and very welcome in an Italian car. The steering wheel and gearshift paddles feel great to hold.
The Stelvio’s infotainment system got some upgrades too. The 8.8-inch display is now a touchscreen and features new functions including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. However, it’s still a long way behind BMW’s infotainment setup in terms of ease-of-use and responsiveness.
Practicality & boot space
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
Alfa Romeo managed a top-ten finish in the 2020 Driver Power owner survey, where owners praised the handling of their cars the most. Reliability was rated well too, but 28.5% of owners reported a fault in the first year, 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.