Record-breaking Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio due in summer 2018

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the fastest SUV around the Nürburgring and arrives in the UK next summer

Full details have been released for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, a rampant small SUV with a 503bhp turbocharged V6 petrol engine built using Ferrari technology.

Handling should be more than up to harnessing its power, too, as proved by a record-breaking 7m 51.7s lap of the Nürburgring – the fastest time set by an SUV at the tortuous German test track, and not far behind the Giulia Quadrifoglio's 7m 32s lap, which in 2016 made it the fastest production saloon car around the track.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio engine and performance

According to Alfa Romeo, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio can accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and unlike many German models limited to a top speed of 155mph, the Alfa can continue to 176mph. Its main rival, the Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Pack, has 440bhp, hits 62mph from rest in 4.4 seconds and can reach 169mph.

The Quadrifoglio’s 2.9-litre V6 has two turbochargers and sends its prodigious power to the wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, that can change gear in 150 milliseconds in its most aggressive Race mode. The same tactile aluminium paddle shifters fitted in the Giulia are fitted here, allowing the driver to change gears manually.

Unlike the rear-wheel-drive Giulia Quadrifoglio supersaloon, the fastest Stelvio gets Alfa’s Q4 four-wheel-drive system. This sends 100% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels in normal driving, but can send up to 50% to the fronts if the rears start to lose grip – a similar setup to its big rival, the Jaguar F-Pace. The Stelvio also features Active Torque Vectoring, which uses electronically controlled clutches to apportion torque between each rear wheel to boost agility without the electronic stability control having to intervene.

As well as performance hardware, there’s also cylinder-deactivation to help save fuel when you're just tickling the throttle, as well as a 'sailing' mode that disconnects drive momentarily as the car is coasting for improved efficiency.

The use of lightweight components is widespread, with the driveshaft made from carbon-fibre and aluminium used for the engine, suspension, brakes, doors, wheelarches and bonnet, rather than heavier steel. For an even greater reduction, optional carbon-ceramic brake discs lop a further 17kg of mass from the 1,830kg total, as well as reducing the potential for brake fade with heavy use.

Design

Alfa Romeo’s design philosophy for the Stelvio Quadrifoglio was “necessary beauty” – an Italian way of saying 'form follows function', where its styling was determined by factors like aerodynamics, cooling and handling.

There are ‘structural vents’ in the bonnet, intakes for the intercooler, aerodynamic side skirts, extended body-coloured wheelarches and quad exhaust pipes. Elsewhere, Alfa’s iconic “Tribolo” nose and “Kamm tail” hatchback make it impossible to mistake the fastest Stelvio as anything but an Alfa Romeo.

Inside, there’s lashings of carbon-fibre, leather and Alcantara to help lift the Stelvio’s interior from that of a regular SUV to a place worthy of a sports-car price tag. Infotainment is taken care of by the now-familiar 8.8-inch Alfa Connect system, with 3D maps, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio price and release date

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is set to arrive in the UK next summer and Alfa Romeo will confirm exact prices and specifications closer to its launch date. Judging by the price difference between the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce and Quadrifoglio versions, the top-spec Stelvio will cost just under £70,000, closely matching the £69,505 price tag of the Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Package.

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