Toby Hagon’s 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In a nutshell: The Quadrifoglio, or QV, uses the body of the Stelvio but adds some Ferrari-inspired V6 turbocharged goodness to make it one of the fastest SUVs on the planet.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Specifications

Price $149,900+ORC Warranty 3 years, 150,000km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety Not rated Engine 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 Power 375kW at 6500rpm Torque 600Nm at 2500-5000rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Drive Four-wheel drive Dimensions 4701mm (L), 1955mm (W), 1689mm (H), 2818mm (WB) Ground Clearance 200mm claimed Kerb Weight 1830kg Towing Not rated Boot Space 525L Spare Repair kit Fuel Tank 64L Thirst 10.2L/100km

It was only a matter of time until Alfa Romeo stepped up the performance of its first SUV, the Stelvio. Until now it’s been available with the choice of four-cylinder petrol or diesel propulsion, but the addition of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio adds a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 with hints of Ferrari pedigree.

It goes head-to-head with predominantly German sporty opposition, with the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 the closest in performance.

Our first taste test took place on the Albert Park F1 race track ahead of the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.

What’s in the range and how much does it cost?

The Quadrifoglio is the top of the Stelvio lineup, bring more performance and a sportier focus to the otherwise practical and sensible mid-sized SUV. Whereas the regular Stelvio starts at $65,900 and runs through three four-cylinder-powered models up to $78,900, the Quadrifoglio, or QV, is priced from $149,900.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

The biggest change is the inclusion of the same 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo engine used in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, delivering significant more go. But the QV also gets a carbon fibre driveshaft and distinctive 20-inch forged aluminium wheels.

While the basic body is shared with garden variety Stelvios, there are significant changes to pump up the look. They include a vented bonnet, side skirts, sizeable wheel arches and quad exhausts.

Commensurate with the price tag, it comes loaded with equipment, some of which is either not available or costs extra on the regular Stelvio. It includes heated and powered front seats, heated three-spoke steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, radar cruise control, blind spot warning, reversing camera, Harman Kardon sound system, tyre pressure monitoring and an 8.8-inch colour touchscreen integrating Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is also included.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

There are also design tweaks inside, too, including carbon fibre touches, ambient lighting and Quadrifoglio badges. Those wanting more can choose Sparco race-inspired seats with a carbon fibre backing shell for an extra $7150.

What’s the interior and practicality like?

The dimensions and basic layout is identical to other Stelvios, as is the simple but functional layout. But there are additional touches to liven things up. They include plenty of red stitching and real carbon fibre finishes.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

While the $5000 carbon fibre seats have a beautiful design with a glossy back, they also seriously step up the support, with nice bolsters. Getting comfy up front is also easy with great adjustability to the seat and a sensibly sized, tactile steering wheel.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

Those in the back also get a better view with those optional seats, but they miss out on seatback pockets or nets, with the racing theme stealing the show. Circular air vents match those up front and there are USB ports for keeping kids connected.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

The rear seats are adult friendly in stature and offer moderate head and leg room, although with the head rests lowered they dig into your back. Best to adjust them before settling in for the journey. Further aft, the boot has a flat floor and integrated adjustable luggage tie-down points.

What are the controls and infotainment like?

There’s a simplicity and Italian elegance to the dash layout, from the humps above the analogue tacho and speedo to the long metal gearshift paddles and dials to adjust the ventilation. The red starter button on the steering wheel is a snazzy touch, too.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

The central screen is the main letdown. While the 8.8-inch display is beautifully integrated into the dash – complete with a matt finish – what’s displayed on it is far less impressive. The navigation, for example, has nothing like the detail and clarity of most rivals, with a more basic layout.

What’s the performance like?

Key to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s sporty transformation is the adoption of a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6. It was developed by a team of engineers that included some poached from Ferrari, a brand that has also been rumoured to be considering using a version of the same engine in an upcoming model.

The engine produces 375kW and 600Nm, which is more than many V8s. It’s claimed to launch the Stelvio QV to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 283km/h.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

The way it launches out of corners suggest those numbers are thoroughly believable. It’s particularly responsive when you first get on the throttle, the 600Nm kicking in early and hard. And it maintains that enthusiasm across the rev range, before barking and brapping as it shifts into the next gear.

Those flitters on gearchanges are the aural highlight, though, with the engine giving a bassy thrum elsewhere that’s more purposeful than enjoyable. Fuel use is claimed at 10.2 litres of 98-octane premium unleaded for every 100km, although it’s clearly easy to use a lot more than that.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

The engine does have a fuel-saving trick, though, able to shut down one bank of its cylinders and temporarily operate as a three-cylinder when driving gently.

What’s it like on the road?

We’ll have to limit our early impressions to a race track, which is where our first drive took place; there was absolutely no road driving, with the Albert Park race circuit our test track. While the Formula 1 drivers talk of the bumps around the 5.3-kilometre track, for road cars it’s very smooth.

Which is good, because the Stelvio is quite stiffly sprung, something immediately obvious due to the lack of unwanted body movement. Even thrown hard at corners, where its 20-inch Pirelli tyres scrabble for traction, it’s beautifully balanced.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

Dial up too much speed and it descends into very predictable understeer, where the front wheels want to run wide. Yet at the same time there are enough smarts going on to ensure things remain sensible – and fast.

Torque vectoring sends more drive to the outside wheels, but it’s the rear-biased four-wheel drive system that is most noticeable. Marketed as Q4, it ensures the front wheels can focus more on steering while the rears deal with all that grunt. Get it right in bends and there’s surprising pace as well as a genuinely sporty flavour few SUVs get close to.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

Whereas some SUVs are fighting the higher centre of gravity, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio tempers things beautifully, making it easier to enjoy all that’s on offer from the engine. While it typically drives the rear wheels, there’s little chance of wheelspin as the fronts actively come into play, upping the confidence levels.

The accurate steering that can occasionally feel too sharp on road versions of the Stelvio comes to life on the track, allowing accurate placement. It helps having stiff suspension that resists that temptation to rock and roll.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

Behind the red brake calipers are sizeable Brembo brakes that pull up hard, although repeated 200km/h applications eventually get them hot. If you want more, there are carbon ceramic brakes available for about $15,500.

What’s it like off the road?

The regular Stelvio is best left to light duties when it comes to pounding the dirt. That sentiment steps up a notch (or two) with the Quadrifoglio. At best, the Stelvio might help you scramble out of a gravel trap on a race track if you push things too hard while having fun.

It’ll also be fine for light gravel tracks and snow-covered slopes. But forget about proper bush bashing. Sizeable 20-inch low profile tyres are designed purely for on-road work and will prove a weak point when travelling off-road. It’s also lacking the proper underbody protection for getting too adventurous.

Does it have a spare?

There’s no spare tyre for the Quadifoglio QV. Instead, there’s a repair kit for minor punctures. But at least there are tyre pressure sensors to provide an early warning if you do get a leak.

Can you tow with it?

SUVs are regularly used to tow, but Alfa Romeo does not recommend the Stelvio QV for towing duties.

What about ownership?

Servicing is due every 12 months or 15,000km, and none are particularly cheap. Capped price servicing quotes the first check-up at $894 before stepping up to $1346 in the second year. Subsequent services are $894, $2627 and $883.

What safety features does it have?

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes with the full suite of active safety kit, including autonomous emergency braking, blind spot warning and lane departure warning. There’s also rear cross traffic alert.

However, the lane departure system only warns of lane wandering rather than actively steering the vehicle, as many systems do. And there is no 360-degree camera or more advanced crash avoidance extras becoming more common at the top end of the market.

Four-cylinder versions of the Stelvio have been independently crash tested by NCAP and given a five-star rating. However, that rating doesn’t yet carry over to the V6-powered Quadrifoglio.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review


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About Author

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.

1 comment

  1. I bought my 2018 Stelvio QV last fall (September, 2018) and have had absolutely no regrets. Your review is spot-on in my opinion, with my only disagreements being in the ride and handling department, where I’d give it 5/5 stars, and thus in the assessment of its value. The infotainment and controls may be the weakest area but are easily overlooked by the performance and handling (steering and suspension), which I find amazing. As you point out, this is not an off-roading SUV/crossover. The Stelvio QV is a full-on sports car, albeit with four doors, greater ground clearance, more weight(?!), and ample cargo space. Alfa Romeo has knocked the ball out of the park with this vehicle. If reliability, service, and maintenance are manageable, and if the dealer network can be maintained, the Stelvio QV is an extraordinary bargain. It isn’t cheap. But neither are its competitors (e.g., Porsche Macan Turbo S, Mercedes-AMG GLC63, Jaguar F-Pace SVR, among others), all of which don’t quite stir the passions of this piece of rolling art.

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