Follow A4 about 60 kilometres northeast of Turin and about 20 kilometres northwest of Vercelli, and you’ll find yourself in the sleepy burg of Balocco is a in the Province of Vercelli. With a population of fewer than 300, this 16.7 square kilometres village has at least one famous resident— the Circuito di Balocco road-testing track. What better place to put the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and Giulia Quadrifoglio— two of Italy’s Alfa’s most exciting whips.
For starters: the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the top-end version of the new BMW 3-Series rival. How’s that, you might ask? How about 503bhp for a start? Such M3-beating power is courtesy of a ‘Ferrari-inspired’ 3.0 V6 with two turbos for power and cylinder activation to improve economy when going more gently. The motor sounds absolutely amazing, gutteral and hard-edged and yet sweet. The 0-100 time, they say, is 3.9 seconds. That’s seriously quick. The 510bhp car is rear-drive, amazingly, although 4WD will be optional elsewhere in the range. It has a proper torque-vectoring rear diff.
There’s all-aluminium suspension with an extremely sophisticated double-wishbone ‘semi-virtual steering axis’ setup at the front. So they want it to handle. The steering is claimed to be more high-geared than any rival. That should mean a pointy nose.
Weight distribution is 50:50, and there’s a lot of effort to reduce that overall mass. Carbonfibre is used amazingly extensively: propshaft, roof, bonnet. Not only the suspension and subframes are rendered in aluminium, but the doors and wings too. Overall weight is about 1500kg, which is very tidy for a car of this kind.
We also drove the mightyStelvio Quadrifoglio at Balocco, which takes its name from the infamous Alpine pass, has a stellar design, winning driving dynamics, and that unimpeachable Italian emotionality going for it here. Alfa’s bantam crossover tears up the Italian countryside like a real heavyweight champ and, while it might not win any awards for its luxurious but slightly spartan interior, its somewhat stripped down look has a definite Italian appeal.
This is, after all the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the new model with many class-topping features, which immediately becomes the new benchmark in the premium compact SUV segment. With its awe-inspiring design, performance and technology, Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the "fastest SUV around the circuit", having clocked the new record for its class on the iconic Nürburgring: 7 minutes 51.7 seconds.
Stelvio Quadrifoglio is equipped with the exclusive aluminium 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine, developed with inputs from Ferrari technologies and engineering know-how, which delivers maximum power of 510 HP at 6,500 rpm and generates a maximum torque of 600 Nm from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm. This power plant is teamed with the specifically calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission that allows gear shifts in just 150 milliseconds in Race driving mode. Moreover, to maximise the driving experience, the model is equipped as standard with one-piece aluminium paddle shifters integral with the steering column.
Its performance is outstanding: acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds and best-in-class top speed of 283 km/h. But the Alfa Romeo sports SUV is also incredibly efficient in terms of emission and fuel consumption, thanks to its electronically controlled cylinder deactivation system and the "sailing" function, available in Advanced Efficiency driving mode.
For the first time, the 510 HP 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine is combined with the innovative Q4 all-wheel drive system, with its guarantees of unbeatable performance, traction, driving pleasure and safety in all situations. What's more, Stelvio Quadrifoglio is equipped with the exclusive Alfa Chassis Domain Control unit and is the only SUV in its class to provide differential Alfa Active Torque Vectoring as standard. Also standard equipment is the innovative Alfa Active Suspension, the system that continually, actively controls the suspensions and shock absorbers. Not to mention that Stelvio Quadrifoglio guarantees impeccable handing and comfort thanks to its suspension layout, with the exclusive AlfaLink technology: up front it has a double wishbone system with semi-virtual steering axis, with a four-and-a-half link Multilink system at the rear. In any situation and at all speeds, driving the Quadrifoglio SUV, with the most direct steering ratio on the market (12.1:1), is natural and instinctive.
Stelvio Quadrifoglio holds two best-in-class titles which make it the highest-performing SUV in its segment: with a kerb weight of 1,830 kg, the model boasts the best weight/power ratio in its category (3.6 kg/HP) and the best specific power (176 HP/l). These amazing results, synonymous with great pleasure at the wheel, were achieved through perfect weight distribution between the two axles and the use of ultra-lightweight materials such as carbon fibre for the driveshaft and aluminium for the engine, suspensions, brakes, doors, wheel-arches, bonnet and tailgate.
Developed with inputs from Ferrari technologies and engineering know-how, the engine mounted on Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the exclusive aluminium 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo petrol unit: new in technology and performance, this powerplant has become the brand's new gold standard.
Built in aluminium - to reduce the car's overall weight, especially on the front axle - the sparkling 2.9 Bi-Turbo petrol engines delivers maximum power of 510 HP at 6,500 rpm and maximum torque of 600 Nm from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm. What's more, it is combined with the eight-speed automatic transmission with specific calibration. .
The performance is outstanding: Stelvio Quadrifoglio can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds, with a best-in-class top speed of 283 km/h. And in spite of the sensational power and torque values, the 510 HP 2.9 litre Bi-Turbo petrol unit is particularly fuel-efficient and, like all new-generation Alfa Romeo engines, delivers a genuinely Alfa Romeo roar.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio powerplant is completed by the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, specifically calibrated to make gear changes in just 150 milliseconds in Race mode. The transmission also features a lock-up clutch to give the driver a powerful feeling of in-gear acceleration once the gear is engaged.
Depending on the mode chosen with the Alfa DNA Pro, the automatic transmission optimises the ride and handling in all contexts of use, including urban driving: the Alfa Romeo sports SUV is also incredibly efficient in terms of emission and fuel consumption, thanks to its electronically controlled cylinder deactivation system and the "sailing" function, available in Advanced Efficiency driving mode.
Last but not least, to maximise the driving experience, Stelvio Quadrifoglio is equipped as standard with one-piece aluminium paddle shifters integral with the steering column.
For the first time, the 510 HP 2.9 V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine is combined with the innovative Q4 all-wheel drive system, with its guarantees of unbeatable performance, traction, driving pleasure and safety in all situations. In normal conditions, the Q4 system transfers 100% of the torque to the rear axle. As the wheels approach their grip limit, the system transmits up to 50% of the torque to the front axle in real time, by means of an active transfer case.
In particular, the Q4 system architecture includes an active transfer case and front differential designed to meet the specific technical requirements of Alfa Romeo, entailing the rapid-response management of high torque levels, with a compact, lightweight set-up. The active transfer case makes use of advanced active clutch technology to deliver an outstandingly dynamic ride combined with good fuel economy. The Next-Gen integrated actuator delivers high response speed and precise torque distribution, in line with the selected Alfa DNA Pro drive mode setting.
The Q4 system continuously monitors numerous parameters to optimise torque distribution between the two axles according to what the car is doing and how much grip there is beneath the wheels. This technology can predict imminent loss of grip by processing the data it receives from the lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering-wheel angle and yaw sensors.
In keeping with Alfa Romeo's technical traditions, electronic assistance must never be intrusive, but merely facilitate the driving experience, which is exhilarating in itself thanks to the passionately and painstakingly designed chassis and suspension system. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio confirms this philosophy: it is structurally unique, but still offers numerous sophisticated systems to make the driving experience - already assured by the car's underlying technical excellence - even more thrilling.
Stelvio Quadrifoglio is equipped with the exclusive Alfa Chassis Domain Control unit and is the only one to provide differential Alfa Active Torque Vectoring as standard.
Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the only SUV in its class to provide the Alfa Active Torque Vectoring differential as standard. The Torque Vectoring technology optimises the Stelvio Quadrifoglio's drive distribution and accentuates its sporting character. The two electronically controlled clutches in the rear differential make it possible to control torque delivery to each wheel separately. This ensures the optimal transfer of power to the ground even when the car is pushed to its dynamic limits. This makes the Stelvio safe and fun to drive at all times, without recourse to intrusive inputs from the stability control system.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also equipped with the new Alfa DNA Pro selector, which modifies the car's dynamic response according to which mode the driver selects: Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency (energy-saving mode) and Race (ideal for maximum performance).
In detail, the Dynamic setting modifies the engine control parameters for faster power delivery, increases the gear shift speed and modifies the suspension response for sportier on-road driving. The Natural mode, on the other hand, sets the power delivery and suspensions to ensure comfort and demure handing in everyday driving, while Race mode allows deactivation of the stability and traction controls, enhances the roar of the exhaust and maximises performance for a memorable circuit driving experience in real racing style. Last but not least, the Advanced Efficiency setting improves efficiency and cuts consumption with functions such as "sailing" and cylinder deactivation. The AE mode is also strongly recommended in low-grip situations.
Alfa Active Suspension is a system which continually, actively controls the suspensions and shock absorbers to reduce movement of the body of the car in all driving conditions. It constantly interacts with the CDC and Alfa DNA Pro and "calibrates" its actions to suit the driving mode selected, delivering unrivalled comfort and handling.
Stelvio Quadrifoglio holds two best-in-class titles which make it the highest-performing SUV in its segment: with a kerb weight of 1,830 kg, the model boasts the best weight/power ratio in its category (3.6 kg/HP) and the best specific power (176 HP/l).
These amazing results, which guarantee superlative driving pleasure, are the outcome of perfect weight distribution between the two axles, which required astute management of weights and materials, achieved by tweaking the Alfa Romeo SUV's layout and arranging the heavier elements in the most central position possible. The ideal power-to-weight ratio, meanwhile, was delivered with the aid of ultra-lightweight materials such as carbon fibre for the driveshaft and aluminium for the engine, suspensions, brakes, doors, wheel-arches and bonnet.
The reduced weight does not affect the car's excellent torsional rigidity, which guarantees durability, low noise levels and first-class handling even under extreme stresses.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, is the finest expression of Italian design, interpreted with Alfa Romeo's unique flair, and the perfect synergy of form and function, in a sensual, muscular car body. What else could you possibly need?