IF you've ever wondered how car manufacturers dream up the names for new models then the all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a perfect example of a vehicle matching its inspirational title.
That's because the Stelvio, which is Alfa's first venture into SUV territory, is named after the legendary Stelvio mountain pass in Switzerland with 48 hairpin bends in rapid succession.
So clearly the Italian marque, famed for developing iconic cars that stand out from the crowd, is confident the Stelvio will deliver all the driving dynamics and performance thrills associated with the Alfa name. And it does just that.
But Alfa fans the world over not only demand a car that drives wonderfully they also insist on it being a thing of beauty too, which is not an easy task when designing a family-friendly SUV.
However the Stelvio does seem to break the mould somewhat with lots of silky curves and athletic bulges, slim headlight clusters and narrow tail lamps, tinted windows, twin tailpipes, 20-inch alloys and red brake callipers. It looks gorgeous from any angle.
Move inside and the Stelvio oozes Alfa Romeo charm throughout with a wealth of on-board technology to explore.
There are heated leather sports seats that can be electrically adjusted, an 8.8-inch infotainment system with 3D sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, dual zone air conditioning and a 10-speaker sound system.
The car feels quite upmarket with its two-tone dashboard and aluminium finishing along with a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel that can be heated. The aluminium sports pedals are a gentle reminder that the Stelvio is no ordinary SUV.
The car is based on the same platform as the highly-rated Alfa Romeo Guilia, but obviously has larger dimensions with ample space inside for five adults to travel in comfort.
Boot space is generous too with a storage capacity of 525 litres which can be increased further with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Our car in Milano trim was priced at £45,390 although a few optional extras bumped the cost up to £46,865.
It was powered by a 280bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and could reach from 0-62mph in a rapid 5.7 seconds and maxed out at 143mph.
According to official figures, combined fuel economy is rated at 40.4mpg with carbon emissions of 161g/km.
Out on the road, the Stelvio feels a little bit special and is certainly a head turner with its elegant styling.
The acceleration through the eight-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and responsive with a constant supply of power on tap.
The road-holding is ultra-grippy with virtually no body roll and those two factors mean the car can be driven in an enthusiastic manner into bends with confidence.
The steering is sharp and precise with ample driver feedback making the Stelvio a great all-round driver's car - something every Alfa Romeo fan will be very pleased to hear.
The driver can select between different driving modes called DNA which stands for Dynamic, Natural and All-Weather. Dynamic certainly sharpens up the responses and is ideal when using the massive aluminium paddles to shift through the gears manually.
The car also featured Alfa's Q4 all-wheel drive system making it an SUV that isn't fazed by adverse weather conditions or tricky driving terrains.
Wind and road noise is minimal when driven on a decent road at a sensible speed and even after a lengthy 100-mile trip the comfort levels still feel good.
My only slight criticism is that the ride can feel a little hard and the Stelvio can be unsettled by larger bumps and dips in the road.
The Stelvio was awarded the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and includes the likes of lane departure warning, hill descent control, autonomous emergency braking, electronic stability control, dusk and rain sensors, rear parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitoring system, numerous airbags and plenty more besides.