THE quickest SUV in the world is about to break cover in the shape of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.
Emblazoned with cloverleaf badges - the mark of any high performance Alfa - the red hot Stelvio has lapped the Nurburgring in Germany is just seven minutes 51 seconds.
That's quicker than a Lamborghini Gallardo or a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and on the road the Stelvio Quadrifoglio knocks the likes of a Range Rover Sport or Audi's SQ models into a cocked hat.
Powered by a 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo engine boosted to 510bhp the Quadrifoglio has a top speed of 176mph and can complete the 0 to 60 dash in a Ferrari-like 3.8 seconds.
That's quite incredible for a car weighing in at 1.8 tonnes and is capable of mixing it with the off-road fraternity.
The automatic all-wheel-drive system Alfa is using in the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is set up to deliver maximum power to the rear wheels but can switch to anything up to a 50/50 drive pattern in the blink of an eye.
It's sophisticated stuff and sees this version of the Stelvio priced from Â£69,500 - almost twich the Â£37,590 the basic 2.0-litre petrol model costs.
Add in some extras such as a tri-coat paint finish at £2,500, lightweight sports seats at £3,250, a panoramic sunroof for £1,250 and a Harman Kardon sound system at £950 and the cost of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio we tried was £78,945.
Heady stuff but then it is the fastest SUV on the planet and that is embellished by some snazzy body tweaks such as air vents in the bonnet, an aggressive front and a rear diffuser flanked by twin exhaust clusters.
Inside, there's plenty of carbon in the trim, across the dash, the door cappings and seat backs while Alfa's DNA multi-mode drive selector sits next to the gear shift.
The Quadrifoglio is an eight-speed auto with very large paddle shifters which flank the steering wheel and just crave to be used.
Leaving track mode for what it's intended and switched into dynamic setting for some sporty handling the car flies.
There's 600Nm of torque coming in from 2,500 revs and the power stays on stream up to 6,500rpm - and In that band acceleration is very, very brisk.
The car feels slightly heavy through the steering but that's no bad thing and the response is smack on.
Under acceleration there is a wonderful sound from the quad exhausts and the grip from the all-wheel-drive tells.
Normal mode is not quite as rewarding from a thrill point of view but suffices while it is also possible to switch off three of the cylinders in the advanced setting which leans towards economy.
Officially Alfa rates the Stelvio Quadrifoglio at 28.8 mpg with emissions of 227g/km and we saw an average of 23.2 to the gallon on the trip recorder over a run of many miles.
The handling is equally impressive and there are no compromises when it comes to practicality with the Quadrifoglio having the same amount of space inside and in the boot as the regular model - 525 litres with a tyre repair kit or 499 litres with a spare wheel. Fold the rear seats and there's even more space.
What is a bonus is that the mighty power is well contained and around town it's easy to drive.
Yes, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is expensive, yes it's amazingly quick and yes, it looks fantastic.
For many interested in such a car the Quadrifoglio ticks all the boxes and as a flagship model it has everything going for it - a spending blend of power, practicality and panache.