Alfa Romeo Stelvio

280hp Q4 AWD

Speciale

Alfa Romeo Stelvio, front static
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, full front action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, front action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, side action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, rear action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, rear seats
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, dashboard
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, full rear action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, boot

GENEROUS of Alfa Romeo to make red a no cost option when you're choosing the colour of your new Stelvio. It suits this red-blooded SUV down to the ground.

It also saves you £770 for a range of metallic finishes that includes all of four greys that do this muscular mover no favours in the looks department.

Generous too, you might think, to make your handsome daily driver look extra special with a set of big 20in alloy wheels, especially as they won't add to the bottom line of the Stelvio Speciale you've set your heart on.

But you might decide to stick to the standard 19in wheels after a spirited drive on a typical British A-road, where you quickly discover this is a car set up for a seriously sporty feel.

On the right stretch of Tarmac it lets this tall, heavy SUV do a pretty convincing impression of a lower, lighter saloon and render it the most un-SUV like machine of its type on the market (dearer Porsche Macan excepted).

Your forward progress is helped along, in the case of the car on test, by an energetic petrol engine pushing out 280 horsepower and providing the sort of underbonnet noise and on-road performance that adds a sports car edge to proceedings.

You can have your Stelvio with even more urge, thanks to a Ferrari-inspired engine with more than 500 horsepower (and a near £70,000 price tag) but you may well find 280 horses plenty powerful enough, thank you.

A bit thirsty, though, with 30.9mpg showing after a none too strenuous week at the wheel. More economy minded Stelvio buyers might like to consider the diesel option, with less go but much better economy in prospect.

But you'd guess that lots of Alfas, of all sorts, are bought as much with the heart as the head and the Stelvio is surely one of them. It's aim in life is to give you the solid feel of a German car with a devilish dose of Latin flair.

Most of the time it succeeds in both directions; feeling properly screwed together without squeaks or creaks in a cabin that's sensibly set out with well sited instruments and switches that make the driver's job more relaxed - too small sat nav screen excepted.

It also comes with an un-German set of standard kit for your money, starting with the red paint and bigger alloys.

The Speciale trim gives you a full leather interior, heated and electrically adjusted front seats, power tailgate, bi-xenon headlights, dual zone air con and a good eight speaker sound system.

Some of that list would undoubtedly attract extra cash from you in a German car dealership.

Also un-German was an odd knocking noise from the front of the car at full lock and low speed - which turns out to be from the tyres and quite normal and a by-product of suspension tuned for the sort of instant, sporty response that marks out an engaging driver from a merely sensible one.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo Stelvio 280hp Q4 AWD Speciale

Price: £45,590

Mechanical: 276bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 143mph

0-62mph: 5.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 40.4

Insurance Group: 36

C02 emissions: 161g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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