Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Quadrifoglio 2.9

B-Turbo Q4

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, front
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, front
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, front
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, front
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, side
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, boot
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, rear
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, rear
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, rear
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, wheel
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, front
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, front
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, interior

YOU have to go back almost a century to unearth the origins of the Quadrifoglio four-leaf clover emblem when it was invented by legendary Alfa Romeo racing driver Ugo Sivocci in 1923.

Nowadays, it sits proudly on selected Alfa Romeo models as a trademark symbol of uncompromising power and performance.

All the sportiest models from the Italian car maker have borne the Quadrifoglio and the very first Alfa Romeo SUV - the Stelvio - is no exception.

A glance in the direction of the car's performance statistics will leave you in little doubt that this model truly deserves the badging. It is powered by a 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo petrol engine that draws on the expertise of sister brand Ferrari and it delivers a whopping 510hp and 600Nm of torque.

Those figures translate into a 0-62mph sprint time of just 3.8 seconds and maximum speed of 176mph - and all this in a five-door SUV.

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a real looker too thanks to its muscular curves and aggressive profile. There are air vents in the bonnet, four exhaust pipes, dark tinted rear windows, a panoramic sunroof, sweeping light clusters, a distinctive grille housing the Alfa Romeo badge and 20-inch alloy wheels with yellow brake calipers to complete the styling.

Move inside and the interior doesn't have quite the same wow factor with quite a lot of hard plastic surfaces. In addition, the sun visor has a large gap where it flips down which is not only irritating, but also causes a lot of glare.

But they are my only slight gripes with the car - a model that I found myself searching for any excuse possible to pop out in.

The Alfa Romeo is kitted out with all the latest kit and infotainment systems, including a pitch perfect Harman Kardon sound system, 8.8-inch Uconnect navigation, DAB radio, Bluetooth, full smartphone connectivity, air conditioning and lots more besides.

When it comes to driving dynamics and handling, the all-wheel-drive Stelvio Quadrifoglio is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

The acceleration can take your breath away and the power levels appear endless with an engine and exhaust soundtrack to match. Thankfully, the instrument panel can be customised to show the speed in very large digits - this is a 'must' on a car that builds up pace so rapidly without a care in the world.

The road-holding is ultra-grippy with the Stelvio operating in two-wheel drive much of the time and the four-wheel drive traction coming into force as and when required.

There is an eight-speed automatic gearbox with large steering column-mounted paddles for added driver engagement, plus a choice of drive modes labelled d, n and a. These stand for Dynamic, Normal and Advanced Efficiency. There is also a Race mode for true hooligan behaviour that switches off the traction systems - once again this needs to be given full respect.

In sensible driving modes, any uneven bumps and dips are smoothed out quite efficiently, but in faster modes, they can send the occasional shudder through the car.

However, the downside to these high-performance antics is the economy. The official combined fuel efficiency is rated at 24.6mpg, but you will see far less if driving ‘enthusiastically' much of the time. The carbon emissions figure is a 222g/km so you won't make many friends amongst the green brigade either.

Our car featured upgraded Sparco Carbonshell Bucket seats, costing £3,250 extra. They certainly looked the business with their black shiny styling. But the solid shell backs are not that comfortable for anyone in the back seats, especially if they have long legs as their knees will be pressed into the rock-hard surface.

But in fairness, there is ample space in the back of the car so this will rarely be an issue and, being an SUV, this pumped up Stelvio is also a practical option with a boot capacity ranging from 525 to 1,600 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

Admittedly, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is not exactly cheap, costing £69,510 - a price that rose steeply to £77,955 with a range of options added, but it's guaranteed to put a smile on the saddest of faces.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio 2.9 B-Turbo Q4

Price:£69,510

Mechanical:510ps, 2,891cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:176mph

0-62mph:3.8 seconds

Combined MPG:24.6 (WLTP)

Insurance Group:50

C02 emissions:222g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles

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