Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, dynamic
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, front
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, rear
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, dashboard
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, boot
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, 2018, front, action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, 2018, rear, action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, 2018, side, action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, 2018, front seats

IT'S a simple enough adornment to put on the exterior of a car and most people wouldn't even really notice it.

But for Alfa Romeo aficionados the addition of a small hand enamelled badge with a clover leaf on it means the car they are looking at is something special.

It means it's a Quadrifoglio version - Italian for four-leaf clover - and that means Performance with a capital P.

It's the equivalent of BMW's M badged cars or Mercedes-Benz's AMG models and not a car for the faint hearted.

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio - driven here - for example boasts a whopping 510bhp giving it a top speed of 176 miles per hour and a 0-62mph acceleration time of just 3.8 seconds.

This flagship - or perhaps rocket ship would be a better term - of the Alfa range has a 2.9-litre V6 engine developed with the help of Ferrari, and provenance doesn't come much better than that.

The engine is mated to a warp-speed - sorry eight-speed - automatic gearbox that in race mode will change gear in just 150 milliseconds.

But the Stelvio Quadrifoglio isn't a budget priced Ferrari. In fact it isn't a budget priced anything with a price tag of almost £70,000.

Add a few extras like a carbon ceramic braking system at £5,900, carbon-shell bucket seats at £3,250 and a special three-coat paint finish at £2,500, to mention just three, and my car for the week had an on-the-road price of well over £85,000.

With its massive wheel arches, dynamic side skirts, striking vents in the bonnet and along the side, deep lustre red paintwork, 20-inch black alloy wheels and four exhaust pipes the Quadrifoglio is an SUV that's hard to miss.

The sporty styling continues on the interior too with a plethora of carbon fibre on the dashboard, centre console and doors while a lush mix of leather and Alcantara on the seats ensures the cockpit lives up to the car's price.

Press the red starter button on the steering wheel - would you expect anything less on a Quadrifoglio - and the giant bi-turbo engine bursts into life with a superb roar from the quadruple exhausts.

Turn the driving mode button to race mode if you're bold enough and the note goes up even higher but beware because in this format you have also switched off the traction control so care is definitely needed.

For most people normal or dynamic mode is sufficient to give thrill-a-minute motoring with blistering acceleration that will literally throw you back in your carbon fibre seat.

Fortunately the Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes with Q4 all-wheel-drive so all that power is put directly onto the road with no wheelspin and superb control.

Even in normal mode though the ride is firm and a little choppy but the active suspension system which is continually controlling the suspension and shock absorbers ensures grip is never a problem whatever the speed.

If you opt for dynamic or race mode the suspension firms up even more but never really at the price of comfort.

Alfa's foray into the SUV market with the Stelvio has produced a car which offers plenty of shoulder room and a general feeling of spaciousness in the cabin for passengers.

And despite its more than generous proportions and slightly restricted rear view vision when reversing it's an easy car to manoeuvre and park thanks to parking sensors front and rear as well as a rear view camera, although the on-screen view is relatively small compared to a lot of cars.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Price: £69,510

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

Max Speed: 176mph

0-62mph: 3.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 24.6

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions: 222g/km

Bik rating: 37%

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