We’re driving the Veloce spec of the newest Alfa Romeo Stelvio today – the latest version of the stonking Quadrifoglio will arrive later in the year. That means a four-cylinder petrol engine pumping out 280PS (206kW) and 400Nm (295 lb-ft) – all exactly the same as the stats in the Giulia Veloce saloon.
Despite being heavier than the Giulia, the Stelvio manages the sprint to 62mph in exactly the same time – 5.7 seconds – thanks to a four-wheel-drive system that is standard. It’s all rooted through an eight-speed automatic gearbox which you can control through Alfa Romeo’s wildly pleasing metal paddles.
Power delivery is smooth, with a little lag, as peak torque doesn’t kick in until over 2,200rpm. But the throttle response is pleasing, and the gearbox is also nice and swift, meaning even in automatic mode you can mostly get the performance you want from the Stelvio. Its ace is still a lovely chassis, which makes the Stelvio feel like a much smaller car than it actually is. Not quite as pin sharp as the Quad – with damping tuned far more toward day-to-day use – but still able to produce linear and expected responses on a flowing road.
The Stelvio’s steering is just the right balance between heavy and light, not suffering from the higher ride over the Giulia, and responding well to the actions of the front axle. With the power heading to all four wheels, there is a slight hint of torque steer when you ask for all of the 400Nm, but nothing that’s going to send you shifting around like a hot hatch.
The four-wheel-drive system adds a layer of safety to the experience that its rear-driven sibling doesn’t have at all times, and the Stelvio does a fantastic job of feeling like something with that famous badge on its nose. The mixture of that slightly rear-biassed all-wheel-drive system, which can pull the nose through a corner, and the standard limited-slip differential make the Stelvio feel like it can react in a much more nimble way than such a big car should have a right to.
When everything calms down the Stelvio Veloce never succumbs to feeling too harsh, and the steering isn’t so tuned toward performance that it becomes a hindrance around town.