GRR Garage: The first few miles with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio
We’ve spent some time with our Alfa Romeo Stelvio now after it recently arrived at GRR HQ, and we’ve managed to come to some conclusions pretty quickly.
It’s very fast, it’s very big and it’s very, very hard to keep clean (seriously, a white SUV is always going to be trouble). But most of all I’ve been struck by how well it manages to hide that mass when you get going.
At slow speeds the Stelvio isn’t particularly fun to live with. The front tyres scrub when you’re manoeuvring and the automatic brake hold grabs for just that little bit too long, making the whole process quite jerky. However when you get out onto a road everything becomes completely different.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is an SUV, ostensibly there is no way around it. But I think the best way I could describe the way it drives would be to say that it’s a really, really big hot hatch. Not a nimble, lightweight hot hatch of old, but one of those modern mid-sized muscular ones.
‘Our’ QV feels fast and nimble when it gets going, and traction off the line is astonishing thanks to the massively rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, which routes some power to the fronts when needed. The steering hides the size of the car well and there’s very little in the way of roll when things get a bit more radial.
But one of the incredible things about the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, is that despite being five metres long and 1.6 metres tall, it weighs in at just 1,800kg. That, for perspective, is roughly the same as the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 we drove recently.
All that put together makes the Stelvio seem to shrink around you, creating this high riding hot hatch that never gives you that slightly worrying wobble that you can find when you push most SUVs to their limits. The world may have changed dramatically to the point at which Alfa Romeo have had to produce this type of car, but they haven’t let it change the Alfa spirit just yet.