The Italian luxury car brand chose the pictures incomplete Jebel Jais mountain road in the Ras Al Khaimah region of the United Arab Emirates (“the Stelvio Pass of the Gulf region”) to introduce the flagship of its Stelvio executive SUV, a model range that recently became available in South Africa and has drawn mixed, but mostly positive, media reviews.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is essentially the off-roader version of the Giulia Quadrifoglio super saloon, with the not-insignificant addition of a Q4 all-wheel-drive system that can dynamically apportion up to 100% of the 375 kW/600 Nm produced by the Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 to the newcomer’s rear wheels, with a maximum of 50% available to the front of the car as driving conditions require.
Inside, the Super derivative’s drab textured, dark grey dashboard has given way to a leather-trimmed and contrast stitched appointment and the unit we drove had lavish lashings of carbon fibre on the seatbacks, console, dashboard, handle inserts and steering wheel.
These deliberate adornments are exactly what the Stelvio’s stylish interior needed. It may not be a class-leading in terms of fit and finish, but its quite acceptable and now features Apple Carplay and Android Auto functionality.
Yes, it has that Vroom!
Reams of copy have appeared in an exaltation of the Quadrifoglio’s Ferrari-flavoured 2.9-litre twin-turbo motor, but whereas the 3.8-second 0-100 kph and 283 kph headline stats speak for themselves, they do not convey the instantaneous throttle responses, innate flexibility and aural character of the forced-induction V6. Many turbocharged motors sound a trifle muffled and dull – even upon full-bore acceleration – and that hint of lag between throttle input and the accelerative response is ever-present. To its credit, the Alfa’s engine is singular in its character: in the mid-range, it emits a brawny yawl and, as it strives towards the upper reaches of its rev range, it positively sings.