2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio: Sports-car Soul in the Body of an SUV

Alfa Romeo barely dipped its toe in the water when it returned to the North-American market, releasing a few copies of the 8C Competizione and 8C Spider back in 2008/2009, then introducing the low-volume 4C in 2014. However, it is now seeking to make its mark with the new 2017 Giulia sedan, and just screamed “Cannonball!” at the Los Angeles Auto Show by unveiling the Stelvio to the world.

The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio will take the plunge and make some waves in the compact luxury SUV segment, especially in high-performance Quadrifoglio guise. With an overall length of 4680 millimetres, a width of 2160 mm (including mirrors) and a height of 1650 mm, it will rival models such as the Audi Q5, the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the BMW X3/X4 and the Jaguar F-PACE.

The Stelvio and luxury-minded Stelvio Ti versions will feature a turbocharged, 2.0-litre four that develops 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque, an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. According to FCA, the Stelvio boasts a top speed of 232 km/h.

The Q4 AWD system sends 100% of engine torque to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions, but can send up to 60% of available power to the front wheels when slippage occurs. The European press release says the split is 50%, but we’ll sort that out later. New for Alfa is torque vectoring, which means power can shift from one rear wheel to another for maximum grip and enhanced handling characteristics.

As is the case with the Giulia sedan, the crown jewel of the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the Quadrifoglio. Under its hood will lurk a twin-turbocharged, 2.9-litre V6 that belts out 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, good for 0-96 km/h (0-60 km/h) blasts in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 285 km/h.

The Quadrifoglio will also include all-wheel drive, a high-performance braking system, a stiffer suspension, an adaptive damping system (optional on the Stelvio Ti), Alcantara and leather-trimmed sport seats and a race setting in the Alfa DNA drive mode selector. Carbon fibre Sparco racing seats and Brembo ceramic brakes will be optional as well.

The Stelvio will also offer advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning, both with autonomous braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and park sonar. The SUV’s cockpit will be available with what FCA calls an “endless selection of interior colour and trim choices,” in addition to up to 13 paint colours and seven wheel choices ranging from 18 to 21 inches in size.

The 2018 Alfa Romeo will be on sale in 2017, although the exact date and pricing have yet to be confirmed.

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