What’s in the garage?
It’s faster around the Nurburgring than a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4, and yet it can carry four in comfort, and the thought of taking it down a dirt road won’t make you cringe. Say hello to the bag of contradictions that is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q. As the flagship of the Stelvio SUV range, the Q is a hardcore performance-focused halo, and is fitted with the Ferrari-developed twin-turbo V6 that makes the Giulia Q sedan a Mercedes-AMG C63 fighter. The 2.9-litre six-cylinder produces 375kW and 600Nm, fed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic, which all coalesces to a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.8 seconds. Want one? Alfa will take $149,900 from your back pocket to park it in your driveway.
What we reckon
Power and performance
What can we say about the Stelvio Q’s performance? Much of what is said when the loud pedal is stomped is a mixture of words not fit for print, and wild, cackling laughter. WIth the same power as the Giulia Q sedan, but with the added traction of all-wheel drive, the Stelvio Q is a weapon in a straight line. There’s not much that will have you worried at the traffic light grand prix, even when you have a car load of mates and luggage. Power is delivered in a ferocious fashion, with the turbos spooling up swiftly. The Stelvio has a killer soundtrack to accompany the punch as well, with evocative crackles and pops emitted from the exhausts as you tear down the road.
Ride and handling
Alfa Romeo’s steering is one of the best in the business at the moment, and the Stelvio Q is no different. With a rapid rack, corner turn in is rapid and frantic – it can be easy to underestimate the speed of the steering, seeing the nose dart to an apex quicker than expected. Being a performance focused SUV, the ride will not be as congenial as tamer siblings in the Stelvio range, with the Q sacrificing compliance for control. This trade comes to fruition in the bends, where the Stelvio Q says ‘stuff you’ to physics and conventional norms. Despite the jacked-up ride height of the SUV styling, and inherent dynamic flaws that comes with it, the Stelvio Q is an engaging corner carver, with communicative steering, and impressive body control.
Interior and comfort
It’s at this point that the Stelvio Q falls short. Rear legroom is cramped for an SUV of this size, with taller adults banging their knees against the optional carbon-backed seats. Allowing the Stelvio to be such a riot in the corners also means ride comfort is compromised, with a stiff suspension set-up that can be tiresome on rougher Aussie roads. We also had some interior quality issues with our test car – the electric adjustment buttons for the driver’s seat came loose from their fitting, and fell into a recess underneath the rails. The quality of the materials used inside isn’t up to scratch compared to comparatively priced rivals – despite copious amounts of carbonfibre lavishing the cabin.
While it’s dressed in a sensible SUV body style, the Stelvio Q is anything but. It’s not as nicely finished as its rivals, or as practical, but for driving entertainment it is near unparalleled in its segment. If you are truly married to the idea of owning an SUV, but driving enjoyment is also a high priority, then the Stelvio Q is for you.
ALFA ROMEO STELVIO Q 2019 PRICING AND SPEC
Model: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q
Engine: 2.9-litre V60 (90), dohc, 24v, twin-turbo
Max power: 375kW @ 6500rpm
Max torque: 600Nm @ 2500-5000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h: 3.8sec (claimed)
On sale: Now
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