Alfa Romeo is not-so-quietly confident about the dynamic abilities of the Stelvio, its first ever SUV. ‘If you close your eyes in the passenger seat, you’ll ask yourself: “what kind of sports car am I in”?’ says Alfredo Altavilla, Alfa’s COO of Europe, with a twinkle in his eye. Its lack of handling compromise is claimed to be the reason Altavilla and chums cancelled plans for a Giulia sportwagon.
Alfa Romeo has German brands firmly in its sights, with the Stelvio poised to steal sales from the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC, as well as the Porsche Macan and British Jaguar F-Pace. With the premium compact SUV market so competitive, newcomers need a unique selling point to establish their name and the Stelvio has certainly managed to distinguish itself from the crowd.
And it looks and even smells good inside, too. The basic dash architecture is pretty much a carbon copy of the Giulia’s, with a central 8.8in infotainment screen to the side of the two distinctive-to-Alfa main instruments, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The Stelvio faces stiff competition from a renewed Audi Q5, the Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace, but it certainly deserves short-listing if its turns out to be as impressive on the road as it is on the track.