Alfa Romeo is slogging its way through a comeback in the US, and so today’s news was inevitable: The Italian automaker is building an SUV.
The 2018 Stelvio rewraps Alfa’s heritage of lovely design and sporty dynamics in a bigger package with four-wheel drive. It’s a handsome car with a classy interior and impressive stats: more than 500 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph sprint in just 3.9 seconds.
Named for the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps, one of the world’s greatest driving roads, the SUV is the latest move in Alfa’s plan to spend $6 billion and introduce eight new models to American buyers by 2018. That started with the 4C, a spartan take on the sports car that sees things like power steering as coddling. Then came the BMW 3 Series fighter Giulia sedan.
Alfa’s choice to follow that with the SUV shouldn’t surprise, since just about every high-end automaker, no matter itshistory, isrushing to meet endless consumer demand for the bigger cars. Bentley, Porsche, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Maserati, and Jaguar are all bulking up.
The Stelvio, revealed today at the LA Auto Show, seems up to the challenge of fighting all comers. The new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that powers the base model and the slightly fancier “Ti” version pumps out 280 horsepower and over 300 pound-feet of torque. Enjoy that power while gripping a leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed steering wheel (a nod to motorsports), and riding on 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheels.
The “Quadrifoglio” model gets a 2.9-liter V6, along with 505 horses. If you insist on pretending your SUV’s a racecar, you can opt for carbon fiber racing seats and Brembo ceramic brakes.
Alfa sells cars based largely on heritage, but it acknowledges the future. The Stelvio’s dash combines a digital cluster with a pair of analog gauges, and the infotainment system lives on either a 6.5- or 8.8-inch screen. The car will support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Buyers also get adaptive cruise control and warnings when they’re about to crash into the semi up ahead or are drifting out of their lane.
No word yet on pricing, but expect to see the Stelvio roll onto American shores sometime next year.