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Future models - Alfa Romeo - Stelvio

LA show: Alfa Romeo Stelvio revealed at last

Jacked-up Italian: Based on the Giulia sedan platform, the new Stelvio SUV will share many of its underpinnings, including powertrains.

Alfa Romeo’s Porsche Macan-baiting Stelvio SUV finally breaks cover

Alfa Romeo logo17 Nov 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

TWO decades in the planning and after one false start with the 2003 Kamal Concept, the first production SUV from Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo has finally been unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Dubbed the Stelvio and aimed at the burgeoning medium-sized performance SUV set defined by the Porsche Macan, Audi SQ5 and Jaguar F-Pace, the Italian-built sports-luxury crossover will arrive in Australia in the first quarter of 2018.

Pricing is yet to be announced, but a kick-off in excess of $65,000 plus on-road costs for the base version is likely. A performance-orientated Ti variant will also be in the mix.

With an all-wheel-drive platform derived from the rear-drive-biased Giulia sedan due next year, the Modena-designed and developed Alfa SUV will employ many of the Giulia’s powertrains, including a 206kW/415Nm 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder petrol turbo matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission that ought to be the mainstay of the range.

Standard specification should include 18-inch alloys, powered tailgate, leather upholstery, a rearview camera with parking sensors all round, multi-zone climate control, and keyless start.

Moving up to the Ti brings niceties like 19-inch wheels, wood cabin trim, and an 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment display (up from a 7.0-inch item).

Additionally, the Italians will offer Sport and Lusso packages on this version to add a bit of show to the go.

To help keep the German and British competition up at night, a “Ferrari technologies inspired” 375kW/600Nm 2.9-litre V6 BiTurbo in the flagship Quadrifoglio is capable of hurtling the newcomer to 100km/h from standstill in a tidy 3.9 seconds, on the way to a 285km/h top speed.

To help contain all that performance, the Stelvio will usher in a torque vectoring traction device, as well as the distance-cutting Integrated Brake System.

Also underlining its performance bent, the Q4 AWD set-up is essentially 100 per cent rear-drive, dropping to 40 per cent as front-wheel traction needs dictate.

Weight distribution is said to be 50/50, the steering is said to be very direct, while aluminium can be found in the front and rear vehicle frames, front shock towers, brakes, suspension components (double wishbones in the nose, a multi-link setup out back), doors and mudguards, providing lightness and strength.

Still on safety, the expected litany of driver-assist features will be offered, including Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus that brings the vehicle to a full stop if the driver fails to apply the brakes, as well as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure tech.

Other Quadrifoglio benefits include fancy leather and Alcantara electric front seats, a unique wheel presentation, a leather-sheathed dashboard panel, carbon-fibre highlights, and the brand’s trademark four-mode DNA Pro selector with Race mode, torque vectoring differential, and uniquely-tuned adaptive suspension, racier dials complete with a 320km/h speedo, and cylinder deactivation.

Sparco racing seats and high-performance Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are optional on this version.

Alfa will also make a Q2 Mechanical Limited-Slip Differential available within a Performance Package for improved traction, backed up by a Chassis Domain Control system that also oversees the aforementioned torque vectoring, stability control system, and active suspension components where fitted (standard on Quadrifoglio, optional on Ti). Highlighting the sporting intent, the driveshaft on all models is made from ultra-strong and lightweight carbon-fibre.

Dimensionally, the Stelvio is within millimetres of the Macan, as the 4680mm length, 1650mm height, and 2160mm width (with mirrors) prove.

Named after a famous zigzagging road in the Italian Alps, the Stelvio will lead a new-model assault vanguard on the US and world markets from next year, to help make the Alfa Romeo brand a truly international alternative in the hotly contested luxury car arena.

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