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Driven: Alfa Romeo fires up Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo aims to grow Stelvio volume with Quadrifoglio high-performance flagship

Alfa Romeo logo22 Mar 2019

ALFA Romeo Australia says it is hoping to replicate the success of the Giulia Quadrifoglio sedan with the mechanically related Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV, although the Italian brand is not keen to publicly commit to a sales target.
 
Speaking to journalists last week at the Stelvio Quadrifoglio national media launch in Albert Park, Victoria, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia president and chief executive officer Steve Zanlunghi said the brand is being “conservative” with its sales projection for the new model and will increase its supply to a certain level if need be.
 
“Obviously this is a special vehicle, and with a special vehicle, you can’t flood the market, which we don’t plan on doing,” he said. “So, if the demand is there, we will bring them in.”
 
Mr Zanlunghi said the Quadrifoglio was only expected to account for 10 per cent of Giulia sales when it launched, but it currently accounts for about 30 per cent of the mix, while the next-step-down Veloce is responsible for another 30 per cent.
 
“We sell a really rich mix,” Alfa Romeo Australia head Fulvio Antonelli added. “One thing that we’ve learn in the past is these models, our high-performance models, are real catalysts for the brand.
 
“We think (the Quadrifoglio) is really going to propel the Stelvio brand moving forward, which is really important for us. We want to sell a few, but we’re also very modest in terms of what we think we can achieve.
 
“For the first time, we’ve actually got a full Stelvio line-up. We’ve had a bit of a staggered introduction of our models, so we’re excited with what 2019 will bring.”
 
The Stelvio (86 units) has outsold the Giulia (48, -52.5%) to the end of February 2019 – its first full year on sale – to assert itself as Alfa Romeo Australia’s best-selling model.
 
Asked if the Stelvio will also prove to be more popular than the Giulia in Quadrifoglio form, Mr Antonelli said: “It would be good, because the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s been a standout performer for us. We’ve got high hopes for the (Stelvio Quadrifoglio).
 
“Even though the (premium SUV) segment is so much bigger than the premium sedan, it will be interesting to see how those purists go, in terms of buying sedan versus SUV.”
 
While Mr Antonelli stopped short of confirming the exact number of pre-sold examples, he did say the order bank was “good”, with buyers able to receive delivery in about a month if purchasing dealer stock, or three to four months if they choose to customise their vehicle.
 
The all-wheel-drive Stelvio Quadrifoglio is priced from $149,900 plus on-road costs, making it $4000 dearer than the rear-wheel-drive Giulia Quadrifoglio.
 
Mr Antonelli said the former’s “aggressive” pricing was aimed squarely at the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S wagon ($165,395) and Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance Package ($146,600).
 
“We know that we need to pull those buyers away from the Mercedes and Porsche,” he said. “We also just wanted to have a really strong value proposition for the range.”
 
According to Mr Antonelli, the difference in driveline will be less of a factor than body style for buyers weighing up the Stelvio and Giulia in Quadrigolio guise, thanks to the rear bias of the former’s Q4 system.
 
As reported, both models are motivated by a Ferrari-developed 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that produces 375kW of power at 6500rpm and 600Nm of torque from 2500 to 5000rpm.
 
In combination with its ZF-sourced eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission (with paddle-shifters), the 1830kg Stelvio Quadrifoglio sprints from standstill to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds while on the way to its top speed of 283km/h.
 
Standard equipment includes 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in a mixed set of Pirelli P Zero tyres (front: 255/45; rear: 285/40), cross-drilled Brembo brake discs (front: 360x32mm; rear: 350x28mm), red-painted six-piston front and four-pot rear brake callipers, active torque vectoring, adaptive dampers, a bi-modal exhaust system with quad tailpipes, four driving modes (Advanced Efficiency, Natural, Dynamic and Race), adaptive bi-Xenon headlights, LED tail-lights, rear privacy glass and roof rails.
 
Inside, an 8.8-inch infotainment system, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, DAB+ digital radio, a 14-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, a 7.0-inch multi-function display, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, eight-way power-adjustable front seats with driver memory and heating, a leather-trimmed sports steering wheel with heating, aluminium sports pedals and scuff plates, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather and Alcantara upholstery, carbon-fibre trim and ambient lighting feature.
 
Advanced driver-assist systems extend to autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, high-beam assist and tyre pressure monitoring.
 
Individual options include carbon-ceramic brakes ($12,000), Sparco carbon-fibre-backed front sports seats ($5000), a dual-pane panoramic sunroof ($2400), black- or yellow-painted brake callipers ($700) and a leather- and Alcantara-trimmed sports steering wheel with a carbon-fibre insert ($500). Metallic ($1300) and tri-coat ($3500) paintwork are also extra-cost.
 
Claimed fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions on the combined cycle test are 10.2 litres per 100 kilometres and 233 grams per kilometre respectively.
 
Measuring in at 4701mm long, 1955mm wide and 1689mm tall with a 2818mm wheelbase, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio provides 525L of cargo capacity with its split-fold rear bench upright, or 1600L with it stowed.
 
As with Alfa Romeo Australia’s other models, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is covered by a three-year/150,000km warranty that includes roadside assistance for the entire term. Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.

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