The quick and nimble Guilia sedan upon which its based turned heads when it landed on U.S. shores for 2017, but the Stelvio, by virtue of it being in the hottest segment in the auto industry, looks to bring buyers into Alfa showrooms in earnest. Its pricing certainly will help, with the base model starting at $41,995 and the more sumptuously equipped Ti version at $43,995; the mandatory delivery charge is $995 either way.
Both iterations come powered by an aluminum 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces a quick 280 horsepower with 306 pound-feet of launch-happy torque (0-60 mph in around 5.4 seconds). All wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission come standard across the line. The turbo-four is about as lively as the standard V6 powerplants that reside under the hoods of the Stelvio’s closest contenders, including the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and Porsche Cayenne; all at around 300 horses each, but with fewer pound-feet of torque to back them up.
Price-wise, the Stelvio looks to undercut those heady entries by a considerable amount. By comparison, the Audi Q5 with only a 220-horsepower turbo-four under the hood starts at $40,900, while the similarly powered V6 X5 starts at $56,600, the GLE at $52,000 and the Cayenne at $59,600.
Not yet priced is the red-hot Stelvio Quadrifoglio version that will snap necks with the decidedly aggressive Ferrari-based 2.9-liter 505-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 shared with the Guilia Quadrifoglio. That model is expected to set the pavement ablaze with a 0-60 mph time at a scenery-blurring 3.9 seconds and achieve a top speed of 177 mph, with eager driving dynamics that benefit from an adjustable suspension, a torque-vectoring differential, and the aforementioned AWD system the top Guilia model lacks. We’d expect a starting price of at least $80,000 here.
All Stelvio models come with the automaker’s DNA drive mode selector that lets the driver tailor select performance characteristics for more or less aggressive behavior. Other standard items include a 18-inch aluminum wheels, forward collision warning with auto-braking, leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights and tail lamps, rear parking proximity sensors, a remote starter, push-button entry/start, and a power liftgate.
The Ti rides on 19-inch wheels, and adds amenities like genuine wood interior trim, an 8.8-inch widescreen dashboard display, front parking sensors, and both heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Available Sport Packages ($1,800 and $2,500, respectively) add a sport suspension, larger wheels and tires, steering wheel paddle shifters, and specific trim items. A Ti Lusso version will join the line later in the model year with plusher Pieno Fiore Italian leather seats with Cannelloni inserts and other upgrades.
The Stelvio, by the way, is named after the Stelvio Pass, which is the highest mountain pass in Italy that darts and curves its way to a 9,000-foot elevation, and was chosen by Britian’s “Top Gear” TV show as the “greatest driving road in the world.” We’ll see if its namesake lives up to the challenge later this year.