What it is: The latest in a string of Italian blasphemies that should make the Pope blush and will undoubtedly be the best-selling Alfa Romeo in the U.S.
Alfa Romeo predates Ferrari. In fact, Enzo Ferrari got his big break running the Alfa Romeo Grand Prix racing team in the Thirties. In 1947, he set up on his own and when Scuderia Ferrari beat Alfa Romeo not long after, Enzo wailed operatically. “I have killed my mother.”
Is there no limit to the tortures to which our testing would subject a car?
Over the past few months we’ve hammered the Giulia Quadrifoglio till its tyres combusted, and – all in the name of rigorous enquiry, y’know – repeated the process at Alfa’s track, and Red Bull’s and finally our own. We’ve pasted it up and down an Italian mountain pass. And then, to be quite sure we had judged it absolutely correctly the first time, an Austrian one too. Continue reading “2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Is Ready For The City-Test”
Crucial diesel version of Alfa’s new saloon promises more than just catwalk looks
The arrival of a Giulia in the UK feels like a watershed moment. For now, the steering wheel remains on the wrong side for UK, but soon that will change and the nation’s compact exec buyers will have the option of a proper rear-drive Alfa for the first time since the mid-1980s 75.
Alfa Romeo claims its new SUV will eclipse all rivals on performance in 503bhp Quadrifoglio guise; on sale early next year, priced from around £40k
Alfa Romeo’s new four- wheel-drive Stelvio Quadrifoglio, unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show in November 2016, stands to be the fastest SUV yet built, its makers claim.
The 503bhp Stelvio Quadrifoglio packs an impressive 65bhp more than the most powerful Porsche Macan, can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 3.9sec and is predicted to lap the Nurburgring in less than eight minutes. The hot new SUV uses much of the running gear of the potent twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon shown in Frankfurt last year and it sits on the same unique-to-Alfa Giorgio platform.
“The 503bhp, all-wheel-drive Stelvio Quadrifoglio can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 3.9sec”
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio sits above a range of three equipment levels and a line-up in Europe that will include 2.0 petrol and 2.2 diesel engines and a rear-wheel drive option.
Made in Alfa Romeo’s recently refitted Cassino factory, the model is expected to be on sale in Europe in the first quarter of next year and in the US by the middle of the year. However, it won’t be available in right-hand drive until the third quarter of 2017, probably as the diesel version that Alfa expects to be the biggest seller in the UK.
Following this, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will arrive with an all-aluminium, twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine, shared with the Giulia Quadrifoglio and producing 503bhp and 443lb ft.
Unlike the Giulia, though, the hot Stelvio will be offered with four-wheel drive only, with Alfa Romeo’s Q4 system – which sends 100% of the torque rearwards in normal conditions but can divide it between the front and rear by up to 50/50 – coupled with torque vectoring for the first time.
Alfa Romeo boss Reid Bigland confirmed that the Stelvio will also come in a rear-driven, lower-power form. He claimed the car is light for its class in that guise and also hinted that a new 207bhp diesel engine, first used in the Giulia Veloce, would feature in this Stelvio variant.
Bigland said the Stelvio would stand out in its congested segment because of its handling. “The reason people will buy our mid-sized SUV is because they will be blown away by the driving dynamics,” he said. “Every car Alfa makes must stand apart for that reason and this car will not disappoint.”
Bigland has predicted that the car will lap the Nurburgring in less than eight minutes. A Porsche Panamera Turbo has been recorded lapping the track in 7min 56sec.
“The Stelvio is uniquely engineered to challenge two-door cars on the track without compromising the SUV side of its character,” said Bigland. “We have leveraged Ferrari to help deliver class-leading power and it will also come with Alfa Romeo’s Q4 all-wheel drive system.”
“The Quadrifoglio comes with a Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre V6 producing 503bhp mated to an eight-speed automatic and a torque vectoring system to make it rear-wheel biased and feel like a two-door coupe would. We didn’t just leverage Ferrari engineers for performance. We needed it to perform like an Alfa Romeo, and the Quadrifoglio will be the fastest SUV at the Nurburgring. While the Stelvio seems to go against our 105-year history, one minute behind the wheel and around one corner will show it is no different.”
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s eight-speed automatic gearbox has been tuned to shift gears in 150 milliseconds in its Race mode. The driver can also shift gears using steering column-mounted aluminium paddles. There are four selectable drive modes: Dynamic, Natural, running-cost-friendly Advanced Efficiency and performance-orientated Race.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio also gets optional carbon-ceramic brakes and Alfa’s Integrated Brake System, which is claimed to reduce stopping distances by combining a stability control system with the brake servo. The suspension comprises double wishbones at the front and a four-and-a-half-link set-up at the rear. Adjustable dampers also feature.
Bigland has predicted that the Stelvio will become Alfa’s best-selling model, overtaking the Giulia saloon.
Elsewhere in the Stelvio range, there will be a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 276bhp and 295lb ft. Bigland confirmed this engine would be capable of taking the SUV from zero to 60mph in 5.4sec. This implies that the Stelvio will get a warm- performance Veloce variant to sit below the Quadrifoglio, because the same engine is also used in the Giulia Veloce.
Alfa Romeo hasn’t confirmed any other engines, but a source revealed that the existing 2.0 litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines from the Giulia will complete the range. The 2.0 litre petrol unit makes 197bhp and 243lb ft in the Giulia, while the 2.2 diesel comes in 148bhp and 178bhp forms, both producing 332lb ft.
Three trim levels have been confirmed but not yet named. In the US, the car will also be available in a fourth specification, called Ti, which comes with 19in alloys and an 8.8in infotainment screen in place of the standard 6.5in unit. There’s also wood trim inside and Sport and Lusso packages will be offered. Across the range – in the US at least – Alfa’s 04 four-wheel drive system will be fitted as standard.
The Stelvio was developed in Alfa Romeo’s Modena engineering facility and will be built in Italy alongside the Giulia in the Cassino plant.
The Stelvio is one of the more compact premium mid-sized SUVs, at 4686mm long,1677mm tall (including antenna) and 1903mm wide (2163mm with mirrors). By comparison, the Macan Turbo is marginally longer, squatter and wider, at 4699mm long, 1624mm tall and 1923mm wide.
Alfa claims a perfect 50/50 weight distribution has been achieved for the Quadrifoglio model, partly thanks to its use of carbonfibre on the driveshaft and the same material across the bodywork and many components. Alfa Romeo has yet to reveal the car’s kerb weight.
The Quadrifoglio model is marked out by bodywork upgrades that include carbonfibre-detailed side skirts, more aggressive bumpers and wider wheel arches. Atop the bootlid sits a rear spoiler, which, Alfa says, is aerodynamically beneficial rather than merely aesthetic. There are also intercooler vents at the front that are specific to the Quadrifoglio.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is expected to top the range at around £65,000 and the standard car is likely to cost from around £40,000.The Quadrifoglio is expected to reach dealers next summer. The 276bhp 2.0-litre Stelvio will go on sale before it – the opposite of the approach taken with the Giulia. It’s thought that the Stelvio will be available with a manual gearbox in lower-spec versions, although this is unconfirmed.
“The Stelvio may he joined by two more SUVs in the near future – one smaller and one larger”
The Stelvio may be joined by two more Alfa SUVs in the near future – one smaller and one larger – as well as an estate version of the Giulia and a BMW 5 Series rival in what will become a nine-strong model offensive by 2022.
The Stelvio is the first SUV Alfa Romeo has made, but its importance is recognised by former boss HaraId Wester, who said: “You can remain pure and ignore the crossover trend, but if you do, you can look forward to a beautiful death.”
After a century in business, Alfa gets round to building an SUV. And it’s based on The Giulia…
How unnervingly refreshing it is for us to bring you news of all-new Romeo – the first SUV ever to carry the Alfa name, no less, and not have to awkwardly tiptoe around the likelihood that it’ll probably be a bit… rubbish. The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio (cor, Alfa’s in a sweet spot with car names right now, isn’t it?) is heavily based upon the foundations for the Giulia saloon (see what we mean?), which ripped up the formbook earlier in the year by actually being good. Better than that, in fact. A genuine contender versus the likes of BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes. So its taller sibling has a headstart in life.
The Stelvio’s reveal strategy is following the same tried-and-tested template that worked for the 3-Series-sized saloon too. The worthy diesels with their polite CO2 emissions and doubtless tempting monthly repayment schemes are being held in the wings. Instead, first get to clap eyes on the flagship, the range-topper, the fast one. This is the Stelvio Quadrifoglio Verde.
That mouthful means it relies on the same mechanicals as the Giulia QV saloon, which in turn means this is a family SUV powered by what is to a certain extent a Ferrari engine. Alfa doesn’t like the association (Ferrari even less so, you’ll be thoroughly unsurprised to learn), preferring to pigeonhole the twin-turbocharged, 2.9-litre V6 as “inspired by Ferrari technologies and know-how”. But in broader engineering terms, you’re getting a five-seat family SUV pushed along by three-quarters of a Ferrari California T’s bi-turbo V8. Some pedigree.
Alfa’s not yet revealed how quickly the V6’s 503bhp will get you from 0-62mph and beyond, but Porsche Macan Turbos and Jaguar F-Paces could be fiendishly outgunned if the Stelvio can nail all that power onto the road.
The launch of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV at the Los Angeles motor show this month will kick-start a revival plan for the Italian marque that is mapped out to include up to nine new car launches in the next five years – potentially ushering in a rival for the BMW 5 Series, a flagship large SUV and a new sports car. Buoyed by the positive early reception for the 3 Series-rivalling Giulia and with the new Giulia-based Stelvio SUV set to be in dealerships in summer 2017, new boss Reid Bigland is crystallising plans to turn around faltering sales figures and re-energisethe brand with a dramatic series of new model launches -hinged around the SUV boom – to create substantial sales growth by 2020. Bigland, a former head of North America for Alfa Romeo and president of the Ram and Dodge brands, was brought in to head up Alfa and Maserati in May this year, with the express goal from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group boss Sergio Marchionne of kick-starting Alfa’s latest faltering sales revival.
Despite a €5 billion investment plan being unveiled in 2014, it was set back by two years after technical problems delayed the launch of the Giulia and investment for growth in key markets such as China was not forthcoming. “Our goal is absolutely to go toe to toe with the Germans, but that’s not a two-year plan. We’re just not going to get there that quickly,” said Bigland. “They’re in every segment and spinning derivatives off those segments. “Even with the new [Stelvio] SUV, we will only have 50% coverage of the market. We need to pick our strategy and get it right. We have one chance to make the best possible car with every launch.”
The turnaround is much needed but has Marchionne’s backing because it is also potentially highly lucrative. Alfa’s annual sales in the modern era peaked at just over 200,000 cars in 2001 but have since slid dramatically, as the model line-up has contracted and aged, to a current level of barely 60,000. However, the launch of the Giulia has created a potentially lucrative foothold in the premium brand heartland and the arrival of the Stelvio will drive profits further, because SUVs command a higher sticker price than traditional saloons.
Family of new SUVs – The Stelvio SUV – which is yet to be officially named but which Marchionne referred to by this name12 months ago under questioning – will be a rival for the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi 05.
Speaking to Autocar, Bigland refused to be drawn on whether the Stelvio name would make production-Kamal has also been strongly rumoured – but he outlined why it will stand out from its rivals. “The reason people will buy our mid-sized SUV is because they will get blown away by the driving dynamics,” he said. “Every car Alfa makes must stand apart for that reason. This car will not disappoint.” It is expected to be pitched as a dynamic competitor to the Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan, priced from around £40,000 and powered by a range of familiar four and six-cylinder diesel and petrol engines.
To emphasise the SUV’s sporty credentials, a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6-powered Quadrofoglio version is being prepared. Bigland also hinted that a larger SUV is likely to make production as part of Alfa’s five-year plan. “The whole world is gravitating to SUVs,” he said. “A few years ago, an Alfa SUV would have been sacrilegious, but now it makes perfect sense. Our job is to keep an eye on consumer preferences and give people what they want.” It is understood the large SUV could be based on the same underpinnings as the Maserati Levante and appear in early 2018 as a BMWX5 and Audi 07 rival. Again, it would be pitched on its dynamic capabilities, which, Bigland conceded, would rule out a utility-focused seven-seater. “Whatever car Alfa Romeo makes must stand apart for its agility, noise and general driving experience,” he said. “A large SUV can work in that space – the Maserati Levante proves that – but it’s a five not seven-seater.”
The large SUV’s success or otherwise is said to be fulcrum on which Alfa’s latest revival plan will hinge. That’s because it will be a relatively high-profit car that could underpin future investment in other models and because accelerating growth in the SUV market could prompt Alfa to put off development of a larger saloon than the Giulia. Asked if an SUV could be Alfa’s halo model, potentially displacing the launch of a 5 Series rival, Bigland said: “Ten years ago I’d have said we need the saloon to credibly take on the Germans. Now, the explosion in SUV sales changes that. I’m not saying we won’t do the saloon, but it might not be next on the list.” Additionally, one further SUV bodystyle is said to be under consideration, probably for launch at the end of the decade. Potentially, it could be a coupe version of the Stelvio -in the style of the BMWX4-but rumours persist that if the Giulietta hatchback is replaced, a BMW X1 rival would also be spun off the platform.
Expanding the saloon line-up – The next new production model expected after the Stelvio is tipped to be a Giulia estate. It is slated to be shown at the 2017 Geneva motor show and insiders say the design team has been charged with prioritising a sporty look over a need for class-leading luggage space. However, it will not be as dramatically proportioned as the Alfa 159 Sportswagon, which had less boot space than the saloon in certain seat configurations. Benchmarking is reported to have centred on the BMW 3 Series Touring. Less clear is whether Alfa will launch a 5 Series rival. It is talked about internally as the Alfa Romeo Alfetta as a nod to the saloon and fastback of the 1970s and 1980s, and launch plans are said to have been drawn up to an advanced stage.
Stelvio promises to stand out for its handling; on sale next year, with a 500bhp-plus V6 range-topper
Although no technical specifications for the mid-sized SUV – rumoured to be called the Stelvio – have yet been released, Bigland confirmed that it is being engineered for driving enjoyment.
“The reason people will buy our mid-sized SUV is because they will get blown away by the driving dynamics,” he said. “Every car Alfa Romeo makes must stand apart for that reason, and this car wil not disappoint.”
Alfa’s SUV has been spotted testing in light camouflage ahead of its debut early next year. The development car was the first to be seen in public without heavy cladding and revealed its lengthy bonnet and coupe-like roof line for the first time.
I t’s thought the Stelvio will share its 2.2-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol engines with the Giulia saloon, most likely available in various states of tune. The twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 from the range-topping Giulia Quadrifoglio is also set to feature in the Stelvio, with as much as 503bhp. Such a range-topping model would beangled directly at the Macan.
The Stelvio will be built upon Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ new modular platform, which will also give rise to a new executive saloon to rival the likes of the BMW 5 Series.
This will be followed by two more SUVs, one larger than the Stelvio and one smaller. Two further ‘speciality’ models will then complete Alfa Romeo’s current product plans.
Bigland said the arrival of SUVs in Alfa Romeo’s line-up reflects market demand. “The whole world is gravitating to SUVs,” he said. “A few years ago, an Alfa SUV would have been sacrilegious, but now it makes perfect sense.”
Following the arrival of a mid-size Alfa Romeo SUV early next year, the brand is expected to launch a full-size SUV, possibly sharing technology with sister brand Maserati’s Levante.
“When you look at SUVs, the whole world seems to be gravitating towards them. A few years ago, the notion of an Alfa or Maserati SUV was a little sacrilegious, but you need to go where the consumer preference is going. It could be a larger SUV or a halo-type sporty coupé like a 6C, but you need to keep an eye on where the market and consumer preference is going – and that’s all SUVs.”
However, the car won’t be a seven-seater.
Driven by Dustin Hoffman to the strains of Simon and Garfunkel in the film The Graduate, the Alfa Spider has become one of the most accessible cult Italian cars. This is hardly surprising when you consider the little Alfa’s considerable virtues: a wonderfully responsive all-alloy, twin-cam engine, accurate steering, sensitive brakes, a finely balanced chassis, plus movie idol looks.
By the early 1950s the frenetic developments in rocketry and aeronautical engineering were beginning to be absorbed by the front runners in motor sport and car design. Alfa Romeo teamed up with the specialist Italian design house of Bertone with the single aim of exploring the lowest possible drag coefficient for a functioning car.
The Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003 saw the first appearance of an ab-fab Alfa Romeo two-seater coupe. Although its rounded body and streamlined profile were thoroughly modern, the prototype 8C Competizione had styling cues that harked back to great Alfas of the 1930s and 1940s and the name was a direct reference to the 6C Competizione that ran so well in Mille Miglia races and won the 1950 Targo Florio. Continue reading “Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione – 2007”
The gorgeous Brera concept car was shown at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show, powered by a Maserati V8 engine and sporting unusual doors that opened upwards. The reception it received was positive enough to encourage Alfa to plan a production run. The first cars appeared in 2005 and, although the Brera looked exactly like the original, it had actually shrunk from the full-sized GT concept coupe into a mid-sized two-door coupe. Continue reading “Alfa Romeo Brera – 2005”
Alfa Romeo’s reputation could never be said to rest on reliable engineering. Alfas have always been about looks and speed — cars that are built to impress rather than to last. By the late 1970s, this notorious lack of dependability was beginning to seriously affect sales of the popular Alfetta four-cylinder rear-wheel drive saloon. Rather than deal with the reliability issue, Alfa’s solution was simply to introduce more fab-looking fast cars to its range. Continue reading “Alfa Romeo GTV6 – 1981”
Almost as rare as the Yeti and just as powerful, ‘II Monstro’ (`The Monster’) was a limited edition collaboration between Alfa Romeo and the design wizard Andrea Zagato. It was a high performance super coupe with the underlying menace of an aggressive bulldog. In effect, Zagato was capo dei capi of a number of high performance and racing design teams who had contributed to the SZ. Using the Alfa Romeo 75 saloon as a basis for most of the mechanics, Fiat’s own design studio came up with the controversial ‘flying wedge’ styling, rigidifying and stabilizing the chassis by bonding the GRP composite body to the steel frame. Continue reading “Alfa Romeo SZ (ES-30) – 1989”
Fiat took over Alfa Romeo while the Alfa 164 was in development, so the car is considered the last independent model of that illustrious marque. In fact Fiat’s influence anticipated the 164’s genesis by years, because in 1978 Alfa Romeo had agreed to co-build the Type Four chassis with Fiat, who made it their Croma model, Lancia (Thema) and Saab (Saab 9000). Continue reading “Alfa Romeo 164 – 1988”
The first production Montreal was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970 and attracted crowds of admirers — and no wonder. Alfa had come up with a very distinctive 2+2 coupe that seemed to tick all the boxes. For a start, it was a handsome, classically styled two-door sports coupe in the best Italian tradition, designed by Bertone. But the real appeal lay beneath the bonnet, where a fuel-injected 2.6 litre V8 lurked, capable of pumping out 200 bhp. With the help of a five-speed ZF gearbox and limited-slip differential this meant the Alfa Romeo Montreal was a mean performer, with rapid acceleration and an impressive top speed. Continue reading “Alfa Romeo Montreal – 1970”
The 1970s opened in style for lovers of sporty Alfa Romeos, who had been metaphorically licking their lips since the Junior Zagato was presented at the Turin Motor Show in November 1969. It was part of Alfa’s 105 series and shared a floorpan — and lots of components —with the Giulia Spider, although the Junior Z was altogether more exclusive. Continue reading “Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato – 1970”
The 1970s opened in style for lovers of sporty Alfa Romeos, who had been metaphorically licking their lips since the Junior Zagato was presented at the Turin Motor Show in November 1969. It was part of Alfa’s 105 series and shared a floorpan – and lots of components -with the Giulia Spider, although the Junior Z was altogether more exclusive.
Made famous by Dustin Hoffman in the film The Graduate, the Spider was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966, just when the era of the ‘muscle car’ was reaching its height. Based on the chassis of the Giulia 105, a lightweight car with a powerful engine, it was designed and built by Battista Pininfarina. It was to be the last car he worked on – he died only a month after the Spider’s introduction.
For some years Alfa Romeo competed successfully on the race track by using modified production cars, but in 1967 the company adopted a new approach — the 2 litre Tipo 33 racer was built from scratch.