The steering is a joy through this section—not to mention the rest of the lap. Its impossibly quick ratio is fast in the Giulia, and feels almost frantic in the Stelvio. But while its speed and directness takes some adjusting to, the quick-twitch behavior is addicting. It’s what allows me to make adjustments during these fast corners with tiny changes in the steering angle.
I ended each stint with a one-lap cooldown, which I usually spent thinking about how the Stelvio Quadrifoglio falls short.
The vehicles I sampled were production spec, but they were among the very first off the line. During the on-road drive earlier in the day, wind noise was a constant companion. When I raised a concern with the folks from Alfa, I was told the team in Italy was putting cars through the wind tunnel trying to come up with a solution. That said, the wind tunnel probably won’t fix the window seals around the A- and B-pillars. My tester’s seals created a lot of noise, to the point that I had to double check that the windows were closed.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio gets a number of interior upgrades over the base model, and they’re all quite nice. The carbon-fiber trim is lovely, and the main driver interfaces—a thick-rimmed steering wheel with leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber, more aggressive seats, and large metal paddle shifters—are excellent, but there are plenty of disappointing plastics on the doors and the lower elements of the dash.
These are barely passable on a $45,000 crossover, but my tester rung up at just north of $83,000, and there are a lot of vehicles that offer 75 percent of the Stelvio’s driving dynamics and 150 percent of its refinement for the same money.
Prepare to wrestle with this conundrum in the showroom. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is so, so charming, easily the most likable crossover SUV on the market, not to mention the most dynamically capable. On the track, this $80,000 crossover is a steal at half the price.
But as a luxury crossover SUV, it’s a much more difficult vehicle to recommend. Whether the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will work for you will depend on why you’re buying—if you want the best performance SUV on the market, this is the car for you. But if you want a luxury vehicle that can occasionally tickle your performance sweet tooth, there are vehicles that are far better balanced.
Alfa Romeo provided Internet Brands Automotive travel and lodging to bring you this firsthand report.