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Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

The Italian Army knife of BDC

The Italian Army knife of BDC

We’ve never had a SUV at BDC before, but anyone concerned that this two-box family hauler couldn’t keep up discovered their worries unfounded.

“The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes from a different place, a new place, a higher place. I’ve never done a hot lap so far off the ground. I liked it!” Those were Randy Pobst’s first words after dismounting the Stelvio. Others joined the fun, finishing this sentence: It’s not an SUV, it’s … “a two-story supercar,” “a Giulia hatch with a lift,” “a sport wagon in need of an EpiPen.”

Alfa Romeo’s high-rise hot rod earned its invite by winning last month’s comparison test of similarly manic muscle utes. And like the Kia Stinger, this 4,282-pound (1,942-kg) bruiser defied several predictions of a distant finish largely on the strength of its Ferrari-derived twin-turbo V-6, smart shift calibration, indefatigable brakes, and dynamic-handling-biased all-wheel-drive programming that minimized understeer. Our first-ever BDC ute ranks 83rd among our 119 BDC lap times, 0.01 second behind a 2014 C63 AMG and 0.01 second ahead of a Bentley Continental GT3-R.

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

The Stelvio raised everybody’s eyebrows on Route 198, as well, demonstrating greater composure than the Audi TT RS over the lumpiest stretches—especially with the shocks set to Soft mode. Its consistently firm brake pedal and linear response inspired great confidence, earning kudos for the programmers of this by-wire artificial feedback system. “Staggering braking power,” Scott Evans said. “I cannot believe how hard this thing stops.” Chris Walton concurred: “Sure-footed, excellent body control, crystal-clear steering, sneaky power, and more effective (though numb) brakes than three-quarters of this field—inspires confidence.” Mark Rechtin wished for “a Stelvio race series so people would watch and say, ‘An SUV can do that?!?’”

Although there was universal agreement that the Stelvio is the Best Driver’s SUV and a true credit to its species, there is still the matter of its avoirdupois, high center of gravity, copious corner-entry understeer, and body roll. Nonetheless, the Stelvio is a trailblazing crossover in a field of supercars.

More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders:

“This is truly the Italian Army knife of BDC.” -Chris Walton, Road Test Editor

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q4 Quadrifoglio
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 90-deg V-6, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 176.4 cu in/2,891 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.3:1
POWER (SAE NET) 505 hp @ 6,500 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 443 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
REDLINE 6,500 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 8.5 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.73:1/2.39:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 12.0:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.2
BRAKES, F; R 15.4-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 14.2-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS
WHEELS 9.0 x 20-in; 10.0 x 20-in, forged aluminum
TIRES 255/45R20 101Y; 285/40R20 104Y Pirelli P Zero AR
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 111.0 in
TRACK, F/R 61.2/63.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 185.1 x 77.0 x 66.3 in
TURNING CIRCLE 38.4 ft
CURB WEIGHT 4,282 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 53/47%
SEATING CAPACITY 5
HEADROOM, F/R 40.2/38.9 in
LEGROOM, F/R 36.6/31.9 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 57.7/55.9 in
CARGO VOLUME 56.5/18.5 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 1.2 sec
0-40 1.8
0-50 2.5
0-60 3.3
0-70 4.3
0-80 5.5
0-90 6.9
0-100 8.5
0-100-0 12.5
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.7
QUARTER MILE 11.8 sec @ 116.1 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 103 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.93 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.9 sec @ 0.79 g (avg)
2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 103.50 sec
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,750 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $81,390
PRICE AS TESTED $93,190
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes
AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee
BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/Unlimited miles
FUEL CAPACITY 16.9 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 17/23/19 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.01 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium