What is it?
According to its maker, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the fastest production SUV you can buy.
That’s a tricky claim to verify, though, because there are so many different ways to interpret that slippery F-word. There are SUVs that better 503bhp Stelvio’s 3.8sec 0-62mph time, after all, and SUVs that shade its 176mph top speed.
What Alfa Romeo bases that somewhat bold claim on, then, is the Stelvio QV’s eye-opening 7min 51.7sec Nürburgring lap time, which is an SUV record. It wasn’t all that long ago that dedicated sports cars were recording seven-fifty-something laps around the Nordschleife. No matter how tired you are of hearing such lap times being flung back and forth, it cannot be denied that a sub-eight minute lap around that place is extremely fast for a high-riding 4x4.
Designed and developed by the same team that brought us the rather wonderful Giulia Quadrifoglio sports saloon, the high-performance Stelvio is dripping with genuine sports car hardware. Its 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 and eight-speed automatic gearbox are borrowed from the Giulia QV - with specific calibration and ratios - but here drive is sent to the road by Alfa Romeo’s Q4 four-wheel drive system.
In normal driving, 100% of torque is sent to the rear wheels. Only when they begin to slip is drive shunted forwards, and even then, no more than 50% can be sent to the front axle.