Alfa Romeo’s crazy-fast Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Someone should tell this Italian stallion that it's an SUV, not a sports car.

There’s this word in Italian, pazzo. It means crazy. Italian Vespa riders in Rome? Pazzo. Throat-searing Italian grappa liqueur? Pazzo. The portion size of the Rigatoni Campagnolo at Carrabba’s? Definitely pazzo.

Pazzo also describes perfectly the mind-bending, neck-contorting, performance of Alfa Romeo’s insane 505-horsepower, Ferrari-engined Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV. Totally pazzo.

Yes, you can buy a tame, sedate, Italian mamma version of the Stelvio with a sweet 2.0-liter four-cylinder motori under the hood. And it could be yours for a quite attainable $42,545. It’s a lovely trucklette.

But life’s too short, and you know you really want this snorting Italian stallion, and are willing to pay an insane $80,245 for the thrill of being catapulted from 0-to-60mph in a pazzo 3.6 seconds.

That, and the utter joy of telling friends in your best, sultry latin-lover Italian that you’ve just bought an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio bella macchina.

Of course it’s not the only crazy-stupid-fast sport-ute on the market these days. Porsche has a 434hp Macan Turbo so fast it can rupture your spleen during standing starts. Same with Mercedes and its 469hp AMG GLC 63. And then there is Jeep’s truly bonkers Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with its 707hp.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio NRING

This, however, is an Alfa Romeo, so it’s brimming with passione and amore. Plus it has that Ferrari engine.

And what an engine. It’s essentially a Ferrari V8 minus two cylinders. Here is a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that generates a coral of 505 stampeding horseys along with an asphalt-peeling 443 pound-feet of torque.

It’s hooked up to an eight-speed automatic that shifts gears quicker than a mouse trap snapping shut; an automatic that channels all that power to a brilliant all-wheel-drive system that can push 100 per cent just to the rear wheels, or up to 60 per cent to the fronts.

In full attack mode, with the vehicle dynamics software set to ‘Race’ mode, the Quadrifoglio will lunge off the line with such ferocity it’ll have you screaming Mamma Mia. Alfa claims standstill to 60 in 3.6 seconds but it feels even faster.

Keep your Ferragamo loafer flat to the floor and this Versuvio of velocity won’t quit till the speedo needle is kissing the 178mph mark.

I tell you, had Dustin Hoffman been driving a Stelvio Quadrifoglio in The Graduate, instead of that tepid, though gorgeous, Alfa Duetto Spider, he would have been at the church to grab Elaine way before the wedding ceremony started.

I digress.

See this Stelvio QF in the metal and it manages to pull off the near-impossible of being a compact SUV that actually looks cool. And that’s despite the antiseptic shade of Maytag-white our test car came in.

Having that iconic shield-like grille up front, will always add distinction, as will the historic Alfa four-leaf clover badges on the fenders.

But the Quadrifoglio adds drama with its air-gulping lower intakes, those hood vents and side skirts, the black-painted 20-inch alloys, and the quartet of tailpipes sprouting from the rear bumper.

Climb aboard and there’s less visual excitement, though the acres of carbon fiber, and contrast-stitched leather add to the interest level. But for $80-grand I would have expected way better materials and far more eye candy.

But this is a lovely machine that’s a real thrill to drive, and a true joy to live with. And being an SUV, it has space for five, a high-lifting tailgate and folding rear seats for versatility.

That said, all you need to know about this crazy Alfa is that it’s well and truly pazzo.





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