Throughout the day, various men kept coming up to me and asking the same question: What in the heck are you driving?
I had taken the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio to Gingerman Raceway to test its chops in aggressive driving.
And the funny thing was, even though I was running with a novice group on the track, I kept passing Corvettes and Camaros.
So, one by one, the owners of these cars had to get a better look at the pretty little Alfa. I mean, they did get smoked by a girl in an SUV after all.
After the third person cornered me, I left the Stelvio Quadrifoglio unlocked the rest of the day and invited the curious folk to go look inside.
While the vehicle’s unique looks are a huge selling point, it’s the performance characteristics that will win over even the most jaded track driver.
Equipped with a 2.9-liter twin turbo V-6, this plucky SUV delivers 500 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque.
It also adds a dual-mode quad exhaust system, high-performance Brembo brakes, adjustable performance suspension, high-performance leather and Alcantara seats and a Formula One inspired steering wheel.
Oh, and its top speed is 177 mph.
All in all, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a thing of beauty – on and off the track.
We had a spot of rain in the morning on the track, and I was nervous to push it too hard too quickly. But as I became more comfortable, I realized the Stelvio Quadrifogliio actually handles wet surfaces and corners really well at a fast clip due to the standard all-wheel drive.
The sport seats with suede inserts were grippy – holding both me and my right-seat instructor in place through aggressive maneuvers.
The beautiful part, however, was the fact the sporty suspension could be adjusted to a more comfortable mode for highway treks. I spent four hours behind the wheel getting to and from the track, and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio was just as competent as a cruiser as it was on the racetrack.
The test vehicle had black seating surfaces with red reverse stitching and red leather accents on the dash, doors and center stack. There was also a healthy dose of carbon fiber spread throughout the cabin, letting you know the Quadrifoglio is bred for speed.
I appreciated the fact that the HVAC controls were hard buttons and dials, rather than being embedded within the infotainment system. There is also, thankfully, a volume dial, but to tune stations, you have to deal with arrows on the display screen.
Another quirk to note: The push-button start is on the steering wheel as opposed to the dash or center console.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio starts at $81,590 and includes standard features such as the active suspension, automatic two-zone climate control, Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode System with Race Mode, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, heated front seats, navigation, Apple CarPlay, 3 USB ports, heated steering wheel and a Harman Kardon premium audio system.
However, the price can climb quickly toward $100K with the available options. Some of the pricier options include the carbon fiber sport seats ($3,500), dual-pane sunroof ($1,500), Driver Assist Dynamic Package ($1,200) and Brembo Ultra High-Performance CCM Brakes ($8,000).
It’s also worth noting every paint color – except Alfa Rosso (aka red) – is an option. The metallic paints are $600 and the tri-coats are $2,200.
For reference, the base Alfa Rome Stelvio starts at $43,230.
The Bottom Line
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio should be driven hard and fast – which is perfect for a jaunt to the racetrack. But it is also a decent touring car with comfy seats and maneuverable turning radius.
Standard all-wheel drive makes it an excellent choice for Northern climes, and assuming you aren’t going to take it out on a racetrack, the fuel economy is fairly reasonable for a high-horsepower, AWD vehicle at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
From the looks to the way it handles, I love pretty much everything about the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. And judging by the looks and comments I got at the racetrack, I’m not alone.