By on January 22, 2021

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Fast Facts

2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (505 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm; 443 lb-ft @ 2,500 -5,500 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

17 city / 23 highway / 19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

13.9 city, 10.3 highway, 12.3 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $80,445 (U.S) / $84,200(Canada)

As Tested: $96,540 (U.S.) / $100,590 (Canada)

Prices include $1,595 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 to $2,695 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Following up on my previous review of the 2020 BMW X5 M Competition, I’ve got another luxurious “sporty” crossover in my crosshairs. Today’s target: The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

Except this one has at least some Italian heritage, instead of German. Trading schnitzel for stringozzi, so to speak.

This one also handles just a bit differently. Which I’ll get to.

Like the BMW, the Stelvio QV is quick. Like the German, it handles well, especially for a luxury crossover. Unlike the Bimmer, it turns in more sharply.

The ride is perhaps a smidge stiffer, too.

The biggest difference, however, is the price. Unlike the BMW, this Stelvio can be yours for under six figures.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

 

Unlike the V8-powered BMW, the Stelvio uses six pistons to power the action – a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that puts out 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque is on hand here. An eight-speed automatic gets the power to ground via an all-wheel-drive system.

It can accelerate with gusto, just like its Bavarian rival, though both have more power than can be easily tapped in real-world driving. Suburbia is speed-limited, after all.

As noted above, the biggest on-road dynamic difference between the BMW and the Alfa is that sharper turn-in and somewhat stiffer ride offered by the latter.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Inside, the cabin is well designed, with fewer nods to the corporate parts bin than the Maserati Levante GTS. Alfa put its own touches to work here. The infotainment system is no harder to use than iDrive, and perhaps easier. Rear legroom is tight at just over 31 inches – six inches or so less than the Bimmer.

Comparisons to BMW aside, the Stelvio offers up a fun-to-drive experience.

It also felt quite lively, not just compared to the heavier BMW (there’s a 1,000-pound difference), but overall. Yeah, the ride is on the stiff side. But the Stelvio QV just feels ready to play.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Fun doesn’t come cheap, though, and it will cost you 80 big ones just to say hey. That does get you the drive-mode system (dynamic, natural, all-weather, and race), an active suspension, torque vectoring, carbon-fiber driveshaft, full-speed forward-collision warning plus, blind-spot and cross-path detection, rear backup camera, front and rear parking-assist sensors, remote keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, headlamp washers, power liftgate, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, navigation, Harmon Kardon audio system, carbon-fiber interior trim, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and aluminum pedals.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Whew. Now we start ticking options boxes. The Misano Blue metallic exterior paint was $600. An Active Driver Assist package is $2K and adds highway-assist, traffic-jam assist, lane-keep assist, active blind-spot assist, traffic-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control with stop, automatic high beams, and infrared windshield. The Security and Convenience package ($400) adds an alarm, adjustable rails for the cargo area, cargo net, and 115-volt auxiliary outlet.

A Nero Edizione Quadrifoglio option ($850) brings forth 20-inch wheels and Dark Miron grille, mirror caps, and badging. Brembo brakes cost $8,000 (not a typo!), and the dual-pane sunroof and shark-fin antenna cost $1,350. Heated second-row seats are $350, wireless charging pad $200, and the carbon-fiber steering wheel and leather shift knob cost $400. Finally, painted brake calipers (yellow in this case) cost $350. With $1,595 in destination, the total came to $96,540.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

That may not be six figures, but it’s still a lot of dough. There are, of course, people who have that kind of dough and the will to spend it.

Those who choose to spend it on this Alfa will find their desire for the sport in sport utility to be sated.

It’s a playful people hauler, though a bit short on rear passenger space, and there are always reliability concerns with an Alfa. If you like Italian spice, this is your ride.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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47 Comments on “2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review – Italian Hustle...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    $350 to paint the brake calipers? I’ll do it for half price.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    I must be missing something. Other than $96,520 in the bank. Or do folks just lease these critters.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Brembo brakes cost $8,000 (not a typo!)”

    That’s a carbon ceramic brake option and it is no longer offered for 2021.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Thanks. This was a 2020 — so it was available. We’re still reviewing 2020s because there are still many on dealer lots, and until very recently, I was still being loaned 2020 MY vehicles. Possibly due to covid delays.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Wait until the guy who buys this baby off lease gets the new-brakes bill at around 50,000 miles.

      I wouldn’t touch these used.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        FWIW I looked up the parts numbers on the carbon ceramic brakes. A brake job would come to about $16,000 for parts.

        The standard brakes would be $3,200 for parts.

        The internet does claim the the CCBs “should” last about 100k miles.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Saw the price tag, looked at the interior, had a good laugh.

    I like the Stelvio. It’s definitely a sport oriented drive, really responsive steering and it’s clear who it’s built for. It’s a neat CUV when 3 year old, 4 cyl versions are selling in the mid-upper 20s. But it’s not a $50k vehicle new and this one certainly isn’t a $100k vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      You buy this one because you want the V-6 version of the V-8 that Ferrari puts into cars like the California and Portofino.

      If you can’t afford that, you do what I did and get the 2.0L which is a better vehicle for the dollar than any of the competitors if you want a sporty driving experience. As you are willing to trade off sportiness for more creature comforts, you move to other brands but you’ll end up paying more in all likelihood.

    • 0 avatar

      But its a coveted Italian design at its finest.

  • avatar
    4onthefloor

    Just bought a 2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature turbo with 250 HP and 320 ft,/lbs of torque. It’s 80 % of this for less than half the price, with much better reliability, and much better parts availability., plus the interior and exterior are gorgeous for 38k all in with a few extras. I gave up on Italian cars about 20 years ago. Beautiful machines but like a high strung mistress to maintain.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      World of difference when it comes to engines – you’re not 80% of the way there. Neither am I.

      Now, if you compare against the 2.0L, you’re giving up 30hp or so, but you pick up a bit on torque.

      Depending on how you configure them, you’re not necessarily saving any money. The Stelvio can be had for less the $40k.

      The Mazda is not a bad looking vehicle inside and out – in fact, it looks a LOT like an Alfa in many ways. So much so that I double checked to see which came first. Turns out they both (Stelvio and new gen CX-5) premiered at the LA Auto Show in 2016. Mazda does have a history of…shall we be generous and say “finding inspiration” in Italian designs, as evidenced by the Miata.

      At the end of the day, it all boils down to whether you place the premium on handling, or another factor. I think the Mazda is definitely the best choice out of the Japanese makes for the segment.

      That being said, I don’t think you get significantly better parts availability, especially not in “our uncertain times”.

      • 0 avatar
        4onthefloor

        You are certainly correct about the horsepower! I used to drive a lot in Germany, and if I still lived there, I would certainly want more HP. But for where I live, torque is where it’s at, and 320 ft./lbs is more than enough for me! And with the problems I’ve read about this car, and it’s reliability, I’ll pass, because to me, it’s not worth the price. I thought the front end looked like a Jaguar to my eye.

        • 0 avatar
          Garrett

          Realistically speaking, the torque in the Stelvio is fine. I have more in my Volvo thanks to the folks at Polestar, but at the end of the day, shift points, gearing, and traction are going to make the differences rounding errors.

      • 0 avatar
        4onthefloor

        @Garrett
        Your comments were spot on after doing a little more research, and I appreciate your taking it easy on me. I looked back at the original review I read, and it was indeed the 2.0, and not this model. I watched the Alex on autos review of this model, and it’s insane, But the boy racer touches are for the younger me. Thanks for your insightful, amd extremely accurate comments!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The CX-5 is a really nice piece and a good performer, but it’s nowhere near “80%” of the Alfa’s performance. More like 50%. The Stelvio QF puts up borderline-supercar performance numbers. It’s a KILLER performance car.

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a21600835/2018-alfa-romeo-stelvio-quadrifoglio-performance/

      Not really comparable. But the CX-5 is good enough that it makes the four-cylinder Stelvio (and a lot of other CUVs at the $50,000 price point) look awfully overpriced. If I were in the market for something like that, the turbo CX-5 is the one I’d buy.

      • 0 avatar
        4onthefloor

        @Freedmike
        With Covid, Mazda just hands you the keys, so go down there and have fun! I’m a fairly good driver, and the Mazda really really surprised me. What’s holding it back or the tires. The OEM are Toyo 36s and they are far from the best. With 235s or 245s, I think the Mazda would give the Stelvio a run for the money, in a slalom only. Straight line of course it would get creamed. There’s much more to a car than the engine. Bach when I was a younger man, I had a dodge coronet 440 , unfortunately not the six pack, amd it would lift the front wheels off the ground if I wanted it to. Unfortunately, it broke every light behind the das when it came down, so I stopped that.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I think you’re giving the Mazda a bit much credit against the QF, but it will stack up really nicely with something like a Q5 or X3, for a TON less money.

          • 0 avatar
            4onthefloor

            @ FreedMike,
            I certainly was! See my comments to Garrett. Thanks for setting me straight, and for the confirmation on the Mazda! We like it more every day, and that can’t be said for many mainstream cuv’s these days. Thanks for your comments! Bill

      • 0 avatar
        4onthefloor

        @FreedMike
        Thanks for setting me straight! As I mentioned to Garrett, I was confusing the 2.0 review I read with this, and since they look so similar I did not notice the engine was different. Alex on Autos review showed me the error of my ways!
        Wouldn’t want one, but glad it exists for those that do. If I bought this, I’d end up in jail.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    All Stelvios come with essentially the same looks, but you buy this one for the engine.

    I’ve commented before on my test drive of the 2 liter version (half this price). The drive-by-wire brakes were very odd, and the back seat was tight. I found the steering quite darty, so it was hard to maintain a straight track. Maybe they have a bit extra toe or less caster in the steering geometry, I don’t know, but it quickly grew tiresome.

    If I had the coin and liked the QF, I might be tempted. But slightly used ones are 1/3 less.

    Cars like this keep Alfa relevant in the US, but just barely.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I wouldn’t touch this car used, and I’d have major reservations about a new one.

      If I were in the market for a car like the Stelvio, I’d buy a Mazda CX-5 turbo, zero hesitation.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    The Giulia is 500 lbs lighter with the same motor. And lower to the ground. I would go that route if I was going to be spending this kind of money.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      So I drove both of them in 2.0L mode…

      The Giulia is lighter and lower to the ground, BUT the Stelvio doesn’t perform worse in any noticeable manner. Plus you get more room. Really, you make the choice based on how much room you need.

      Now in the QV models, the Giulia is RWD only while the Stelvio is AWD. If you need AWD and 505hp, you go with Stelvio. If you want RWD and active aero, you go Giulia.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Simply proves yet again, money cannot buy taste.

    “It’s a playful people hauler, though a bit short on rear passenger space”

    Which is the entire purpose of putting it in this ridiculous configuration. So much like the BMW X6 and its ilk, it does everything wrong, nothing right, and wouldn’t even drive well if it were on a generic FCA chassis instead of the special Giorgio one developed for Alfa Romeo.

    Even if I could, I wouldn’t buy these $100K super cars (at least new). But if somehow I did since I’m losing a minimum of 50% in depreciation in 24-36mos I’d really want something with panache. Something which offers presence and style, perhaps an air of exclusivity or customization. This, and even the Giulia, really don’t do so at least at the 100K car level. This car is beige in the desert, its almost invisible and nondescript. I would walk right past it and it would be 90% equivalent to every other purse, err “CUV”, on the block (maybe should have called it the NPC edition?). Maybe they were going for a sleeper look? Perhaps, but stealth wealth I’ve encountered doesn’t spend $100K even if it is pocket change to them nor do they drive a flashy brand. Other than trophy wives, I don’t see much of a market for this iteration of the model. If there are rich Fiat/Alfa gearheads I suppose them too, but that also cannot be too big of a market.

    I could spend less than 20K having an custom X308 chassis Jag XJ8 put together like new and have 100 times more presence and taste than the middle aged Wall Street trader’s wife or mistress spending five times that (or 2.5 times that on lease). Maybe FCA plans to heavily subsidize it and structure the lease so its say 30% more than the middle tier Stelvio lease and they can get some lessees to upgrade? Well the middle tier model is X, but for 25-30% more you can have the Wonder Woman edition with more power than you could ever use and room for your small dogs in the tiny backseat/hatch area. Still don’t see that as much of a market given the costs of federalization/emissions certification.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Go on with you. I can tell you want one, and those long paragraphs of objections are what the sane part of your brain uses trying to prevent the irrational side from hoofing it right on down to the dealer!

      BMWs with gaping maw hell grilles aren’t as pretty as these things, just softy “look at me” German heavyweight ground pounders for the badge obsessed.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      The back seat really doesn’t matter, because 98% of the time only the driver will be in it.
      SUVs are a fad/trend, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The center of gravity is higher, it’s never taken off road, and the visibility (which should be fantastic) is reduced by narrow windows. Fuel economy suffers from the height. The gullible overpay for them, which makes them profitable, which makes the manufacturers build more of them.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Unfortunately the roofline on current sedans makes them uncomfortable for many.

        The lack of road clearance, particularly on snow covered roads creates issues.

        And a hatch is far more practical than a trunk.

        So there are actually practical reasons for purchasing an SUV/CUV.

        • 0 avatar
          rustbeltPete

          “Unfortunately the roofline on current sedans makes them uncomfortable for many.”
          THIS! The one major upside of crossovers/CUVs- they have enough headroom for 6’3”, and all torso, me.

          Not Mazda though, even the CX9 doesn’t have enough headroom.

          • 0 avatar
            4onthefloor

            Yup. My friend is in the same boat. They don’t make cars large enough now for you big guys. My friend had some custom seat work done, and it was a game changer for him..

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      28 brings up the idea of buying something like this used, and I’d run from any off-lease purchase of a car like this – and that would include AMG Benzes, BMW Ms, or Audi Sport models. Used luxury cars can be pricey to maintain and fix, and I say that as a guy who picked up an off-lease Audi A3 that was owned by a lady who drove it maybe 8-9,000 miles a year (yes, I was able to track down its’ service records from the dealership). It ain’t cheap, folks. My first hint was when I rolled up to the local Grease Monkey looking for an oil change and they quoted me $100. Excuse? “It’s an Audi and those take special components.” For the record, the A3 2.0T has the same engine – and oil filter – as a VW GTI. For grins, I called them and asked how much an oil change would be for a GTI, and they said $60, the basic charge for a car that takes synthetic oil. Yeah, it’s like that.

      As you go up the performance scale, I’d imagine the cost just goes up exponentially.

      Plus, do you really want to deal with the previous owner’s last three years of shameless hooning?

      Yeah, I’ll pass. The ONLY way I’d do one of these would be new, on a lease. And in the case of Alfa, I’d take the Giulia version instead…assuming, of course, Alfa has put fixes in place to prevent repeats of the experience Car and Driver had with their long-term tester, which was utter trash.

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a23145269/alfa-romeo-giulia-quadrifoglio-reliability-update/

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        You’re not wrong but the AMG pull is very strong and they aren’t going to be making V8 ones for much longer.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          As long as you have the money to maintain a used AMG, yeah. But the problem with any car like this is that a) it’s expensive to maintain to begin with, and b) you’re most likely buying something that the first owner drove the p*ss out of, and stuff begins to break. I’m on a local Audi facebook group with Audi Sport owners who bought third-owner or off-lease models, and all of them have had this experience. Cars like this get REALLY expensive when they get up over 50,000 miles. One guy just got a bill for five grand for new carbon-ceramic brakes, and by all appearances, this is not a man of means. He was asking how to switch to regular brake materials (which I’d imagine you can do).

          I think that by the time you factor in the maintenance and repairs, you might as well lease a new one. I’d do that, or pass altogether.

          (Side note: one of my neighbors just brought home a brand-new RS3 and I am in unbridled lust with that car.)

      • 0 avatar
        4onthefloor

        Oh man! Stay away from those quick lube places! They stripped my drain plug, and I had to timesert it. They refunded my money though :)

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      The configuration is fine for my use case, specifically:

      1) transport a single child in the rear seat
      2) have room to be able to carry bass guitar, speaker cabinet(s), and amplifier
      3) be able to fit a double bass

      Now, I could do ALL of that in a Giulia. Even fitting the double bass, but it’s a lot easier in the Stelvio.

      If they made a wagon, it’d be perfect, BUT…I think the load height of the Stelvio makes loading the double bass easier.

    • 0 avatar
      4onthefloor

      @28

      Well said! Glad they exist though. Who wants a world with only vanilla ice cream? Not me.

  • avatar
    downunder

    I had the fortune to have one of these (2018) as a loaner(!) from the local FIAT/Chrysler dealer when I had my Freemont (nee Dodge Journey) serviced. What stuck me apart from all the nice bits of “Italian” flair and driveability, was the amount of generic Chrysler bits in it. The dash pod was almost identical to the Freemonts. All the switchgear was from the Freemont including the window switch panels in the doors. Looking at this one, it seems that they have kept the same gauge pod as before. When I took the car back to pick mine up, I admonished them for giving me a car to drive, that I possibly couldn’t afford to own!

  • avatar

    If Alfa Romeo is a luxury brand then Mazda is the ultra luxury super car. And happens to be better built.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    “The biggest difference, however, is the price. Unlike the BMW, this Stelvio can be yours for under six figures.”
    You are comparing the wrong BMW…a BMW x3 competition would be the comparable BMW size wise and power wise and its less than 6 figures

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