What is it?
Alfa Romeo has joined the world's automakers at last and introduced an SUV. The sleek and sporty four-door Stelvio, the FCA-owned Italian company promises, will deliver "best in class" performance that sacrifices nothing in comfort.
Why it matters
The SUV class continues to grow, drawing more buyers and more car companies to the combination of performance and practicality. Niche player Alfa, having recently introduced its 4C roadster and mid-sized sedan Giulia, is late to the game. The company will be chasing customers who already have a garage-full of choices in the premium SUV segment.
Everything. The Stelvio features lightweight materials, a brand-new powertrain, an innovative all-wheel-drive power distribution system and a host of driving-assistance programs that should put the Stelvio on a par with most of the top European and Asian premium SUVs.
Alfa is aiming high at a very crowded target. Though it has not reported a price point, the performance, technology and luxury specs suggest that the Stelvio is aimed at buyers cross-shopping Audi's Q5, BMW's X5, Porsche's Macan, Acura's RDX, Lexus' RX, Jaguar's F-Pace and Mercedes-Benz's GLC. Or it may pick up buyers who long for, but can't afford, one of the new SUVs offered by Bentley or Lamborghini.