Advertisement

L.A. Auto Show 2016: FCA's Alfa Romeo Stelvio

L.A. Auto Show 2016: FCA's Alfa Romeo Stelvio
FCA-owned Italian luxury car company Alfa Romeo is among the last to market with an SUV, but the Stelvio boasts best-in-class performance. (FCA)

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.

Advertisement

What’s new

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.

The competition

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.

The details

The Stelvio (named after the Swiss-Italian Stelvio Pass, regarded as one of the most exciting driving roads in the world) will be powered by an all-aluminum, turbocharged, 2-liter engine that delivers 280 horsepower and 306 pound feet of torque. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio will come with a similar all-aluminum engine, a twin-turbocharged, 2.9-liter V-6, that makes 505 horsepower and 443 pound feet of torque, capable of zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. FCA says it is Alfa's most powerful production engine ever. Both are mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions. The company's Q4 all-wheel-drive system will be standard on all Stelvio models.

Advertisement
Advertisement