With Valentines Day just a few weeks away, the Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglio could be your first sign of Infidelity……….
by Kevin Haggarthy
You can fall in love with a car. You can. It’s an emotional thing, one that you either understand or you don’t. If you don’t there’s a good chance the relationship with your loved one could be in jeopardy. If you do, you’d never dream of depriving your loved one of his/her indulgence. I proposed to my first love when she suggested we invest in a Ferrari. I knew at that moment she was ‘the one’…….
Such brains as mine are often referred to as ‘fickle’, so if you see me in that way due to my passion for Ferraris’, I am clearly not the one for you. On the other hand, if you love Ferraris’ you may well be up for a date. On one occasion that happened to me, and only for that reason; I happened to own a Ferrari.
I guess if someone fancies you just because of your car, compatibility in all other aspects of the relationship is irrelevant, chances are it will only last for the first few drives anyway. For a relationship to last, I guess your partner’s car affliction must carry a level of reasonable compromise, allowing some level of inclusion and practicality to match the emotion.
the relationship match maker
The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio (QF) is one the best examples around of a relationship match maker. It’ been ages since Alfa Romeo produced a car that lives up to the historical magic that earned the marque its legendary reputation. That reputaton is the stuff of text book motoring legend, and the reason the Alfa Romeo brand retains a passionate following. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio I tested at the tail end of 2018 put paid to any doubt that Alfa had lost its way, with many a motoring scribbler, on closing the door of the Giulia QF for the last time was left thinking ‘Wow! Alfa have actually done it! They’re back!’
Unfortunately, there are not enough petrol heads out there willing to invest circa £64,000 plus into this four door Supercar version alone to allow Company financials to stack up, so the Giulia best seller in the UK is the 280 bhp Veloce – still a great car.
What does make car company financials add up these days are SUVs’. Short for ‘Sport Utility Vehicles’ and a bit ‘have your cake and eat it’; SUV’s are all the practicality and usability of a saloon wrapped up in a high performance four -wheel drive vehicle. Porsche, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and Maserati all do them; Ferrari soon too. Why? – because they sell, and what’s more they mostly drive with the excitement of a performance saloon.
For the Stelvio QF, just the thought of planting that amazing Ferrari-breathed-upon engine into the Stelvio is enough to get excited about. Combine that engine with alluring looks, the sporty Alfa interior and ideally red paint, and ‘yes’ now you can enjoy proper Alfa motoring without sacrificing a whisper of practicality or usability, thus you have a happy partner, happy children, and a happy you.
your secret lover
Secretly though, much as you are apparently putting ‘family first’, the Stelvio QF buyer is having their cake and eating it. You see, the 510 bhp QF engine is under- bonnet Viagra and never has your (motoring) sex life been so good; you just happen to ‘climax’ behind the wheel. Yes, that QF engine creates just as much excitement in the Stelvio as it does in the Giulia. You sit higher but there’s massive grip from those optional chunky looking 20” wheels and tyres, and in the Sports setting the Stelvio QF sits rock solid, the only giveaway to its greater family focus being its’ height.
Day to day driving is of course a doddle, but expect fuel consumption to be in the low twenties. The engine’s refinement adds to overall ride quality, although aurally you won’t be getting the mighty roar a 510 bhp V6 Turbo lump suggests, for it is indeed subdued, disappointingly so. The ride quality compromise between normal day to day and high-performance driving is acceptable, low ride stiffness easily compensated for by this car’s high-speed thrill capability. It is the latter that justifies your £70,000 (with extras) – for the Stelvio QF is quite phenomenal when driven at high speed, engrossing you in the spirit of engaging high-performance driving. It’s too fast to enjoy legally on the road, but feels as if it would be equally at home on a circuit, and likely to embarrass a lot of credible alternative machinery. In that regard it is a proven entity with SUV records established at Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Donington Park. It is that good.
I hardly know you – will we be compatible?
Where it’s not maybe ‘that good’ is the user friendliness of the in-car switchgear. It’s unconventional which makes it less appealing; you have to ‘learn it’ which again is unusual in modern cars, and in our view is unnecessarily complicated. Neither is interior quality up to the £70 k price tag; – it’s ‘acceptable’ for the price point; nothing more.
Another slight annoyance are those 20 inch ‘Dark 5-hole’ alloys (a £590 option); impressive as they are, they are less friendly to tight 3-point turn manoeuvring in the wet, often leading to low speed judder as the front tyres fight for grip under full lock on manoeuvring.
Yet these niggles tend to pale into relative insignificance when you are out driving the Stelvio at high speed for pleasure alone, and it is that instinctive ‘wow’ factor that will forever skew your logic in favour of this car. There is plenty of comfortable room for family and children, with oodles of boot space – hence personal and family relations are likely to remain intact for purposes of family travel..
From the second you get behind the wheel of the Stelvio QF it gives you permission to have an extramarital affair, fall in love even, you simply press that big red button, open your eyes wide, and think of…well, ‘Italy’ I guess.