2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Lusso: Itiliano Sports Performance

Experienced by Kimatni Rawlins

The media team at Automotive Rhythms had a great week test-driving the sports performing 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Lusso Italian SUV. Rightfully named after the 12-mile, 48-bend Stelvio Pass in the northern Italian Alps the vehicle excited in every fashion including agility, and acceleration from its 280-horsepower direct-injected 2-liter GME T4 Turbo 4-cylinder engine. With invigorating performance traits, a pompous front fascia, an Integrated Brake System, Q4 AWD, and 19” Dark 5-hole aluminum rims, our Vulcano Black Metallic Stelvio is a refreshing take on the premium midsize utility market.

Dubbed “The SUV For The S-Curves” by the marketing folks at Alfa Romeo, the Stelvio felt great on windy roads and open highways. Even when weighted down by five passengers there was never a lag in acceleration. Designed at their Cassino plant in Italy the SUV is balanced with 50/50 weight distribution and advances from 0 mph to 60 mph in roughly 5.4 seconds. The aforementioned all-aluminum engine also puts out 306 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission with manual mode. Upgrade to the $1,800 Sport Package if you desire paddle shifters like myself. Although, they are mounted to the steering column opposed to the steering wheel how I like them for optimized reach. The Sport package also blesses your ride with a sport-tuned suspension, sport steering wheel, black roof rails, aluminum sport pedals and footrest, and colored brake calipers to name a few.

“The all-new Stelvio further highlights and expands Alfa Romeo’s return to North America with a premium mid-size SUV that truly stands apart in the segment,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Alfa Romeo. “As an SUV that could only be born in Italy, the entire Stelvio lineup delivers class-leading power, exceptional driving dynamics, standard all-wheel drive, advanced technologies, gorgeous Italian design and a race-inspired driving experience, available starting from $41,995 MSRP.”

Our Ti Lusso model was pretty much loaded to the core and created a special atmosphere that inspired the drive whether it was a short ride for running errands or longer trips to visit family. Starting at $46,495, a few must have options such as Luxury Pieno Fiore Italian leather seats with Cannelloni inserts, honest veneer trim in dark gray oak or Lusso-exclusive light walnut, a luxurious steering wheel, 19×8” rims, and aluminum pedals increased the MSRP to $54,490. The most alluring item may be the F1-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel with the integrated push button start on the bottom left and perfectly aligned thumb indentations. On-center steering was superb and taut.

To assimilate itself with the driver the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is engineered with an Alfa DNA drive mode selector with three distinct settings: Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency. Dynamic will be your choice for the most aggressive style of driving while Advanced Efficiency is to receive the most out of each gallon of fuel. Brembo discs, 4-piston aluminum-monoblock front calipers, and 1-piston rear calipers kept our de-acceleration on point.

Stylistically, your Stelvio will be uniquely viewed as a difference maker by way of its front fascia, which is designed with Alfa Romeo’s “family oriented” shielded grille and chiseled cheeks. A dual-pane sunroof, dual-chrome exhaust tips, chin spoiler, Bi-xenon projector headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting, LED taillamps, and a tailgate spoiler add to the exterior hue of your Italiano SUV.

Safety is increased through rear park sensors, Electronic Stability Control, Driver Assistance Package, Driver Assistance Dynamic Package, Lane-departure warning, Adaptive Cruise Control Plus with full-stop, and Forward Collision Warning – Plus.

The interior compartment is compact but impactful especially with luxury leather seats, gray accent stitching, metal pedals, Harman Kardon premium audio system, ambient lighting, and the 8.8” widescreen multimedia system with SiriusXM Radio, Apple CarPlay, a few USBs, and a rotary dial controller. However, the system took a minute to adjust to and the rear backup camera only shows up on half the screen. Not sure why, but it does have dynamic gridlines.

The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Lusso is thrilling, distinctive, and Italian. It breaks from tradition of what a typical midsize SUV should be while simultaneously appeasing the senses.

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