Italian automaker’s new SUV gets its first taste of the special edition life

Alfa Romeo has a lot riding on the success of the Stelvio SUV, so it only makes sense that the Italian automaker create as many different variants of the Stelvio as it can. The high-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio is expected to carry most of that responsibility, but Alfa’s mixing it up a little bit too with the release of the Stelvio First Edition, a limited run version of the SUV that packs plenty of discerning features for those willing to get a piece of it.

Off the bat, let’s establish the fact that the Stelvio First Edition is based on the standard version of the SUV and not the Quadrifoglio. That’s an important piece of information considering that one of the latter’s most notable features is its Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter biturbo V-6 engine that spits out 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Instead, the Stelvio First Edition carries the smaller 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s good for 280 horses and 295 pound-feet of twist.

Let’s set that aside now and look at the things that makes the Stelvio First Edition a true special edition variant of the Alfa SUV. For that, the focus should be on the SUV’s exterior and interior where a host of unique items are scattered throughout the two sections. Some features are of the physical nature whereas others are more of the safety and technological persuasions.

Either way, Alfa Romeo makes a good account of itself with the presentation of the Stelvio First Edition. It may not have the roughhouse power of the range-topping QV, but as far as being a special edition model is concerned, it checks off a lot of boxes.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition.

What makes the Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition special?

2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition High Resolution Exterior
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Once more, expectations are in order now that it’s ben revealed that the Stelvio First Edition isn’t based on the range-topping QV trim. The obvious takeaway here is that the First Edition carries a more toned down design than the QV. It doesn’t have the front spoiler lip and the hood vents that are found on the QV. It also doesn’t have quad tailpipes at the back. In their place are dual tailpipes that are bigger in diameter than the ones found on the QV.

Other than these times, the Stelvio First Edition follows the same design principles as the QV variant while also boasting of unique features like a chrome plated window frame, Bi-Xenon headlamps, courtesy lights on the door handles, and a new set of 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with painted brake callipers behind them.

2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition High Resolution Exterior
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The Stelvio First Edition follows the same design principles as the QV variant while also boasting of unique features.

Move to the interior and you’ll see some nice appointments, including a black full grain leather upholstery throughout the cabin and real wood trim that takes the place of the Alcantara and black finishes found on the top-of-the-line Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Throw in an 8.8-inch infotainment system with its own satellite navigation and a 7.0-inch TFT display set into the instrument panel and you have the makings of a pretty busy-looking interior that’s wrapped in a cocoon of elegance and luxury, exactly the kind of treatment that deserves a special edition name. On the safety and technological sides, the Stelvio First Edition comes with valuable features like forward collision warning with emergency braking, lane assist, and a backup camera that comes as standard on the 280-horsepower special edition SUV.

Speaking of its power, the Stelvio First Edition’s total output sits at the aforementioned 280 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. According to Alfa Romeo, that translates to a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph. Pay close attention to those figures because the Stelvio’s chief competitors actually post slower performance times than the Alfa despite having a little more power.

2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition High Resolution Interior
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2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition High Resolution Interior
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Move to the interior and you’ll see some nice appointments, including a black full grain leather upholstery throughout the cabin and real wood trim that takes the place of the Alcantara and black finishes found on the top-of-the-line Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

Take the current BMW X5, for example. It comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine that produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are higher than the Stelvio, but the returns only translate to a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds (0.4 seconds slower than the Alfa) and a top speed of 130 mph. The same goes with the Volvo XC90 T6, which features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged and supercharged four-banger engine that releases 295 horsepower and 316 pound-feet of torque, albeit with an X5-like top speed of 130 mph.

How does the Stelvio First Edition compare to past “First Edition” SUVs?

I mentioned the Volvo XC90 in this space because unlike the X5, it also shares some similarities with the Stelvio in that when it was released, Volvo also unveiled a “First Edition” model of the SUV. That variant was released back in 2014 and it featured unique, numbered tread plates and a First Edition-exclusive badge on the tailgate. It also came with an Onyx Black exterior paint and a set of 21-inch wheels.

Inside, the XC90 First Edition featured Amber colored, Nappa leather seats and power-folding and heated second row seats. Volvo also fitted the SUV with a large tablet-like screen that not only dominated the dashboard but also controlled a lot of the vehicle’s features.

Safety features also dominated the XC90 First Edition when it was released, a predictable element considering that this is Volvo we’re talking about. The special edition SUV came with plenty of them, including a Run-Off road protection feature and the capability to auto brake at an intersection. According to Volvo, these two features were world-firsts for an SUV at that time.

As loaded as the Volvo XC90 First Edition was back in 2014, the comparisons are striking in terms of the preparations both Alfa Romeo and Volvo made in the development of their respective special edition SUVs. Beyond the “First Edition” label – it really is just a title, after all – both Alfa and Volvo paid more importance on presenting both SUVs with new standard features that customers are going to expect from the model itself once the standard ones hit the market.

At the end of the day, that is the purpose of a First Edition model, or as I actually like to call them, the First Impression model. Volvo managed to parlay the XC90 First Edition into a positive reception for the XC90 and you can be sure that Alfa Romeo has high hopes of doing the same with the Stelvio First Edition.

The good news is that we won’t have to wait too long to find out what kind of reception the Stelvio is going to have because all signs point to the actual model making its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show this coming March. For now, interested buyers can start reserving the Stelvio First Edition in the Italian market at a starting price of €57,300, or roughly around $60,000 based on current exchange rates. Other regions like Europe and the U.S. will open their own reservations for the special edition SUV in the coming months.

Read our full review on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio here.

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