The Stelvio Quadrifoglio: An Italian take on what a sporty compact crossover should be

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio has been on the market just four short years, and the more aggressive Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a year less under its belt. We’ve already learned that the Stelvio can hold its own against everyday luxury SUVs, but halfway through its lifecycle can it still deliver the performance and comfort expected from something that carries an Alfa Romeo badge? Is the Quadrifoglio still worth the $80,500 entry level price in a luxury crossover market that grows, quite literally, by the day? Well, FCA stopped by TopSpeed headquarters with a Stelvio Quadrifoglio to let us find out for ourselves – this is what our week-long experience taught us.

  • 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    505
  • Torque @ RPM:
    443
  • Displacement:
    2.9 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    176 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Stelvio Quadrifoglio Driving Impressions

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s more good than bad.

From the onset, I found the drivers seat to be not only comfortable, but capable of invoking a feeling of confidence that’s commanding and refreshing at the same time.

The steering wheel is comfortable in the hands, and you probably won’t struggle to find one of many comfortable positions. The seats are shaped for support in the front – something that can’t be said for the rear – but the headrests are as hard as cement and if you have long legs, you might find that the cushions in the front and rear are a little short.

Once you’re on the road, you’ll find that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio feels very connected to the road and absorbs sharp impacts and road imperfections with ease. There is no clunking or anxiety inducing noises even on rougher roads, but on uneven surfaces or roads built from slabbed concrete, the Stelvio does get a little bouncy. It’s not as bad in the Quadrifoglio as it is on the entry-level model, but it’s still there. Around the city, though, you can’t beat the level of comfort. One of the more impressive things about the Stelvio is how quiet the cabin is.

You do hear the Ferrari-derived V-6 when you really get on it, but for the most part road, tire, and other noises outside the cabin are kept out very well, especially for something as sporty as the Stelvio Quadrifoglio.
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
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That said, you may find that rearward visibility is beyond poor, with enough obstruction that it’s near-impossible to see over your shoulder on the right or left. The rear window is also small, so your view through the rearview mirror is also somewhat limited. Alfa Romeo made some concessions, however, as the large sideview mirrors make up for a lot of the poor rearward visibility. Forward visibility is also decent, so for the most part, you can’t really knock it in that regard.

Controls throughout the cabin are marked nicely and are easy to see, and this holds true even at night. Basic functions of the infotainment systems are intuitive and streamlined, making it easy for drivers of all experience to do basic things, but we found that Bluetooth pairing was beyond slow and accessing music via a USB cable was met with some… ahem… resistance. Passenger space is decent, though, and if the driver isn’t getting to spirited in bends, rear passengers will stay in place despite the lack of support in the rear seats.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Interior
- image 940850
Overall, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a blast to drive, and it was just a bit faster than advertised in straight-line sprints.

We didn’t have a proper track to test top speed, but when you put the hammer down, the Stelvio goes like it has a mission to complete, so I wouldn’t doubt it if top speed was higher than advertised as well. In terms of sporty crossovers, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is up there with the best of them, but it’s also more expensive than some of its German competitors and lacks the soul (or soundtrack, perhaps?) of competitors like the Jaguar F-Pace SVR. If you have the budget to afford an $80,000 compact crossover, you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your money when you drive the Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

Stelvio Quadrifoglio Drivetrain and Performance

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Drivetrain
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While the entry-level Stelvio and mid-range Stelvio Ti are powered by a 280-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a 2.9-liter V-6 engine with the most exotic of roots, being built in cooperation with none other than Ferrari. It delivers a cool 505 horsepower, making it one of the most potent crossovers in its class. Other highlights of the powertrain include AWD, twin turbos integrated into the exhaust manifold, the availability of a six-speed manual transmission, and a rear mechanical limited-slip differential.

How Powerful is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
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The Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes with a Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter V-6 that’s good for 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Compared to models like the Jaguar F-Pace SVR and BMW X3M, the Quadrifoglio seems underpower with the former offering 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque and the latter delivering 573 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Figures on paper, however, aren’t the final word as the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is faster than the competition.

How Fast is The Stelvio Quadrifoglio?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
- image 940869

While the Stelvio Quadrifoglio might not be as powerful as some of the models it competes with, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a force to be reckoned with – something proven by its 3.3-second sprint to 60 mph. That puts it 0.4-seconds faster than the F-Pace SVR to 60 mph, and 0.8-seconds faster to 60 mph compared to the BMW X3 M.

What is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s Top Speed?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
- image 940873

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio dominates the competition in acceleration, and it’s no slouch in terms of top speed, either, as it tops out at 176 mph. That means it will run equal in top end with the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, but the BMW X3 M will never catch you, as it falls two MPH short at 174 mph.

Does the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Come With AWD?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
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The base model Stelvio comes standard with RWD, while the Q4 All-Wheel-Drive system – which is one of the best systems out there short of Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system – is offered as an option on lower trims. Upper trim levels, including the Quadrifoglio comes standard with the Q4 AWD system.

How Much Can the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Tow?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Drivetrain
- image 940854

When properly equipped, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio – in all trim levels – can tow up to 3,000 pounds. This isn’t bad for an SUV this size, but it is one of the places where the Quadrifoglio falls inferior compared to the Jaguar F-Pace SVR and the BMW X3 M. The F-Pace can pull up the 5,291 pounds while the X3 M can pull up to 4,400 pounds.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Fuel Economy

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
- image 940861

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio delivers a respectable 17 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined. This puts it a step ahead of the F-Pace SVR, which gets 16, 21, and 18, respectively. The X3 M performs even worse, delivering just 14 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and 16 mpg combined.

Stelvio Quadrifoglio Interior Design

Genesis G90 - Driven
- image 940941
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s interior really sets a standard from what you should expect from an Italian vehicle that doesn’t cost six- or seven figures.

Even the base model Stelvio is reasonably appointed with healthy doses of leather and other soft materials, but the Quadrifoglio takes it to the next level with Alcantara accenting, contrast stitching across the dash, seats, and other leather-wrapped panels, and a fair amount of real carbon fiber. Like the base model, there is the dash-mounted infotainment display, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and the intuitive control setup on the center console.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Interior
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Not all is perfect in the world of Stelvio, though, because it almost feels like the rear seating area was added as an after thought. Sure, the rear door trim has the same lather and carbon fiber appointments, but the rear seats are beyond flat and lack any support whatsoever. They do feature the same inserts and contrast stitching, but there’s also cheap FCA plastic under the seats that makes this $80,000-vehicle feel like a $30,000 Chrysler. A little extra leather would have gone a long way to make you not feel like you’re riding in something cheaper.

Be that as it may, the Stelvio in general and the Quadrifoglio trim that we tested has an impressive interior with just a few shortcomings here and there.

Overall, it’s a nice place to spend time, and as long as you stay out of the back seat (or don’t pay a lot of attention) you’ll know for sure that you’re riding in Italian luxury.

Is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Spacious Inside?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Interior
- image 940910

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio sits comfortably within the compact crossover segment, so don’t expect heaps of room inside, or you’ll be disappointed. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer decent room for its size. Front passengers are more than comfortable and even full-size adults can be comfortable in the rear as long as people in the front don’t move their seats too far back. In terms of passenger space, in general, the Stelvio falls short compared to the F-Pace and X3, though, with the exception being rear shoulder room. The table below will offer a little more comparative context.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio vs competition interior dimensions
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Jaguar F-Pace SVR BMW X3M
1st Row Headroom 40.2 37.8 41.1
1st Row Leg Room 36.6 40.3 40.3
1st Row Shoulder Room 57.5 57.7 57.6
2nd Row Headroom 38.9 37.5 41.1
2nd Row Leg Room 31.9 37.2 36.4
2nd Row Shoulder Room 56 55.8 56

How Much Cargo Room Does the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Have?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Interior
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As is the case with passenger room, the Stelvio doesn’t offer class-leading cargo room, but it does offer a decent amount for its size. With the rear seatbacks in place, you’ll have 18.5 cubic-feet, far short of the F-Pace’s 33.5 cubic-feet and even the X3 M’s 28.7 cubic-feet. If you lay down the rear seatback, however, it can swallow up 56.5 cubic-feet of cargo, just a hair more than the F-Pace’s 55.8 cubic-feet but fairly shy of the X3’s 62.7 cubic-feet.

How Good Is the Stelvio’s Technology?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Interior
- image 940904

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s technology is, arguably, one of its weakest points. For a car that costs $80,000 we really expected more than a semi-digital instrument cluster that is, honestly, no better than what you get in an entry-level Toyota, Chevy, or even a Honda. An all-digital instrument cluster would have gone a long way here. The infotainment display could be larger given the nature of the industry today, but the design of the dashboard would make such an improvement difficult. There is a lot of room that Alfa could take advantage over to put a wider screen into play, but it’s opted for the recessed look instead.

On top of this, the infotainment system didn’t work as well as expected. During our time with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, it was downright annoying how long it took for Bluetooth to boot up, and that issue was consistently followed by difficulty accessing music from both Android and iOS devices when connected via USB. At this point, such a thing should be simplistic yet somehow the Stelvio’s infotainment system made things difficult. We like to think this is a one-time issue and not representative of all Stelvio models, but other reports seem to confirm that it’s a common problem.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Interior
- image 940905

Outside of these problems, the infotainment system seemed fairly well organized. The menus were intuitive and easy to navigate, and the sound quality exceeded expectations. The adaptive cruise control system seemed to work better than most vehicles we’ve tested during our short highway runs, so that’s a big plus. In the end, it’s pretty clear that technology isn’t the Stelvio’s focus, and that’s okay if you’re willing to remain patient with it from time to time.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Exterior Design

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
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One of the Stelvio’s strongest selling points is its sleek, stylish, and attractive exterior design.

And that’s a good thing, because there’s very little to separate the lower trims from the range-topping Quadrifoglio. The Alfa Romeo grille exerts an appearance of luxury and taste, while the low-slung stance makes the crossover look more like a large four-door hatchback than your traditional crossover. The Stelvio’s sporty characteristics are emphasized by a number exterior design queues like the raked body lines on the side, the gently sloping roof, and even that little spoiler atop the rear hatch. Overall, the Stelvio features an attractive and timeless design without shedding the classic Alfa DNA that makes it so special. And, since it features a lot of design DNA from the Giulia sedan, it serves as a perfect alternative to those that want a smaller, sporty family vehicle but don’t want to go with a sedan.

How Big Is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio?

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
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The Stelvio measures 185-inches long, 77-inches wide, and 66.3-inches tall. It also rides on a relatively short wheelbase of just 111-inches. In comparison to the competition, it’s shorter than both the F-Pace SVR and BMW X3 M, but it is just a bit taller that both. In terms of garage keeping, the Stelvio will fit in most single-car garages as long as the door opening is tall enough. Length is rarely an issue, but it would be a good idea to measure just to make sure. A 1.5-car garage would be more ideal, and a two-car garage will make the Stelvio look smaller than it is.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio vs competition exterior dimensions
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Jaguar F-Pace SVR BMW X3M
Length 185 186.5 186.2
Width 77 81.5 74.7
Height 66.3 65.7 65.6
Wheelbase 111 113.1 112.8
Front Track 61.2 64.6 63.9
Rear Track 63.3 65.1 63.1

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Pricing

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
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Since the Stelvio’s launch back in 2016, Alfa Romeo has brough the total number of trims available up to 7. The base model Stelvio starts out at $41,400 in a rear-wheel drive configuration. Opt for the AWD package, and you’ll see that price increase to $43,400. Prices climb marginally to the Stelvio Ti Sport Carbo, which commands $53,200, some $27,300 less that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio like the one we tested and based this review on.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio prices
Stelvio $41,400
Stelvio Sport $42,850
Stelvio Ti $45,800
Stelvio Ti Lusso $48,300
Stelvio Ti Sport $48,300
Stelvio Ti Sport Carbon $53,200
Stelvio Quadrifoglio $80,500

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Competition

Is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Better Than the Jaguar F-Pace?

left right

The Jaguar F-Pace is really a completely different vehicle compared to the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. It’s powered by a rather large 5.0-liter V-8 compared to the Stelvio’s 2.9-liter V-6, it’s slighter bigger in most aspects, and it can tow quite a bit more. Its luxury is about on point with the Alfa Romeo’s, but all that extra engine really goes to waste. Sure, it delivers 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque, and impressive selling point over the Alfa, but it’ll lose a drag race every day of the week, taking nearly half a second more to hit 60 mph compared to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The two are matched in top speed, though, so it has that going for it.

left right

While both offer similar levels of luxury and comfort, they also offer similar price points with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio starting at $80,500 and the Jaguar F-Pace SVR starting at $80,600. You might get more horsepower and even a throatier exhaust, but the $100 cheaper Stelvio Quadrifoglio will outperform the F-Pace in a straight line, around bends, and even in fuel economy. The F-Pace’s 17 mpg in the city is one mpg shy, while it falls 2 mpg short of the Stelvio’s 23 mpg highway rating and falls one mpg short on the combined scale at just 18 mpg. Overall, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a better deal if you can get past its shortcomings in the technology department, but it’s not the only competitor on the market.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio vs Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Engine 2.9-Liter V-6 5.0-Liter V-8
Fuel Premium Premium
Horsepower 505 HP 550 HP
Torque 443 LB-FT 502 LB-FT
Transmission 8AT 8AT
Drive AWD AWD
Towing Capacity 3,000 LBS 5,291 LBS
Fuel Economy 17/23/19 16/21/18
Curb Weight 4,313 LBS 4,395 LBS
Fuel Capacity 16.9 Gal 21.7 Gal
0-60 MPH 3.3 Seconds 3.7 Seconds
Top Speed 176 MPH 176 MPH

Read our full review on the Jaguar F-Pace

Is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Better Than the BMW X3 M?[]/q]

left right

While the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is powered by a Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter V-6, the BMW X3 M gets motivation from an intricately German-built 3.0-liter inline-six. The BMW delivers an impressive 573 horsepower – 68 ponies more than the Stelvio – and 442 pound-feet of torque, just one pound-feet light of what you get in the Alfa Romeo. That horsepower makes the X3 M look infinitely better on paper compared to the Stelvio, but life is about more than horsepower, and this is a clear-cut example. Despite the impressive win in the power department, the X3 M takes 4.1 seconds to get to 60 mph – that’s 0.8-seconds slower that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. It also tops out at 174 mph, two mph slower.

left right

That said, the X3 M can tow an extra 1,400 pounds over the Stelvio, offers superior cargo room, and – for the most part – excels in passenger space too. Interior materials and fit and finish are on point as you’d expect from BMW, but fuel economy falls fairly low at just 14 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and 16 mpg combined. That puts it down 3 mpg, 4 mpg, and 3 mpg, respectively. However, the X3 M has one major selling point outside of the superior technology: a $69,900 starting price. That puts it more than $10,000 cheaper in comparison, and that means you can splurge a bit with options and still come out ahead in terms of price – you just have to sacrifice in terms of straight-line performance.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio vs BMW X3 M
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio BMW X3M
Engine 2.9-Liter V-6 3.0-liter Inline-Six
Fuel Premium Premium
Horsepower 505 HP 573 HP
Torque 443 LB-FT 442 LB-FT
Transmission 8AT 8AT
Drive AWD AWD
Towing Capacity 3,000 LBS 4,400 LBS
Fuel Economy 17/23/19 14/19/16
Curb Weight 4,313 LBS 4,620 LBS
Fuel Capacity 16.9 Gal 17.2 Gal
0-60 MPH 3.3 Seconds 4.1 Seconds
Top Speed 176 MPH 174 MPH

Read our full review on the BMW X3 M

Our Final Verdict

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven Exterior
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If you love the idea of a compact crossover that offers a sporty transmission, engaged handling, impressive power output, and unmatched performance, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is probably for you. Our tests show that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio performs as advertised, averaging 3.28 seconds to 60 mph across 10 different attempts on different days. The engine offers the response you’d expect from something Italian, and the AWD system works good for what it is. That said, you shouldn’t expect the Stelvio Quadrifoglio (or any version of the Stelvio for that matter) to take you off the beaten path. The AWD system offers decent hill descent control, but the Stelvio is meant for the road. There are no terrain-oriented driving modes available and it sits way too load to venture beyond a small hill. Given the flaws with technology, the $80,500 sticker price seems a bit high, but it’s not outlandish and it’s on par with the performance that you get.

Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read More
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