Can it really beat the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S’s lap time?

I know there’s been a lot of talk surrounding the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and while some will agree that it’s one of Alfa’s finer works in recent years, there’s also been a lot of dissenting talk on how capable the SUV really is — especially the high-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Even Alfa Romeo boss Reid Bigland stoked the fire on the Stelvio, telling the gathered press during the SUV’s world premiere that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has the chops to stake claim to the SUV lap record at the Nurburgring.

Granted, Bigland admitted to only doing simulation lap times around the ‘Ring, but according to him, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio can finish an entire lap around the race track in 7:59.0 flat, 0.74 seconds quicker than the current standard-bearer, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, and a ridiculous 14-second gap to the Cayenne Turbo.

Now this may just be Bogland and Alfa Romeo shooting off hyperboles about the Stelvio to get buzzing. After all, we won’t know if the Stelvio Quadrifoglio can really punch that time at the Nurburgring until it actually does it, fully documented. On that front, Alfa Romeo has yet to say when that’s going to happen, but if you look at the numbers of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio relative to that of the Cayenne Turbo S, there is a case to be made that Alfa Romeo’s simulations could be right.

First, there’s the power, which the Stelvio Quadrifoglio 505-horsepower output admittedly falls short compared to the Cayenne Turbo S’s output of 570-horsepower output. But, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also the smaller of the two SUV’s, which means that it’s significantly lighter than the massive 5,093-pound Cayenne Turbo S. Put these numbers together and combine them with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s all-wheel drive system, torque vectoring, the all-world suspension system, and the carbon ceramic brakes, and Alfa Romeo’s claim doesn’t so blasphemous anymore.

So can the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio really beat the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S’s SUV lap time record at the Nurburgring? Only Alfa Romeo can answer that at this point and the sooner it gets the Stelvio Quadrifoglio to the ‘Ring, the sooner we get our answer.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Can the Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV really do it?

I’ll admit that as I was watching Reid Bigland hosting the world premiere of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, I couldn’t stop wondering where Bigland’s teleprompter was, if he had any at least. The man talked about the Stelvio QV like he was reading from a brochure. But I’ll be honest again; my attention did a complete turn when he mentioned the Stelvio QV’s simulation time around the Nurburgring.

Can the Stelvio QV really go under eight minutes around the ‘Ring? It didn’t seem like it on the surface but when I peeled through the numbers and saw what other SUVs have done in the ‘Ring, I became a little more optimistic about its chances.

Take a look here at the fastest SUV times in the Ring so far.

Model Nurburgring Time Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 mph Top Speed
Porsche Cayenne Turbo S 7:59.74 570 horsepower 590 pound-feet 3.8 seconds 176 mph
Porsche Cayenne Turbo 8:13 520 horsepower 553 pound-feet 4.2 seconds 173 mph
Range Rover Sport SVR 8:14 546 horsepower 502 pound-feet 4.5 seconds 162 mph
Range Rover Sport Supercharged* 8:55

Note: *- set in 2010

Now, here’s the Stelvio’s power and performance numbers:

Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV
Output 505 horsepower
Torque 443 pound-feet of torque
0 to 60 mph 3.9 seconds
Top Speed 177 mph

First of all, it’s not a very big list and there are some notable models that have yet to do lap times at the track. So in essence, the Stelvio QV is only competing against the two Cayenne Turbo variants and the Range Rover Sport SVR. The Range Rover Sport Supercharged was a 2010 model, so let’s immediately disqualify that.

The Stelvio QV has the least amount of power at just 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. But, as many have pointed out too, it’s also smaller than all three of its rivals and the size difference is enough to offset the power difference as shown by those performance times. If the Stelvio QV can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, it would be 0.3 seconds quicker than the Cayenne Turbo and a ridiculous 0.6 seconds faster than the Range Rover Sport SVR, a model that has more than 30 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque on the Stelvio QV.

And as far as top speed goes, the Stelvio QV’s 177-mph mark is a hair above the Cayenne Turbo S! That says a lot about what Alfa Romeo was able to get out of that Ferrari-sourced 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine and how the automaker packaged the engine with the overall dynamics of the SUV.

Alfa Romeo makes a very compelling case about beating the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S’s lap time around the Nurburgring. Now all it has to do is show all of us that it can actually do it.

What do you think?
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