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A Name To Live Up To: The 2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio front 3/4 view

You can name a car after pretty much anything. Automakers often just make up a word or some alphanumeric sequence.

But Alfa Romeo named its performance SUV after a road. Not just any road, a legendary road. Some say the best driving road in the world.

Aerial view of Stelvio Pass
(photo credit: Jean Wimmerlin)

Stelvio Pass is in the Eastern Alps of Italy, running along the border with Switzerland. The summit is 9,045 feet above sea level---second highest in the Alps. There are 60 hairpin turns in its 29 miles, and drop-offs so steep that Richard Hammond, on a Top Gear segment fifteen years ago, rather famously remarked:

"If you go over the edge you'll have time to phone insurance."

So, yeah---name a vehicle "Stelvio" and you're setting some steep (no pun intended) expectations.

2024 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio badge

The expectations are higher still for any Alfa wearing the Quadrifoglio (Italian for "four-leaf clover") badge.

Alfa's corporate owner, Stellantis, says it dates back to the 1920s after Italian race car driver Ugo Sivocci joined the Alfa Romeo team with legendary drivers Enzo Ferrari and Antonio Ascari.

Sivocci was a talented driver, but could never take the top spot in a race and was a perennial second-place finisher.

In 1924, in an effort to banish this bad luck, he painted a four-leaf clover encased in a square box on the side of his car.

He won.

But just a few weeks after winning the Targa Florio race, Sivocci was testing the new Alfa Romeo P1 on the Monza circuit and did not have time to paint his lucky cloverleaf on the car before he took to the track.

He crashed and died.

From that point forward, all of Alfa’s race cars, and high performance cars, have featured the “Quadrifoglio Verde,” but with one small change.

All future clovers were encased in a triangle, with the missing point symbolizing the loss of Ugo Sivocci.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio rear 3/4 view

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD slugs it out in a narrow, low-volume, big-bucks niche of high-performance SUVs---Jaguar F-Pace SVR, Porsche Macan GTS, and the BMW X4 M.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio hood up

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio engine

Under the hood, it's a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Zero to sixty sprints happen in 3.6 seconds, with a top speed of 176 mph.

The sound it makes when you put your foot down---a glorious, throaty roar---is only matched by the crackle of the quad exhaust when you take your foot off. That last part normally isn't one of my favorite sounds---but the Stelvio Quadrifoglio could change that.

That kind of power comes at a cost---fuel economy. The EPA combined city/highway estimate is 19 mpg. Drive it the way you'll be tempted to and that number won't survive.

But nobody buys this class of vehicle (all of which fall within an mpg or two of each other's combined estimates) for fuel economy.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio wheel and brake

The Stelvio backs up the sheer power with sure-footedness. The drive mode selector (DNA---"dynamic", "normal" and "race"), allows tailoring of suspension dampers. There are Brembo high-performance brakes and 255/45R20 summer tires on the front, 285/40R20 summer tires on the rear, mounted on 20x9 front rims and 20x10 rears plus a mechanical limited-slip differential.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio rear liftgate open

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD rear seats

Nobody buys one of these to use it like a typical SUV, either. The rear cargo space is small for the class---18.5 cubic feet behind the second-row seats, 56.5 with them folded down---and rear seat legroom is tight at 31.9 inches.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD front seats

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio front seat detail

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio instrument panel

Up front is where you want to be---ideally, in the driver's seat, where you're treated to lots of room, high-quality appointments and best of all, control.

The base price of the 2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD is $88,965, including destination. Apart from the mechanicals we've already discussed, that price brings a comprehensive suite of active safety features, remote keyless entry and remote start, a tire service kit, a hands-free power liftgate, a 12.3-inch color touchscreen, navigation, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a three-month subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, wireless charging, a carbon fiber steering wheel, leather dash and upper doors, heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel, eight-way power adjustablity for the front seats and four-way power lumbar for the driver and front passenger, Vulcano black mirror caps, LED trilobe headlamps, daytime running lamps and tail lamps.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD steering wheel and instrument display

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD center console

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio center stack

Our test vehicle had some extra-cost options---upgrading the wheels to 21-inchers and the tires to 255/40R21s and 285/35R21s ($2,000), an Active Assist Plus package adding Highway Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, Lane-Keep Assist, Intelligent Speed Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Active Blind-Spot Assist and Driver Attention Alert ($700), a bundle including dual-pane sunroof, advanced anti-theft system, gloss-black roof rails, dynamic dual-mode exhaust and Alfa Connect ($1,495) and the luscious Verde Montreal Tri-Color paint ($2,200).

As-tested price: $95,360.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD front view

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD side view

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio rear view

After 100 years, Alfa says it's discontinuing the Quadrifoglio line at the end of the 2024 model year. Industry sources suggest it will return with Alfa's first high-performance EV in the future.

Even if it weren't the last of its type, the 2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD makes a compelling case for ownership. It is an intoxicating, addicting, high-performance SUV.


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