When Porsche launched Cayenne, you’d have thought the world was ending as purists raved about the departure from the hallowed 911 lineup. But the Cayenne introduced a whole new market to the Porsche experience. Other carmakers soon followed suit, including Jaguar and Maserati, adding an SUV to lineups known for their sportiness.
The same is true for Alfa Romeo. With the Stelvio SUV, add Alfa Romeo to the list of sports carmakers that now has a vehicle for every use (except for a pickup truck of course).
Now the Alfa’s American lineup features the Stelvio SUV, the two-seat 4C, and the Guilia four-door sedan.
Since its foundation in Milan, Italy, in 1910, Alfa Romeo has crafted some of the most memorable and exclusive cars in automotive history. Alfas have competed in races from the Indianapolis 500 to Le Mans to Formula 1. In fact, a young racer by the name of Enzo Ferrari got his start driving for Alfa Romeo in the late 1920s. Those race-bred cars led to sport car and sedan popularity in Europe and other regions.
Alfa Romeo withdrew from the U.S. market in 1995, citing low sales. Now part of Fiat Chrysler Corporation, Alfa Romeo returned to America in 2008 with the low production 8C Competizione coupe. The revival took an upturn with the introduction of the 4C coupe in 2014, the Guilia in 2016, and the Stelvio in 2018.
So now there’s an Alfa Romeo for every occasion. Let’s take a look at what makes them so special.
Named after what’s arguably the world’s most magnificent driving road, the Stelvio Pass in northern Italy, this car lives up to its heritage. It’s a blend of art and technology that only the Italians seems to be able to conjure.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the top-of-the-line performance trim level, lapped the Nürburgring in an SUV record time of 7 minutes 51.7 seconds.
Crafted by Alfa Romeo artisans at the plant in Cassino, Italy, the Stelvio reflects Alfa Romeo’s perfect balance of engineering and emotion. The standard Q4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system provides additional driving confidence and superior control.
The standard direct-injection 280-hp turbocharged and intercooled 2.0L engine drives the Stelvio 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. The eight-speed automatic transmission with available steering column-mounted aluminum paddle shifters delivers gear changes in less than 100 milliseconds. All models feature a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution for balanced handling.
The Quadrifoglio leads the pack with a V-6 pumping out 505 hp that powers it from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds on the way to a holy-cow 176 mph top speed.
Other state-of-the-art technologies in the Quadrifoglio include a torque vectoring differential, Alfa DNA Pro drive mode selector with RACE mode and all-aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters maximize the driving experience.
Plus, it carries five people in leather-wrapped comfort and offers roomy cargo space for hauling the family’s gear. It starts at around $40k.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Sedan
Living up to one of the most historic nameplates in Alfa Romeo history, the current Guilia delivers race-inspired performance.
With the all-aluminum, 2.0L, direct-injection turbocharged engine, the Giulia and Giulia Ti sedans boast 280 hp and advanced technologies that include the available Q4 AWD system, seductive Italian styling and an exhilarating driving experience. All Giulia models feature an eight-speed automatic transmission with available column-mounted aluminum paddle shifters. Enthusiasts will appreciate the shifts that happen within 100 milliseconds.
Tech features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, remote start, LED taillights, DNA Drive Mode selector, a backup camera and rear park sensors.
The high-performance model Giulia Quadrifoglio highlights Alfa Romeo’s motorsport expertise with a 505 hp, 2.9L twin-turbo V-6 engine, making it the most powerful Alfa Romeo production car engine ever. It blasts off the line 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and lapped the Nürburgring in 7:32, the fastest ever by a four-door production sedan.
The Quadrifoglio’s power comes from the most potent production Alfa Romeo engine ever, a 505 hp 2.9L twin-turbocharged intercooled V-6. The carbon fiber hood, roof and rear spoiler improve the power-to-weight ratio. You can find one under $40k.
4C Coupe Spider
The sporty 4C is Alfa’s answer to the Corvette – a two-seat fun machine that’s sure to bring a smile to the driver’s face.
This race-inspired, mid-engine design and state-of-the-art, Formula 1-inspired carbon fiber monocoque chassis weighs just 2,500 pounds. Add the all-aluminum 1750cc turbocharged and intercooled engine with direct-injection and dual variable-valve timing that pumps put 237 hp. Couple that with a 10.4 power-to-weight ratio, this package delivers supercar-level performance, including 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds and 160 mph top speed.
The quick six-speed Alfa TCT (twin-clutch transmission) and Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector with four adjustable drive modes only add to the fun. The Twin Clutch Transmission responds with the on-demand power of a sequential shift and the convenience of an automatic for around-town driving.
Inside, the precision stitching and contoured seating reflect the drive to create a vehicle for pure driving pleasure.
Sure, Alfa Romeos aren’t the right choice for everyone. They tend to be small, pricey and the long-term reliability is anyone’s guess at this point. But if you’d like to add a little Italian flair to your motoring life, check them out at your local dealer.