Make: Alfa Romeo
Model: Giulia and Stelvio
Engine / Transmission: 2.9 twin turbo – 8 speed automatic transmission
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 10L/100km combined (but much thirstier in reality)
Price: From about $150000
In a nutshell:
If you want a sporty Alfa and you have a family, this is where you’re at.
Like all rev heads, I love Alfa Romeos. There’s just something about them. With the Quadrifoglio twins hitting the EFTM Garage we had a chance to experience a pair of quintessential Alfas – fast, uncompromising family wheels.
Of the pair, the Giulia is by far the prettiest and Alfa’s must be pretty – it’s the rules. The Stelvio looks impressive, but I can’t help but think if the Stelvio was a Gulia wagon it would be an absolute stunner. Officials at Turin think that the Giulia based Stelvio meets the same market demands – they’re wrong and it’s another case of SUV mania.
Despite having a wide range of owners over the years, including Fiat, Chrysler and now PSA, the company has always managed to keep a certain spirit in it’s products. For example, Alfa lists chassis control and weight distribution at the top of any ‘tech briefing’. Alfa lists off the Active Torque Vectoring, Active suspension, and the perfect 50:50 balance between the two axles well before modern ‘essentials’ such as lane keep assist and active cruise control. Both the Giulia and Stelvio have these features, of course, but they’re not the first place an Alfa engineer’s mind goes to. I really appreciate this and this kind of thinking shows every time you drive a Quadrifoglio.
The 8.8” touch screen infotainment display is not exactly groundbreaking. Nor is the wireless CarPlay and charging, but both are nice to have and work just fine.
Of far more importance to Alfa’s engineers (and I suspect, most Alfa buyers) is technology such as RACE mode that sees the 8 speed automatic swap cogs in 150 milliseconds. RACE mode also sees the exhaust note change from ‘ooooh’ to ‘yeaaaahhhh’! Unfortunately, the exhaust note in RACE mode is also responsible for us getting nowhere near the claimed 10L/100km combined cycle fuel consumption. It’s an addictive feature and well worth the extra fuel use.
Of course, the beauty of good technology in cars is that it can allow one car to perform many functions. For example, both Quadrifolgio’s have the ability to deactivate one bank of cylinders in order to improve fuel economy. Further, both feature quite brilliant stop-start radar cruise control, making city traffic a breeze.
Easily the most impressive thing about both of these Alfa Romeos though is their commitment to being unapologetically Italian sports sedans. The Ferrari derived twin turbo V6 is not only epically fast, but full of character. Likewise, the interior aircon vents are placed for aesthetic appeal, rather than brutal efficiency.
These are exactly the sort of family wheels rev-heads dream about.
Not So Impressive:
Of course, the issue comes when you have to hand over the coin. Neither the Giulia or Stelvio is cheap and when you cross shop in this stratified field of $150k – $200k, you find some incredibly impressive competition. It’s a case of the Alfa not being good value, but of the competition being just so strong.
Ultimately, if you are lucky enough to find yourself in this predicament, only you will be able to decide which way to jump.
WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE:
Get out of the city, find a tight country road with a 100kph limit and a ton of hairpin bends, hook up RACE mode and get ready to indulge in an unforgettable experience.