Alfa Rome is in dire need of a car that can pay the bills in the US market.
On Wednesday, that all changed with the introduction of the 2018 Stelvio SUV.
In a marketplace craving SUVs, the arrival of the Stelvio is exactly what the Italian performance brand needs if it wants to succeed in its return to America after two decades away.
Named after one of the most famous driving roads in the world — the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps — the Alfa SUV is designed to be more road-going speed demon than rock-crawling beast.
“Stelvio is uniquely engineered to challenge two-door sports cars on the track, without sacrificing any of the characteristics you would expect from a premium SUV, resulting in the perfect mix of high performance, capability and Italian design,” Alfa Romeo boss Reid Bigland said in a statement.
And the Stelvio certainly has the muscle to back up its sporting image.
The top-of-the-line Stelvio Quadrifoglio is powered by a Ferrari-derived 505 horsepower, 2.9 litre, bi-turbo V6 engine shared with the Giulia Quadrifoglio sedan. According to Alfa, the top spec Stelvio can hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 177 mph.
But there’s more.
Even the run-of-the-mill models get plenty of Italian horsepower under the hood. The base Stelvio and mid-grade Stelvio Ti models come standard with a 280 horsepower, turbocharged, inline-four cylinder engine.
All Stelvios come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive.
The Italian-built SUV is also available with a slew of other performance goodies including, torque vectoring, active suspension, limited-slip differential, Chassis Domain Control, and four select-able driving modes.
Inside, the top spec Stelvio Quadrifoglio is decked out in hand-stitched leather, carbon fibre, and Alcantara. In front of the driver is a 7-inch TFT instrument display flanked by two analogue gauges. While the main infotainment system runs through a larger 8.8 inch screen with 3D graphic navigation capabilities.
The Stelvio is also available with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and autonomous braking.
The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is expected to arrived in US showrooms some time in 2017 with the intention of taking on the Porsche Macan, the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, and BMW X3.
Alfa has not released official pricing data for the Stelvio.