One of the LA Auto Show’s most promising newcomers this year is Alfa Romeo’s first and brand new performance crossover, the Stelvio QV. Named after the world famous Stelvio Pass in the European Alps, the new crossover is supposed to pull the Italian brand out of the dirt and bring it back up to the world stage.
The Stelvio is based on Fiat-Chrysler’s new Giorgio platform which also forms the base of the Alfa Romeo Giulia. The compact SUV will make its global debut today in Los Angeles and should arrive at local showrooms in the beginning of 2017.
It was a strategic decision to unveil the new Stelvio in Los Angeles today, as the brand anticipates to win back market share in the North American market. Its sales declined by 23% this year to a mere 441 vehicles, the majority of which are the 4C coupe and 4C Spider. So far the brand’s reappearance in the American market, which started in 2014 after two decades of absence, hasn’t been very successful. The brand is betting on the Stelvio to turn the tables.
“American drivers are still getting to know the Alfa Romeo brand, and the introduction of the Stelvio is the best way to gain exposure to consumers in the bustling premium utility segment,” said Eric Lyman, chief analyst for TrueCar.
Parent company Fiat-Chrysler set ambitious targets for the 2018 year, in which it hopes that 400,000 Alfa Romeo’s will be sold worldwide. The automotive giant recently put $6 billion aside to resurrect the ‘forgotten’ brand and indicated that the new Stelvio should represent a large chunk of the anticipated sales figure for 2018.
In an effort to take away market share from its German competitors, Alfa Romeo said that the Stelvio’s superior driving characteristics should win potential buyers over. At the introduction the brand new crossover will come with two engine options. The entry model will get the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder producing 208 hp and 415 Nm of torque and the top of the range Quadrifoglio model is powered by Alfa Romeo’s 2.9-liter biturbo V6 good for 505 hp and 600 Nm of torque.
The QV model should be able to hit 100 km/h from a standstill in just 3.9 seconds, which is quite impressive for a crossover. It will also feature a cylinder deactivation module, shutting off half the cylinders in eco mode saving fuel, reducing emissions and increasing efficiency.
The Stelvio comes with the Q4 all-wheel drive system as standard and features a torque vectoring differential that improves the car’s traction and stability.
Inside trims are very similar to the recently launched Alfa Romeo Giulia, which was praised for its interior design. Buttons that are shared with the sports sedan are the climate control buttons, the flat-bottomed steering wheel with shift paddles and the infotainment system with integrated Android functionality and Apple CarPlay.
The Stelvio will become available in thirteen different exterior colors and a variety of interior trims. It will soon start production in the company’s Cassino plant in Italy, with pricing yet to be revealed.