At the 2016 LA Auto Show, BMW’s aging X3 just gained yet another competitor. Now, as BMW phases this current-gen X3 out and develops a newer model, the Bavarians have a new contender to worry about — the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
Named after the famous Stelvio Pass in Italy, which many consider to be the greatest driving road in the world, the Stelvio is Alfa Romeo’s newest entry based on the Giulia platform. This new Alfa Romeo SUV will come in three flavors, the Stelvio, Stelvio Ti and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Both the Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models will come with the same 2.0 liter turbocharged 16-valve four-cylinder engine, 280 hp and an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission. Both will be all-wheel drive as standard and the setup can send up to 60 percent of the available torque to the rear axle.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the high-performance, packing the same 503 hp 2.9 liter twin-turbcharged V6 as the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Apparently, according to Alfa Romeo, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is capable of o-60 mph in an astonishing 3.9 seconds. If that holds true, it could knock off a BMW M3 with ease.
In terms of looks, the Stelvio isn’t the prettiest car Alfa Romeo has ever made. It basically looks like a Giulia that got stung by a bunch of bees. While I, personally, think that the Alfa Romeo Giulia is a beautiful car, the Stelvio just doesn’t wear the design nearly as well. Compared to the aging BMW X3, it’s a bit more interesting but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s better looking.
From the front, the two are close, with the Stelvio just edging the X3 in in overall prettiness. However, out back, the Stelvio looks a bit dumpy, as if its taillights were tired eyes. While the X3 isn’t a pretty car by any means, it’s sharper and more dynamic looking, especially out back.
On the inside, the Stelvio has the same sort of cabin as the Giulia, which is a good thing. While it might be a bit less ergonomic than the BMW X3 and it might not have the superb iDrive or technology, there’s something endearing about Alfa’s cabins. It might just be because they aren’t the same German interiors we always see, but there’s something more charming about the interior of the Stelvio than the X3.
Overall, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio has the powertrains, performance and style to compete with any of the Germans in the segment. While cars like the X3 and even Audi Q5 look a bit better, the Stelvio brings a sort of charm and flare that the Germans simply can’t match. In this segment, that flare could very well end up putting the Alfa Romeo Stelvio right in sales contention with the BMW X3. The Bavarians need to get cracking on the next model.