What is it?
Not so long ago, the notion of an Alfa Romeo SUV touting more than 500bhp didn’t just seem unlikely, it was a fantasy of almost Wellsian proportions.
What few of us bet on was an insatiable global appetite for high-riding cars and Alfa’s recent – and so dearly welcome – rejuvenation as a purveyor of proper drivers’ machines.
The madcap result is the Stelvio Quadrifoglio seen here, which faithfully reproduces the blueprint set down by the Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon but adds a driven front axle and substantially more ground clearance to the mix.
It means you get the same rasping Ferrari-derived twin-turbo V6 tuned to 503bhp, and the same curvaceous, pugnacious exterior styling - only now with brutal wheelarch extensions, bonnet vents and a propped-up, puffed-out stance that’s perhaps just a little bit frightening if your existing notion of an SUV is a diesel Qashqai.
What we’ve been waiting to discover is whether you also get the same fluent, indulgent handling as the saloon on British roads. That is traditionally the first sacrifice at the altar of a raised ride-height, and while this car has previously impressed us enormously on the glass-smooth roads of Jebel Jais in the United Arab Emirates, the salt-caked, rutted roads of the Brecon Beacons ask of it rather more challenging questions.