While that all might sounds fairly convincing on paper, when you get settled behind the wheel you’ll likely find that the Stelvio Speciale leaves you wanting slightly in terms of material quality; especially when you consider it’s pitched to take on the likes of the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan.
Much like the Giulia saloon with which the Stelvio shares much of its interior aesthetic with, from a distance you can see that some effort has gone in to making the SUV’s cabin appealing on the design front. Cool monochrome colours are used in abundance, that 8.8in touchscreen is integrated cleanly into the dash fascia, and the steering column-mounted metal paddleshifters provide a clear hint of the Stelvio’s sporting pretensions.
Under closer inspection, however, you’ll find that many of the materials used in the Alfa’s cabin seem to be fashioned from fairly low-grade materials. The aluminium-effect panelling on the centre console, for instance, feels cheap; while the rotary dials that control the infotainment and drive mode selection are made from what feels like rather flimsy plastic.
That said, while the execution of the cabin’s finish might not quite be up to the standard you’d expect from a near £44,000 SUV, there are things it gets right. Driving position, for instance is spot on. The supportive, well-bolstered seats hold you firmly in position, and while the steering column could perhaps do with with a touch more adjustability for reach, there’s no noticeable offset.
It’s roomy, too; there’s enough head- and legroom in the second row to ensure two adults will be able to sit in comfort over a longer journey, while it’s 525-litre boot is larger than a Porsche Macan’s (500 litres) and only marginally smaller than an Audi Q5’s (550 litres).
So as a premium offering, the Stelvio Speciale is a bit hit and miss. The likes of BMW, Porsche and Audi all have it licked as far as perceived and realised quality and finish are concerned.
Out on the road, though, it remains a very compelling thing indeed. Knock the DNA drive mode selector into ‘Dynamic’, and and the Stelvio’s already prevalent sense of urgency will be amplified.
Doing so will add a bit more heft to the steering rack, which, at 2.25 turns lock-to-lock, lends the Stelvio a front end that’s incredibly keen on the idea of changing directions quickly, throttle response will become more immediate, and gear changes much snappier. As adaptive dampers aren’t a standard feature here, the ride won’t be affected; which is a good thing, as there’s a noticeable fidgetiness at town speeds. But get the Stelvio out on a faster, stretch of B-road, where more energy can through the suspension as the car interacts with the topography of the road, and the Stelvio will start to shine.
With a fair lick on, the inherent stiffness of the Stelvio’s set-up makes for closely-controlled vertical movements over undulating surfaces, but equally doesn’t give way to any uncouth crashing over cats-eyes or pock-marks. The restrained fashion in which lateral roll is doled out makes for impressive composure through quick-fire directional changes, too.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine, meanwhile, is impressively enthusiastic, if a little lacking on an outright sense of theatre. But for a degree of lag, it’ll pull tenaciously from about 2000rpm, and will continue to do so right until the point it hits its limiter at 6000rpm. And you’ll tease that limiter time and time again, too; this engine certainly isn’t averse to being thrashed.