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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So despite it being a cold, drizzly day, I took some more photos. And it still manages to look stunning.
Want a review? 'Course you do.

(Disclaimer: I originally wrote this for petrolhead friends who aren't familiar with this car - or indeed Alfa Romeos - so there's a lot of stuff that even non-quad owners in this group will be aware of. So just bear with on that.)

I'll start with the easy stuff: The way it looks.
SUVs are a thing of necessity; of practicality. You buy one because you have kids, or a big dog, or because you still don't know that home delivery is a thing that exists. You certainly don't buy them for their looks. Even the really desirable marques like Range Rover Sports or Bentley Bentaygas. They're big and they're imposing. They have presence. But so does Lurch from the Addams Family. They're not "pretty".

This though? Well beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but as I left the house to go walk the dog this morning I saw this in the sunrise, and I did stop to admire it. For me, this is the prettiest thing I've ever owned.

And before you say it: I checked. I don't actually own my wife. So there.

But more than that, this car is all about the little details. The 'alfa romeo' signature in the headlights; the Cloverleaf door sills which I didn't even notice until this morning, the alfa emblem in the headrests; the steering wheel in which the designers couldn't decide whether to use leather, alcantara, brushed aluminium or carbon fibre, so they just put ALL of it in there.

It just feels more than it is. It feels like a car designed by people who not only actually give a ****, but LOVE what they do. It feels special.

How is it to drive?
In an anecdote? Jekyll and Hyde. Bruce Banner and the Hulk. I'm... running out of similar dichotomies. You get the idea.

The car has four driving modes: It gets the usual 'D-N-A' driving modes all new Alfas get (Dynamic; Natural; All-Weather), but with an added fourth option: Race. More on that 'box of frogs' mode later.

I'd mistaken 'A' mode for eco-mode yesterday. It reduces the power output, quietens the exhaust, and changes gears at much lower RPM. Squeeze the throttle a bit harder and you get a throaty burble from the engine hinting at the car's true nature. Turns out: No. This is 'all-weather' mode, and it's designed for tricky driving conditions and/or off-road driving. As if you'd even want to go off-roading in this. But you can... if you don't care about the paintwork. In this mode you can have 'soft' or 'mid' suspension settings. My advice: Soft. Always soft. Britain's roads aren't good enough for anything else.

'Natural' is its 'eco-mode'. It will switch off 3 of the 6 cylinders to save fuel, bringing them back to life as and when you decide to drive a bit faster. In both this and 'A' mode, the car is quiet and very comfortable. I expected the ride to be very firm in this kind of car, and whilst it's no Rolls Royce - the 21" alloys have all the 'give' of steel, so avoid bumps - it's not bad at all. The BMW M6 was a much harder ride. It's actually just a really nice car to drive 'normally'. Even the engine can be quiet if you want it to be.
'Dynamic' is a sports mode. You get more power from the engine, better throttle response, and is the highest setting you can have whilst still having soft suspension. 'Race' commits you to a minimum of 'mid' suspension (which already feels rock-hard) and the race suspension mode is basically a go-kart. There's no body roll, but also zero give over bumps and creases.

'Race' is - and I want to be clear about this - absolutely fucking insane. 0-62mph in 3.8s, and many owners claim that's a very modest figure; it's actually even faster than that. And honestly between the 4WD system and the way this thing just takes off with even the tickle of the throttle, I actually believe them, too. I reckon the actual time is closer to 3 seconds than 4. It would leave my old M6 trailing behind.

Also: That exhaust. It's the exhaust every red-blooded petrolhead wants. It crackles and burbles on the overrun; it pops on the gearshift, spitting out just a hint of fire, but only if you tell it to (i.e. if you drive the nuts off the car). In either of the two more gentle drive modes it settles down nicely, and becomes a very civilised car.
One that turns heads as you burble by, because did I mention how pretty it is!?

But I'd be remissed if I didn't talk about the engine. Holy ****. What an absolute masterpiece! It's not the sheer amount of power it puts out, or the fact that the turbos are mapped so there's no (evident) turbo lag. Or how it sounds. It's all of these things, but more than that: It's the way this thing revs! It loves to be driven, and driven hard. I was in it last night babying it because it's a new car, new engine and needs to be eased in. But no. It was begging me "More! Harder! Faster! Let's go go go!"

No wonder I came out of the car with a semi
ahem yes. I've done countless track days, driven Ferraris and Porsches and Lamborghinis, and proper racing cars, too - Formula Renaults and a 1994 Arrows Formula 1 car being the best things I've ever driven. There are more powerful engines, but none more exciting than this one. I doff my cap to you, Alfa Romeo. That's one hell of an engine.

Go on then, what are its faults?
I mentioned this car is all about the little details, and the same is true for its faults. For starters, the brakes are quite 'grabby' at low speeds. I thought this was due in part to it being a new car with new brakes (new brakes need time to 'bed in') and mostly due to the fact they're HUGE, as they need to be able to stop a 1.8-tonne SUV from 180mph (and ideally more than once, too). But when I mentioned it in this forum last night and someone (EDIT: Thanks, @ALFAOFFROAD !) explained it's more to do with the Brake-By-Wire System, which can be a little overzealous. So it'll never get better and I just have to get used to it. Oh.

Secondly: This car has lovely brushed aluminium paddle shifters mounted to the steering column (NOT the steering wheel, so they don't move when you turn the wheel). This is fine - and they're great - but they've also mounted the indicators and wipers stalks behind those paddles. It means your fingers have to sort of reach around behind those paddles just to reach the stalks. I'll get used to it, I'm sure, but for now it's just so fiddly.

But honestly, if those are my only gripes, it's a small price to pay for such a phenomenal car.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did you car come with Summer tires? Seems from the pictures...what's your plan for the winter/cold weather?
I drove a BMW M6 in snow and ice for several years, and this has 4WD. I'll be fine. :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Depends on the tires you had on the M6 ...
These don't get next to useless like corsas in cool weather, but the drop in adhesion is quite noticeable.
I've never had the summers on snow or ice, but I doubt any ultra hp summers are any good for that. Do-able is another story, and depending on how many days you might have to walk on eggs ...
I had Michelin Pilots, which I don't think come in the Quad's 21" sizes, but it's kind of a moot point because summer tyres in snow and ice are always going to suck.

In any case, my daily runner is a Kona EV. I'm unlikely to be using the Alfa in snow, and if I have to put winter tyres on anything i'd rather it be on the car for which tyres cost half as much. :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Congrats. It is stunning ! Deactivation of cylinders happens in all modes except RACE. It really happens in very short moments- in seconds. How long did you waited for it after the order ?
Thank you. :)

Me, personally? 2 weeks.
Basically what happened is this was a factory order by an old guy who ultimately had to cancel the order a month before it arrived, as the DVLA had taken his driving license away from him due to poor eyesight. With the car pretty much completing production by this point, the dealer kept the order on the books anyway in the knowledge that they'd still be able to sell the car as-is. The car had just arrived at the dealer when I put my offer in.

Took 2 weeks because the car needed to be registered first and get plates sorted out. However, when I initially enquired about lead times on Alfa Romeo, they said 5-6 months. They're not hit as hard by the global lead times because Alfa Romeo doesn't sell in vast quantities the way that VAG brands, Ford, Fiat etc do and they don't share production lines (apparently. Coulda sworn I heard they use Fiat's factory...)

Benefit of buying a car this way? Well aside from not having to wait, I got a £24,000 discount off the retail price. =D
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thats a good looking car, too bad the steering wheel is on the wrong side 😄
It is - quite literally - on the right side, thank you. :p

Jokes aside, that is one little gripe that's sadly common with european cars: The RHD conversion isn't perfect, so the pedals don't quite line up perfectly with the steering wheel.
It's not nearly as bad as you get with VAG brands (Audi and Porsche are famous for this; you almost feel like you're sat slanted!) and I remember reading about it being to do with where the bulkhead is in the car. It's why the best-selling cars in the UK are either Korean, Japanese or Fords designed and built in the UK - basically anything that was primarily designed in and for the RHD market.

But I've had several German whips before with a much worse offset. It's not so bad in the Stelvio.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
To correct everyone, including myself, cylinder deactivation can happen on N and A modes only.
Given the lack of clarity (until now), I feel better about getting it wrong. Especially as an Alfa Romeo newbie.
Also explains why I did get reasonable fuel consumption in 'A' Mode considering I was led to believe that's not what it's for.

So N and A for 'normal' driving/fuel saving.
D for a bit more power and noise.
'Race' if you want to turn a 3 hour journey into a 2 hour journey, or receive noise complaints from the neighbours. Got it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
R is better for turning a 2 hour journey into 3 hours, taking the back road long route.
Chart aside, a lot of discussion etc years ago on the giulia forum regarding cylinder deactivation. It only happens under specific conditions, and if it happens in N I have never noticed it - but maybe I never meet the conditions. What is obvious though is at a cruise the transmission selects a higher gear in N than D, and D than R.
FWIW, I've noticed it most in 'A', which is why in my review I said I thought that was the case on the day of collection, until someone told me it wasn't.
And then it turned out nobody knew what they were talking about. Until now. :LOL:
I have since noticed it in 'N', but I don't think it happens nearly as often. In 'A' it's more frequent (basically anytime the revs dip below 2,000rpm or so) and is 'noticed' by the engine going almost silent. Not akin to stop-start (it doesn't actually switch off altogether), but you no longer the get the rumble you normally get.

At least, by my brief and limited experience of a car I've had for all of 48 hours. So, pinch of salt etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, I'm driving down to Wales this weekend to visit the family. Anyone who has ever been to Wales will know why I'm excited: It is driving heaven there.
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But to get there, I've got a few hours of motorways ('Highways' in your speak) yet. So I imagine it'll be A or N until I get to Wales. 'D' once I get onto the Welsh B-roads, and then 'R' in Llyswen when I scare the bejeezus out of my dad in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Thanks man. WOW - 24,000 pounds discount !!!! Never heard of such big fat one. Good job. :) No, Alfa Romeo do not use Fiat factory. They have their own in Casino. I am not sure if now they share it with Maserati Grecale though???
Even if they do share it with Maserati, it's not like those get ordered in big numbers either. In any case: Alfa Romeo don't seem to be doing too bad with delays. Considering the car I previously had on order (and cancelled after waiting far too long) was from Skoda, and whilst the dealers are hesitant to admit it they have a 2-year waiting list.

Since there's no launch control, what I have found to be the most effective technique to power brake: Press hard on the brake, half way on the gas pedal to about 2,200 rpm for little over a second almost two (to let it build boost), punch the gas as you're releasing the brake.

More time than that doesn't do anything...if you start pinning tires when still braking you might even end up with a red message on the cluster due to driving while braking (if this were to happen, you need to shut the engine off and restart).

Scaring people on it is always fun, especially when it is your own family! :)
Thanks, man. I did see reviews pointing out the lack of launch control, so it's good to know where the sweet spot is for a 'manual launch' so to speak. ;) :LOL:
 
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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
The fact that we're still debating when cylinder deactivation happens makes me feel much better about being confused about it in my initial review. 😅
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
While I don't have to justify, it is always fun to share why I wanted one. I wanted to have fun in the car from time to time, from light to light or at the track...yes, any car can provide that but only a few are muscle monsters like the Stelvio QV.
I don't mind burning through fuel when I'm pushing it to the limits but I also don't want to waste it when cruising with the family, which is the reason why I use A mode only on highways.
I agree with you - it's fun to share what made us buy the cars we buy. If the same car was right for everybody, then everybody would just buy the same car.

For me, I already have a daily runner - a Kona EV. I charge it at home and use it to drive locally (which is like... 99% of trips).
But I have family in Wales who I see a couple of times a year, and a work office in Leeds that I only need to go to when the manager decides he wants a face-to-face meeting (which, since covid, has only happened twice).

My QF is ostensibly for those longer journeys, but really it's a weekend toy. I play D&D with some friends just out of town on sundays. There are some nice roads between me and them. I'll be using this beauty. On top of that, I have a big dog, and there are some decent nature reserves nearby that's good for walks, making the Stelvio a better option than the Giulia.

But the final piece of the puzzle - and the main reason I got a QF and not, say, the Veloce model - is because years ago I had a 'pride and joy' motor that I had to sell due to greater needs. I was gutted about selling it, and I've missed it ever since. But now years later I'm in a position where I can once again have something truly nice.

And this is it. This is my pride and joy. That's not something I can rationalise or justify, but eh, we're all Alfa owners here - you understand.
 
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