WHILE other brands find themselves bickering over the technicalities of who builds the quickest SUV, Alfa Romeo has quietly gone and shown them all up by smashing the Nurburgring lap Record for 'fastest sport utility' - and with its first-ever attempt at an SUV, no less.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, or QV for short, has lapped the 20.8-kilometre Nordschleife in a stonking 7:51.7. Eight seconds faster than the previous record-holding high-riding wagon.
Powered by the same 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 as the Giulia QV that it shares its platform with, Alfa’s new range-topping SUV produces 375kW, and 600Nm, and sends all of that muscle through an eight-speed automatic. Unlike the Giulia, the Stelvio QV puts its power down via all four wheels, using a rear-biased AWD driveline with a torque-vectoring rear differential. All of that extra mechanical gear adds weight, but improves all-weather grip.
In the wake of yesterday’s announcement by Porsche that the 911 GT2 RS completed the same lap in 6:47.3, the Stelvio’s lap may seem a little…pedestrian.
But that’s because the headline figure from the GT2 RS doesn’t give you the right context.
Alfa Romeo’s lap is quicker than that achieved by the BMW M4 back in 2015, and puts it in the top 100 road cars to ever tour the Green Hell.
In fact, it smashes the Range Rover Sport SVR by roughly 23 seconds, and previous record holder Porsche Cayenne’s lap by 8 seconds.
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It’s also only 8 seconds off the time set by the Honda Civic Type R. Nevertheless, the Stelvio is still a fair whack slower than the Giulia QV - the Stelvio's sedan stablemate recorded a blistering 7:32 lap time at the hands of Fabio Francia, the same man who set the Stelvio's record-setting lap. There's no escaping the laws of physics.
But if you were starting to tire of Nurburgring announcements, or have a particular aversion to fast SUVs, you may want to batten down the hatches, as there is likely to be a flurry of SUV lap record attempts in the coming year.
The new BMW X3 M, Audi RS Q5, and Jaguar F-Pace, and next-gen Cayenne will all be wanting to top the Stelvio QV when they are released.