Super Stelvio a high-performance winner for Alfa Romeo

Super Stelvio a high-performance winner for Alfa Romeo

In the rarefied air of the Luxury/Performance category, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio came into the 2020 Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year awards as something of an outsider.

That status was comprehensively blown away as our jury – thrilled by what it described as “supercar” like levels of performance – made the Stelvio its clear choice. Never has the phrase ‘Italian stallion’ seemed so apt.

We invited Bob Flavin of the Irish Car of the Year judging panel to give us a post-lockdown look at why the Alfa Romeo Stelvio triumphed in the category. And wouldn’t you know it – Bob got his hands on the top-of-the-range Quadrifoglio version for our latest video review!

“Alfa Romeo have widened the Stelvio, they’ve stiffened it, they’ve given it special tyres, they’ve done everything possible to make this a performance machine including giving it a 2.9 litre bi-turbo engine,” he says. “But it’s all wrapped together in the guide of an SUV.

Sitting into the driver’s seat, I have to say it doesn’t feel like a big SUV,” he says. “It feels more like a premium car. You’ve got beautiful stitching on the steering wheel and the whole dashboard is made of carbon fibre. It’s just an extraordinary experience to sit into the car and know that you’re actually in a 4-wheel drive SUV.”

Making noise

“Around the back of this car is where all the noise happens, and the noise is quite extraordinary,” says Bob. “I mean, you can’t have a V6 engine that was built by Ferrari delivering 550 brake horsepower and not shout about it.

“Coming around to the side of the car, we can see that the wheel arch has been widened; in fact the entire car is wider and slightly longer than its predecessor,” he goes on. “It’s a subtle look for a high-performance car and don’t forget this is supercar territory wrapped up as an SUV. That’s exactly the kind of thing [the jury] was after in this category; something different.”

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio saw off competition from the Audi RS5, BMW 8 series, BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra to be crowned the Performance/Luxury Car of the Year in the 2020 Continental Irish Car of the Year awards.