In December last year I had the privilege of attending the Alfa Stelvio launch at New Vaal Motors in Vereeniging. Having been thrilled to see and experience the entry of this first-ever Alfa SUV into the country, the only thing to top that experience would have been actually driving the Stelvio myself; and I wasn’t disappointed.
As with the launch, I felt a sense of honour being handed the keys to the Stelvio. There is definitely something special about being allowed to drive one of only ten vehicles currently in the country, and (as I always say) this really played to my inner-celebrity. This was further enhanced by the amount of attention the Stelvio gets on the road – heads turned everywhere I went, no less so because this gorgeous beast stands out in fiery Alfa red, and it’s thick, muscular design (flirting with classic Alfa curves) is really a unique sight on the roads.
The Stelvio’s interior is classic Italian design: living up to the brand status, you are surrounded by leather with woodgrain accents, comfort and space are a given, and not a single “cheap-feel” finish in sight. The interior is premium (as expected) and the panoramic sun roof adds to the dramatic and indulgent flair of the vehicle. As in my first summary of the vehicle at the launch, I once again admire the dashboard lay out and note that full steering controls, optional heated seats and superb on-board sound systems are but a few of the myriad features that comes standard in the Stelvio. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Stelvio can produce a fresh espresso at the push of a button; in all seriousness though, for the hefty price of this beauty, the list of standard features is impressive. Where one would usually have to add on these features at additional cost in competing brands, things such as satellite navigation are included as standard.
The actual drive of this vehicle is pretty high on my list of “unbeatable driving experiences”. A powerful 2.0 litre turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine cranks out a muscular 206 kW and 400 Nm of torque and causes a satisfying surge forward. Thanks to its beautiful light-weight design, the Stelvio is said to deliver a combined fuel consumption of around 7 litres to every 100 kilometres and helps this big vehicle feel light and responsive to the touch. In fact, driving the Stelvio is an engaging experience, and very few other SUV’s allow for a dynamic interactive experience, instead of feeling like you are literally just pushing a machine around.
New Vaal South shows off the Stelvio with pride, and when returning the vehicle, found it a stretch to identify any particular negative about the car itself. Everything about the Stelvio promotes a sense of luxury, style and comfort, and I felt very much like a movie star driving it. Starting at around R810 000 for the Super variant, and R946 000 for the First Edition variant, the Stelvio’s price tag snagged a little in my throat, but can easily be justified when taking this unbelievable car for a drive. It is also backed up by a 3 year/100 000-kilometre warranty and a 6 year/100 000-kilometre maintenance plan.
Looking forward to a great year ahead, the team at New Vaal South, headed by Dealer Principal Andre Potgieter, are anticipating the launch of the Alfa QV in the next few months too. I foresee a very exciting year ahead for this brand, and this dynamic, innovative dealership.
By Desh Bechan