Alfa Romeo Unveils The All New Stelvio – Everything We Want In An SUV

It’s finally here, the all new Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The fourth model the Italian automaker has brought to the United States in the past decade to reintroduce the brand to the New World. In true Italian style, Alfa Romeo has made it’s presence known even before walking through the door, as the Giulia hasn’t hit showrooms yet, but will very soon. The Stelvio introduces Alfa to the SUV market, and they’ve swung for the fences at their first at bat.

With the unveiling of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the generation of immediate buzz in the automotive world has been deafening, as the Italian SUV is set to be the fastest in its class at the Nurburgring. With a Ferrari powered V6 engine producing 505 horsepower, no one up to this point has produced a faster SUV, not including the Tesla Model X which is electric. Better yet, the Stelvio is capable of a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, which is faster than the Alfa Romeo 4C. Not even Porsche can boast that it produces the fastest SUV, as the Macan and Cayenne have met their match.

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More importantly than the performance is the styling. Alfa designed the Stelvio similar to the Giulia, which will only make it more attractive to new buyers. One of the biggest concerns with early renders of the Stelvio was it’s face, as it took on the appearance of the Giulietta. While the initial styling was up to par, had Alfa Romeo stuck with the design, it’s possible that early receptions wouldn’t have been positive.

Together, the Giulia and Stelvio give Alfa a chance to compete and even stand out in a very crowded market for both crossovers and small sports sedans. Also contrary to where the luxury market is heading, Alfa is promoting driving experience and performance while the Germans are fixated on driver assisting technologies. Right now, the Italians have an opportunity to change the landscape in the current automotive market, and reintroduce driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel. Needless to say, the Giulia and Stelvio’s appearances are distinct, and brings a new breath of fresh air into a very stale luxury performance segment.

The Stelvio is expected to hit showrooms sometime next year, and we can only hope that there are no delays, as Alfa Romeo pushed back the Giulia’s arrival to the US market multiple times. Over the next few months we should get a better idea of the true performance and craftsmanship, when car reviewers get behind the wheel.

The future looks bright for Alfa Romeo heading into 2017. The only dark clouds that linger is the reliability of the Giulia and Stelvio. If the Italians can hit a home run with these two models, not only will that ensure their survival in the US, but we’ll get bigger and better vehicles from the brand that understands what being a true car enthusiast is all about.

2017 – The Year of Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Jaguar: Alfa Romeo Giulia

We’re nearing the end of 2016 which can only mean one thing; new car unveilings! Car shows start touring across the United States and consumers from Massachusetts to California can take a close look at new cars that will be on dealerships’ lots this upcoming year, and for some models, hitting the showroom before the new year. 2017 is shaping up to be the year of Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Jaguar, as all three manufacturers have extended their product lines to compete in markets that were once considered foolish to enter. These models include the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Maserati Levente, Jaguar XE, and Jaguar F-Pace.

Over the next few days, we will go over each model that these three manufacturers have already added or are adding to their lineups. So let’s start off this series with the all new Alfa Romeo Giulia.

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Car enthusiasts are excited and anxious for Alfa Romeo to officially mark their return to the United States with the arrival of the Giulia. With the 4C introducing consumers to the Alfa brand, the Giulia is what will put the Italian automaker on the map in the American car market. Their answer for the BMW 3 Series and M3, Alfa Romeo is putting a lot of pressure on themselves to hit a home run with the Giulia Quadrifoglio, not only in terms of reliability, but performance as well.

Car and Driver’s review seems to echo most journalists, and also enthusiasts, who are well aware of the Italian’s electrical and mechanical issues.

The car is impressive. Well, mostly. We did find a surprising number of electrical idiosyncrasies in the cars we drove in Italy, from freezing display screens to a check-engine light. We also found the interior trim did little to dismiss stereotypes about Italian build quality, with some cheap-feeling switchgear and a center console that deflected under gentle pressure. We’ll wait to reserve our final judgments until we have more time behind the wheel, but the Giulia Quadrifoglio seems well prepared to battle the competition from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Cadillac. It outguns all but Mercedes’ C63 S by a fair margin and—based on our limited first exposure—delivers more emotional appeal, too. This is one comparison test that we’re really, really looking forward to.

The most appealing aspect of the Giulia is the Ferrari powered V6 engine that puts out 505 hp. Unfortunately Alfa Romeo recently said that a manual transmission will not be offered in the United States, which has already disappointed many. On the bright side, the Giulia is not sharing the same platform as the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 and instead is built on an Alfa Romeo designed RWD platform making this car unique to the Fiat-Chrysler brand. In terms of performance, it appears that BMW and Cadillac have some serious competition with the Italian’s arrival to the market, and now Mercedes Benz might have a legitimate contender for the C63 S.

Despite the paranoia that the Giulia might end up like many Alfa Romeos that have proceeded it in the past, there’s a lot of hope and excitement for the future. The Italian automaker is hitting the right chord among consumers. They’ll be offering a base model with the price still to be determined, but early estimates are around $40,000, which is within the range of the BMW 3 series, Audi A4, and Mercedes Benz C-Class. A 280 hp 2.0L 4 cylinder engine paired with an 8 speed automatic transmission, and RWD and AWD drivetrains as options, Alfa will have a cornerstone to build from, giving them a good chance of capturing market share rather quickly once it arrives in showrooms in November.

Take it which ever way you want, but Alfa Romeo built the Giulia with absolutely no parts from the Chrysler brand. Completely Italian inspired, Alfa has the chance to distance itself from being considered a product of the Fiat-Chrysler brand, which would be an ideal perception they want from consumers as Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep have had many issues in it’s history since the acquisition by Fiat.

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Alfa can start off fresh and hit the ground running once the Giulia enters the US market. The Italians are hoping for a successful launch as the their sedan will set the stage for phase two, when the crossover SUV known as the Stelvio, joins the Giulia in Alfa Romeo dealerships’ showrooms in 2017. This is now their time to shine, and as car enthusiasts, we can only watch and wait to see if this return to America is a success.

The Poor Man’s Exotic: Lotus Evora

Lotus Evoras
DryHeatPanzer via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Exotics are often very rare, high performance sports cars that grab the attention of fellow drivers and pedestrians. These cars often grab a lot of attention, with many people either taking photos or approaching the owners if they’re nearby, asking them how much the car cost and complementing them on their choice of a supercar. But there are often many sports cars that are below $100,000 that usually fly under the radar, some of which have a presence of being a six figure exotic, and to the average person on the street, the Lotus Evora is one of those cars.

A car manufacturer that in my opinion is extremely underrated, Lotus is often forgotten and left in the shadows behind Jaguar and Aston Martin. The small car brand is a diamond in the rough, and because of that, the Evora comes in at a great price, offering performance and an appearance of being exotic. Currently, Lotus hasn’t brought any new models to the United States, but plan to return near 2020. In the meantime, there are 2010-2014 models on the market that have either never been driven, or well taken car of by previous owners.

Starting with price, you can find a 2013 Evora for $54,500 and almost brand new 2014 models for just under $80,000. With those prices, that’s right in line with the Alfa Romeo 4C, Porsche Boxster and Cayman. In terms of rarity, the Evora is more like the 4C, and because of its scarcity, you’re going to turn heads when driving through the center of town. However, your car’s fans will not be seeing much of you at the gas station. Unlike exotics, the Evora receives a combined 30 mpg. To put that into perspective, you’re getting better gas mileage than a Volvo. So your car may be less safe, but it’s more fun to drive and less stress on your wallet.

Performance-wise, the Evora comes standard with 276 horsepower, powered by a Toyota 3.5 liter V-6. Most of the remaining Evoras on the market come with 345 horsepower, and are usually the S 2+2 trim. 0-60 times are around 4.4 seconds, which is similar to the Alfa Romeo 4C’s 4.1. The main reason why the Lotus is slower than others in its class is because it’s heavier, but that certainly doesn’t limit the Evora’s overall performance.

The Evora is one of the more under-appreciated cars on the market. However, on the road that’s a completely different story. While you’ll have to look around for a dealership that has one, and may have to travel 200+ miles, it’s well worth the trip. These cars will not break the bank, and ask any owner, the Evora was definitely worth the price.

The Poor Man’s Exotic: Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa Romeo 4C

It’s 2016, and what better way to kick off the new year than to start a series about exotics, or rarer cars that you don’t see on the road that frequently, and that won’t break the bank if you decided to purchase one. This won’t be a series that starts out by saying, “Why pay $100,000+ on this exotic, when you should get this sports car for half the cost?”. With car season a few months away up here in New England, it will be a good time to look at alternatives that can offer the same amount of fun and exhilaration while you save up and work towards your dream supercar.

Since its arrival to US shores, the Alfa Romeo 4C has captivated the hearts and souls of many car enthusiasts across the country. An Italian masterpiece, made with a carbon fiber chassis, F1 inspired, super lightweight sports car that grips the road as if it were magnetized to the pavement, gives you the sense that it is in fact a supercar. With a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds, this four cylinder packs a punch. While the 4C only has 237 hp, its lightness and torque makes up for its relatively low horsepower, statistically speaking.

However, what turns heads is the 4C’s appearance. An incredibly beautiful car, and one might goes as far as to call it sexy, is what’s drawing the attention of everyone on the streets. Alfa Romeo’s first car of hopefully many in the company’s return to America is still rare, as only 55 4C’s were sold per month on average in 2015.

A price tag of $65,000 for the base model and close to $80,000 for the top of the line trim and spider variant is about $20,000 – $35,000 cheaper than a 10 year old Lamborghini Gallardo that was well taken care of by the previous owner. The 4C will also be an alternative to a Porsche Carrera.

Now again, as I stated before, this isn’t an argument based on finding an exotic that makes more sense financially, and possibly in terms of enjoyment, but an article that’s bringing awareness to the fact that there are options out there where you can find an awesome car priced below $100,000.

It’s A Beautiful Sight To See Alfa Romeos Back On US Soil

This past weekend was Tutto Italiano at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts, an event that brought the very best New England had to offer with an endless array of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Fiats, and Alfa Romeos. It was no surprise to see the Alfa Romeo 4C take the center stage, with the 8C accompanying it’s younger sibling. You’ve probably heard it many times before by car enthusiasts and car television shows, but Alfas are truly special and unique. The styling of the 4C and 8C is incredibly beautiful, and Alfa is just getting started with their reintroduction to the United States.

The Giulia sedan will be landing on our shores sometime in 2016, with great anticipation that it can take on the very best the Germans have to offer in the sedan market. Alfa Romeo, despite their absence in the New World prior to the 4C selling in higher volumes, has been, and always will be a special auto brand that captures the passion and emotion a driver goes through being behind the wheel and owning an amazing Italian sports car. Their marketing on YouTube reinforces why people have a love affair with a car that has for too long stood in the shadows of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati. But now it’s Alfa Romeos time to shine in the spotlight and the recognition their cars deserve.

The 4C may only have a four cylinder engine and produce 237 horsepower, but Italians have a way of making us forget what’s under the hood and appreciate the details and craftsmanship that makes up an exotic car. When you stand before a 4C or 8C, you can’t help but stare and take in what you’re seeing. Maybe when Alfa Romeos become common they’ll lose that “awe” factor when you see one passing by you, or when you’re at a car event, but for the time being, there’s something special about them that very few people can describe.

For the automotive industry as a whole, it’s an amazing time to be a witness to what is taking place. To see Alfa Romeos on our streets, and getting a new generation excited about the Italian automaker, it’s a great feeling. Hopefully the Giulia is everything we’re hoping for because you can’t help but root for a company that understands the emotions and feelings that come with a beautiful car.

So here’s to Alfa Romeo, and wishing the Italian auto manufacturer the very best to the reintroduction of an amazing brand to the United States.

Follow @bostonautoblog on Instagram for more pictures from Tutto Italiano and other car events this summer