2017 was the year of Super SUVs. While Lamborghini launched its Urus last year, we are yet to drive it so the Italian all-paw was not considered for this year’s awards. However another Italian stormed into the scene and blew us away with its incredible performance that we were forced to overlook two other extraordinary performance SUVs.
The Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk are astonishingly capable driving machines by any standards. However, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio with its Ferrari-built 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 trounced these two in our awards comfortably. Boasting 510bhp and 600Nm of torque, the Alfa SUV dispatches the 0-100kph dash in 3.8sec on its way to a top speed of 283kph.
At 1,750kg, the Stelvio is a relative lightweight and it’s so sprightly that there’s none of the inertia and hesitation in turning in to a corner that are normally typical of the SUV experience. Although you’re percehed a little higher, the feeling from behind the wheel is of piloting a very capable sports saloon. More than the raw pace, it’s the sheer agility, immediacy in responding to driver inputs and liveliness that makes driving the Stelvio such an exhilarating experience. This is in stark contrast to the clinical efficiency of the German Super SUVs.
It’s fast, engaging and charismatic, and with its typically Alfa traits of quirks and idiosyncrasies, is a more endearing choice than its rivals.