Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV proves it has the speed of a sports car

There was a time when the idea of a Nürburgring lap record for SUVs was absurd, but that time is long past. The competition among automakers to have the fastest SUV at the famous German racetrack is just as intense as it is for any other category of performance car.

Victory in the latest Nürburgring battle goes to Alfa Romeo. The Italian automaker’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio lapped the 12.9-mile track in 7 minutes, 51.7 seconds, making it the fastest SUV to ever do so. It beat the previous SUV champ, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, by about 8 seconds. It’s worth noting that any time under 8 minutes was once considered supercar territory.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio was piloted to glory by Fabio Francia, an Alfa Romeo test driver who also achieved a 7 minute, 32 second lap in the automaker’s Giulia Quadrifoglio. Alfa says that is a record for a production-model sedan. The Stelvio is essentially a Giulia with an SUV body, so the mechanical differences between the two are fairly minimal. In the case of both models, the Quadrifoglio (Italian for “four-leaf clover,” referencing Alfa’s racing insignia) is the highest-performance version.

One look under the hood shows why it’s not surprising that the Stelvio and Giulia Quadrifoglio are record setters. Both cars pack a Ferrari-derived, 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which produces 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio sends that power to the ground through all four wheels. The SUV will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and reach a top speed of 177 mph, according to Alfa Romeo. Not bad for a vehicle that’s supposed be a practical family hauler.

While you can admire the performance of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, you can’t actually buy one yet. U.S. sales don’t start until early 2018, although less-extreme base model and Stelvio Ti trim levels are in showrooms now.

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s Nürburgring lap record probably won’t go unchallenged for long. Porsche will almost certainly return with a new hot rod Cayenne based on the redesigned third-generation model, and Lamborghini’s Urus SUV is still waiting in the wings. Alfa Romeo may have won this battle, but the war for performance bragging rights will continue.

Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Cars

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Cars

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second station wagon will arrive in 2020

The Mission E Cross Turismo concept Porsche unveiled during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show will morph into a production model tentatively named Taycan Cross Turismo. This 600-horsepower electric station wagon will arrive in showrooms by 2021.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Cars

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.