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Motoring news

Blistering new Alfa Romeo SUV

November 15 2017

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the fastest SUV in its class, according to its makers. Evidence for the claim is a remarkable 3.8-second 0-62mph time from the newcomer, a top speed of 176mph and an SUV-record-setting lap record of 7 min 51.7s around the legendary 14-mile Nurburgring circuit in Germany. It goes on sale in the UK from the summer of 2018 and is Alfa Romeo’s first high performance SUV. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrU00xoUy8A The new model will target the latest generation of performance SUVs, including the forthcoming BMW X3 M and F-Type SVR, as well as the well-established Porsche Macan. The Quadrifoglio will sit at the top of the Stelvio range, Alfa Romeo’s first SUV which went on sale in September. There’s no word yet on how much the new model will cost but industry chatter is it’ll be around the £65,000 mark. That more or less matches the premium applied to the Quadrifoglio version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia salon over the most expensive standard version, the Veloce. The current top of the range Stelvio Milano costs £45,390. Under the bonnet lies a 2.9-litre turbocharged V6, which produces 503bhp and 600Nm of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Helping to deploy that power is a ‘Q4’ four-wheel-drive system. For the most part the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will be a rear-wheel-drive car, but up to half the engine’s torque can be transferred to the front wheels when needed. Indeed, the all-wheel-drive system includes torque vectoring to individually control power delivery to each wheel while carbon-ceramic brakes will also be part of the Quadrifoglio specification. The car will be distinguished from other Stelvio models by exterior modifications including additional vents on the bonnet and flanks, side skirts, large body-coloured wheel arches and quadruple exhaust finishers. The interior will feature extensive use of leather, Alcantara and carbon fibre trim. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJHN_LNNzog&list=PLfw_isEyHQQH-fmJyEqVvTVEXAg1oCYcL The “Quadrifoglio” badge is Alfa Romeo’s performance sub-brand. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is a super-saloon that shares some of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s technology. With Jaguar developing an “R” version of its F-Pace and BMW creating “M” versions of its X3 and X5 models, it seems we’re heading towards something of a golden age for performance SUVs. That also means this Alfa will have some very stern competition indeed – and that’s without mentioning the already-available Tesla Model X, an all electric SUV that can get from 0-62mph almost a full second sooner than the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Plenty of people love the growl of a big petrol engine to the silence of an electric motor, however, and Alfa Romeo has no shortage of fans. I suspect its latest model will do well. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Motoring news

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio to start at £69,500 in UK

March 31 2018

Alfa Romeo’s superfast SUV, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, will cost just under £70,000 when it goes on sale in the UK this summer. That’s more than double the entry price of the Stelvio SUV, but it buys you one of the fastest 4x4s out there. It uses a Ferrari-built 2.9-litre V6 producing 503bhp mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a torque vectoring system for shifting the power around. Helped by four-wheel drive, it’s good for 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and will go on to a top speed of 176mph. Standard specification for the Stelvio include 20″ alloys, specially profiled wheel arches, a new rear diffuser, four-pipe sports exhaust, bi-xenon headlights, leather and Alcantara seats, carbon fibre trim and stainless steel pedals, There are four selectable drive modes: Dynamic, Natural, fuel economy-focused Advanced Efficiency and performance-oriented Race. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s eight-speed automatic gearbox has been tuned to shift gears in just 150 milliseconds when the car’s in Race mode. The driver can also shift gears using steering column-mounted aluminium paddles. The carbon-ceramic brakes have Alfa Romeo’s Integrated Brake System, which the company claims reduces stopping distances by combining a stability control system with the car’s brake servo. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes in four-wheel drive only, however under normal driving conditions the car sends 100% of the power to the rear wheels. If it senses slippage up to half of the power is shifted to the front wheels to aid with grip. The standard Stelvio - the first mainstream Alfa Romeo SUV - is priced from £33,990 in entry-level trim; £740 less than the equivalent Jaguar F-Pace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDxidKKikL8 There are just two engines on sale: a 2.2-litre diesel with either 178bhp or 207bhp, with the latter available exclusively in all-wheel drive, or an all-wheel-drive 2.0-litre petrol with 197bhp or 276bhp. The entry-level engine is the 178bhp diesel in rear-wheel drive. The Quadrifoglio version is available to order from Alfa Romeo dealerships now and first deliveries are expected to start in the summer.

Motoring news

Latest Alfa saloon

October 19 2016

Order books are open on Alfa Romeo’s Giulia. The pretty four-door saloon will cost from £29,480 and is aiming to steal sales from the BMW 3 Series. The entry price will net you a model in base trim, which comes as standard with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol. Base models get 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, climate control, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Entry price is £4,000 more than the 3 Series or a Jaguar XE but Alfa has given the Giulia a more powerful engine and better standard kit than its established rivals. It’s also a very good looking car and has one of the finest sporting pedigrees. For those with deep pockets there’s a £59,000, 503bhp Quadrifoglio model.


Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta turns on the style

May 9 2010

Alfa Romeo's stylish Giulietta will cost from £16,995 when it goes on sale in the summer. Buyers can choose from three petrol engines two 1.4 litre units developing 120 or 170bhp, and a range-topping 235bhp 1750 TBi Cloverleaf and two diesels, a 105bhp 1.6 and a 2.0 litre with 170bhp. Sitting on Alfa's brand new compact chassis, all Giuliettas come with start/stop technology to improve fuel economy. There are three specification levels: Turismo, Lusso and Veloce. The Cloverleaf, meanwhile, comes with its own exclusive interior. Priced at £24,995, it's quite a fire-breather, with 0-62mph coming up in 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 150mph. All versions come with air conditioning, electric windows all round, LED lights front and rear, six airbags, and Alfa Romeo's DNA system, which tailors the car's behaviour for various road conditions.

Motoring news

Alfa Stelvio new to SUV arena

July 26 2017

Another day, another SUV...but this is one of the more exciting ones. For generations Alfa Romeo has made hatchbacks, saloons and coupes with a sporting twist. They’re often as practical as their humdrum counterparts, but with stellar looks and sporting pedigrees they remind us cars needn’t be humdrum. Now the Italian company has launched its first SUV. The Stelvio will go on sale in the autumn with prices starting at a tenner under £34,000. That undercuts the Jaguar F-Pace’s entry cost by around £7,500 and gives an idea of the models Alfa is targeting. There are four engine options on sale initially: a 2.2-litre diesel with either 178bhp or 207bhp, with the latter available exclusively in all-wheel drive, or an all-wheel drive petrol with 197bhp or 276bhp. The entry price buys you the lower powered diesel in rear-wheel drive. The petrol range kicks off at £34,690, with a 197bhp, turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder mated to an all-wheel-drive system. The 276bhp all-wheel drive petrol model starts at £43,690. The two more powerful diesel and petrol engines will be available from launch, but buyers who want the lower powered, cheaper engines will have to put up with a small wait. Like the Giulia saloon, the Stelvio’s lineup is divided into four distinct trim levels – standard ‘Stelvio’, ‘Super’, ‘Speciale’ and ‘Milano Edizione’. The entry-level car gets 17in alloys, adaptive cruise control, an 8.8in infotainment system, automatic lights and wipers and two rear USB ports. At the top of the range is the supercar baiting Quadrifoglio, which will come with a new all-aluminium 2.9 litre bi-turbo petrol engine producing a whopping 503bhp. It’ll be added to the range sometime after launch. It’ll be four-wheel drive but will deliver 100% of power to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions, only diverting power when grip is needed. Alfa predicts the Stelvio will be its best selling model. I don’t doubt them. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


Review: Alfa Romeo Giulietta

March 5 2011

Few car manufacturers have as enviable a reputation, pedigree and history as Alfa Romeo. As a car reviewer, I always look forward to the next Alfa with a measure of anticipation. This one is the Giulietta, the replacement for the 147. It's a handsome car replacing a handsome car, but at least they've given it a much more evocative and fitting name this time not just a collection of dry numbers. Giulietta ownership starts at £17,450 for the 1.4-litre turbo petrol version in basic Turismo spec, rising to just under £24,995 for the 235bhp Cloverleaf version. I drove the 2.0 JTDm Lusso, costing £21,650. Its 170bhp, 2.0-litre diesel engine provides a useful blend of performance and economy. Nought to 62mph is knocked off in eight seconds dead, while a careful driver can expect to nudge 60mpg. The car has Alfa's DNA system, which adjusts the steering, brakes and engine. Normal mode speaks for itself, and All Weather mode tailors the car for the worst the Scottish winters can throw at it. Most entertaining is Dynamic mode, which makes steering sharper and the engine more responsive. The car handles fairly well in the standard setting, but it's worthwhile switching over if you plan to have fun with it. Switch the button to D and the engine sits higher in the rev range, while steering input response goes from good to razor sharp. It's a car whose on-road performance does much to live up to its sporting pedigree. The body remains flat and poised throughout even fast cornering and is great fun on some twisty country lanes. The only fly in the ointment is the big diesel engine makes it a tad nose heavy. It's a fine cruiser as well, knocking off motorway miles with ease. Downsides include poor rear visibility and less than generous leg and headroom for rear passengers. Most people who are looking at an Alfa probably won't be too concerned about this, however. It's good looking, different and puts a smile on your face. For potential buyers, that ought to be enough. Price: £21,650. 0-62mph: 8.0sec. Top speed: 135mph. Economy: 60.mpg. CO2 emissions: 124g/km.

Road tests

Alfa’s handsome new addition

July 13 2016

It’s sometimes said everybody should own an Alfa Romeo at least once in their lives. For many years that experience meant a brief burst of driving pleasure followed by frequent visits to the garage and bubble-bursting repair bills. That’s no longer the case. In recent times Alfa has upped its game dramatically when it comes to reliability. Why would you have a boring old Focus, Astra or Golf when for just slightly more money you could have this: the Giulietta. Prices start around £18,500 for the mid-size family hatchback, which puts it just above Ford and Vauxhall but below premium hatches such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. Particularly when viewed from the front and side it is an achingly pretty car. There is the bonnet’s V-shape, teardrop headlights and jauntily offset number plate. Take a casual glance from the side and it appears to be a three-door car. This is because Alfa have cunningly disguised the rear door handles by integrating them into the window frame. Owners can gain additional satisfaction by watching new passengers endeavour to find their way into the rear seats. Even entry level models get twin exhausts and the Alfa badge on the back doubles as a keyless electric tailgate release. It’s fair to say it’s easy on the eye. Buyers have a bit of choice when it comes to what goes under the bonnet. There is a 1.6 litre diesel with 120bhp and a 2.0 litre diesel with either 150 or 175bhp. Petrol choices are a 1.4 litre turbocharged unit with 150 or 175bhp, and a range topping hot hatch Quadrifoglio Verde model with 240bhp. There are five trim levels: Giulietta, Giulietta Super, Giulietta Tecnica, Giulietta Speciale and Giulietta Veloce. All models come with air conditioning, a Uconnect infotainment system, electric windows, a hill-holder clutch to stop you drifting backwards on junctions and a Stop/Start system. I drove the 150bhp petrol model. It does 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds which was sprightly enough for me. It’s a small petrol engine with a turbo charger. As such you need to keep that turbo spinning to get the best out of it. Change up too soon and it feels gutless but choose the correct gear and it surges forward nicely. That small capacity makes it rather frugal too: official combined economy is a whisker under 50mpg. For a style-oriented car it is surprisingly practical. Many rivals sporty models are three-door so the Alfa has an immediate advantage when it comes to access. That one-touch button for releasing the tailgate is easier to use than a handle and the boot itself is fairly capacious. Inside, there’s a touchscreen system for operating the stereo, sat nav, phone and other functions. The rest of the interior is pleasant enough but it does lack the sparkle that sets the Giulietta’s exterior apart from the crowd. There’s Alfa’s “DNA” system that lets you choose “dynamic” “natural” or “all weather” driving modes. The Giulietta is pleasing enough to drive but doesn’t feel as special as it should: the Focus handles better and a Golf is more refined. Some might question why you would pay more for a car that drives no better than the opposition. Others will look at it differently. A Golf, Focus or Astra is parked on every other suburban drive. Spend just a little bit extra and you can own something completely different. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk Price: £20,700 0-62mph: 8.2 seconds Top speed: 130mph Economy: 49.6mpg CO2 emissions: 131g/km

Sauber take wraps off new car following Alfa Romeo tie-up

February 20 2018

The Formula One launch season continued on Tuesday as Sauber unveiled their first car following its new partnership with Alfa Romeo.Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo is back in the sport following an absence of more than three decades and its white and red colour scheme has been adopted by Sauber.Sauber, who will be powered by Ferrari engines this season, finished last in the 2017 constructors’ championship after scoring only five points.The heavily-sponsored Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson has been retained by the Swiss team, while Charles Leclerc, the impressive young Frenchman who won F1’s feeder series Formula Two last year, joins as a rookie.Sauber boss Frederic Vasseur said: “I am convinced that Marcus and Charles form the perfect driver line-up, with one being an experienced driver and one a promising rookie.“Our target ahead of 2018 is clear. We have to catch up with the field and continue improving our performance during the course of the season.”Sauber’s launch follows Haas, Williams and Red Bull, with Renault due to take the wraps off their new car later on Tuesday.Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will be at Silverstone on Thursday for Mercedes’ car launch.


Two killed in Aberdeen crash identified

April 2 2015

Police have named a motorcyclist and passenger killed in a road crash. Steven Reiach, 23, and Dawn Watson, 24, died after a collision with a car on Aberdeen's Hilton Drive yesterday evening. The pair were travelling on an off-road motorbike at the junction with Hilton Road when the crash happened at about 8.55pm. Mr Reiach, from the city's Northfield area, died at the scene and Ms Watson, from Seaton, was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where she later died. The 44-year-old male driver of the Alfa Romeo car was not injured. The road was closed for around five hours as investigators attended the scene.