There is no doubt that when it comes to an Alfa Romeo, a tiny drop of dribble will start collecting on Jeremy Clarkson’s bottom lip as his mind fades into a dream of driving the Italian beauty up an Italian mountain pass with the sound of an Italian sports car emanating from behind his Yorkshire ears.
There is nothing, bar maybe his family, maybe, Jeremy loves more than an Alfa.
At the same time, up there in his list of top 5 most hated things, is written ‘SUVs’. Right next to cyclists in spandex. “I’ll be honest with you, ” he says, “I loathe all the current crop of so-called SUVs, except those I dislike intensely. I cannot see the point of driving around in a car that’s slower, more expensive and thirstier than a normal saloon or estate. It just seems idiotic.”
So when Alfa offered him their new Stelvio SUV, he was rather torn.
“If you have a heritage as glamorous and as achingly cool as Alfa’s, why would you want to make a bloody school-run car? That is like Armani deciding to make carrier bags,” he says.
He begins by describing his feelings about a similar SUV, the Audi Q5, which he despises. When talking about its engine he says this:
“It’s about as exciting as the motor in your washing machine. By which I mean, you only really notice it if it goes wrong. Which you hope it will in the Audi, because then you can call an Uber. At least that’ll smell interesting. And come with some unusual opinions.”
And he’s quite right. But when running his gaze over the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Jeremy finds himself being enticed by the surprising good looks of the Alfa SUV. He was also surprised by the quality of the interior. “Way, way nicer than the Audi,” he says.
As far as diesels go, too, this one’s not bad. Clarkson reports that its mid-range surge is impressive while still being clean and having a high fuel economy.
There must be a downside to the SUV, though. Clarkson surely can’t be too smitten with it, can he? Well, yes, there is one downside. The steering is too fast, and while this would be perfectly acceptable on a car lower to the floor, Jeremy calls it ‘alarming’ on a car that may as well be on stilts.
He concludes however, that the Stelvio is in fact a “genuinely exciting car to drive”. A surprise? What may be a surprise is the fact he finished his article by saying it’s the only SUV he’s ever found tempting.
“It may even be irresistible when Alfa launches the version with the 500-horsepower petrol engine.”
Now if that’s not scary, I don’t know what is.