quickest Giulia - which means that it's good for 3.8 seconds to 62mph and 176mph.
Unlike its saloon-shaped sibling, though, the Stelvio gets its maker's all-wheel drive system; a system minded to send 100 per cent of available torque to the fun axle and unable to deflect no more than 50 per cent back to the front. There are two clutches at the rear, too - electronically primed to vector power in the most dynamically gratifying direction. No less appealingly, Alfa says the model retains the Giulia's perfect weight distribution, and - thanks to many of the same mass-shunning features - is claimed to be the lightest car in a notoriously paunchy class.
Its conspicuous tallness - the model is not sunken at the arches like a Porsche Macan - is palpable in the driving experience. While the chassis' basic configuration (double wishbones up front; Alfa's patented multi-link in the rear, both backed by adaptive dampers) is also carried over, managing the Stelvio's loftier ride height has necessitated some telling compromises. The saloon's preternatural rolling refinement has been mitigated by a broader requirement for model-specific tautness; meaning that even in its default 'Natural' mode on the UAE's smooth roads, the SUV is less inclined to settle so amicably on its 20-inch alloys.
Of course, where it doesn't lumber (not even a little bit) is when you stop behaving like a considerate road user, and start making immodest requests of the overtly marvelous engine. The V6 will eventually indulge your right foot in any mode, but its response is best appreciated in 'Dynamic' and with you choosing the gears manually via the Quadrifoglio's splendidly massive alloy paddle shifters. These provide additional engagement with a process already brimming with physicality: the Stelvio pitching away from the horizon as the motor impels you bullishly and momentously towards it.
For many, if not most, manufacturers of prodigiously fast SUVs, the onus here would be on tenacity and stability, with only lip service paid to the concept of a notable rear bias. Not Alfa. Or not in 'Dynamic' mode at any rate, where even on rain-starved tarmac the Quadrifoglio can be easily coaxed into rotating on its surfeit of power before the front axle (and multiple circuit boards) encourage you straight. The line is fine though; the SUV is less forgiving than the Giulia, and far easier to urge into understeer.
Nevertheless, making the Stelvio throttle adjustable - or as throttle adjustable as propriety allows - gives its handling some undeniably invigorating gloss. Naturally this is less about genuine nuance than it is circumventing the all-wheel-drive inertia that reduces too many of the Quadrifoglio's rivals to on-roads dullards, and frankly we're all for that. In its most gratifying moments, the drivetrain even manages to convince you that the extraordinary potency of the engine and gearbox has been laid on for your enjoyment rather than simply to expedite a journey - which, in the context of the segment, is an unmitigated triumph.
Consequently it is hard not to end up squarely on the fence; admiring the sterling, thrill-first job done on the most expensive Stelvio, and simultaneously resenting it for not being all it could be were the design parameters kinder. That will stop precisely no-one buying it of course - and nor should it: alongside the much heftier Range Rover Sport SVR, the Quadrifoglio is probably the most interesting SUV to drive enthusiastically. But we'd still have a Giulia every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
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SPECIFICATION - ALFA ROMEO STELVIO QUADRIFOGLIO
Engine: 2,891cc, twin turbocharged V6
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 510@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 443@2,500rpm
Top speed: 176mph
MPG: 31.4 (NEDC combined)
Price: £67,000 (est)