Alfa Romeo SUV smashes supercars with new Nürburgring lap record
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We've been asking that question for years now ... why are certain manufacturers so passionate about engineering and creating really fast SUVs? And, why are people buying them? What energizes someone to bypass sports cars, to bypass sports sedans and performance-flavoured estates, only to settle on an SUV with a 'racing' badge nailed to the tailgate?
There are plenty of reasons — 'oh I heard bigger cars are safer', 'oh I need the room for the kids and the dog and for transporting collapsed fire balloons and zebra enclosures', you've heard them all by now I'm sure.
The real reason of course is that they love being able to look down on other drivers of course ... but anyway. Where were we.
Oh yes, we're here to talk about the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Like everything that wears the long name starting with 'Q' it is a seriously quick machine (SUV or not). So to prove it, Alfa Romeo did what every manufacturer does these days ... they took it to the Nürburgring Nordschleife and utterly decimated the production record.
Seven minutes, 51.7 seconds (you can check it out at the top of the story). Like it or not, that's a monster of a lap time. Just as quick as that of the BMW M4, quicker than a Ford GT, and more to the point eight seconds quicker than the former record-holding Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.
Like its Giulia cousin, the Stelvio utilizes a heck of a lot of technology to make that pace happen. The 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 makes 376kW and 600Nm gets power to the ground through Alfa's Q4 all-wheel drive system, helping it hit 100km/h in four seconds and ultimately reach a top speed of 285km/h.
“We specifically engineered and designed the Stelvio Quadrifoglio to set world-class benchmarks and it did not disappoint with a world-record Nürburgring lap time of 7 minutes and 51.7 seconds,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Alfa Romeo.
“We’re proud to now hold two Nürburgring lap time records with the Giulia Quadrifoglio as the fastest four-door production sedan and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio as the fastest production SUV.”
As impressive enough as the numbers are, the question still remains; who exactly is after cars like this one? Where are the 'performance SUV' fan clubs and cars and coffee weekend get togethers? The mainstream car-buying populace want SUVs, with their sales toppling the sedan and hatchback world.
I suppose if that's the way we're heading, we may as well try and have some fun with it.