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„The Alfa male?”
Did Ugo Sivocci while painting the symbol of a four-leaf clover in the bonnet of his car believe in superstitions? We probably will not find out, but the fact is that in prestigious car races he was always in the second position and he wanted to break the bad luck by all means. Finally, it succeeded, and Sivocci won the Targa Florio competition in the Sicilian mountains. He probably believed that the four-leaf clover painted on the mask of his Alfa Romeo, brought him good luck.., and he was right, because a few weeks later he died in another car, which did not have that lucky symbol. It was in the twenties of the twentieth century and things have changed since then, but one thing remained unchanged.., the beauty of the Italian Alfa Romeo, which seduces each time we look at it. Personally, I think it's amazing how the car design can affect the human senses. I agree that the word "beautiful" is a relative term, but I also believe that there is such a thing as universal beauty. It means that someone who does not like this car will not say that it is ugly, he will not say anything. He will wander in uncertainty somewhere between "something" what the car is for him in reality. This's the way the Alfa Romeo is, by some underestimated and neglected while loved by others.., but never ugly... Enzo Ferrari once said, "I still feel the gusts of first love to Alfa. The pure feeling that a child has for its mother”, and I think he was right because after the first ever Stelvio Quadrifoglio ride I was just ready to forgive Alfa and forget all the black legends about it.., and there were a lot of legends, even those about reliability, and actually the unreliability of these Italian beauties. Alfa miraculously survived the great turmoil which Fiat went through in 2004. The shares of this Italian giant have fallen so heavily that almost Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino went bankrupt, showing neither the will nor the possibility of a spectacular return to the living. Unfortunately, Fiat dragged Lancia, Maserati and the whole company was maintained only by Ferrari, which still brought profits. There was no time left for „Mamma mia” because the fall of Fiat could have shaken up the economy of Italy. It needed an accountant with a hard character and machete in his hand.., and such a man was found in the world. Sergio Marchionne was a controversial figure, considered by some to be madman, disliked by others, but mainly he was respected. For the most important events and meetings, he came in a striped sweater, he smoked like chimney and could openly mock his competitors and the company he managed, if it produced some dud. Marchionne was able to get the journalists out of the door for asking difficult questions, and he did not talk to those he did not like. Saving Fiat, he moved the production of Panda from Bielsko Biala to Italy, which brought him many enemies in our country as well. He made the impossible in 2009 which was the move of a lifetime at the same time, when he bought the barely living Chrysler. The speculators tapped on their forehead, giving up on Fiat, Chrysler and Marchionne, but they were wrong. Owing to the money that flowed in from the US, Fiat and Chrysler managed to save, and not enough, Chrysler started to make profits after two years and paid off its debts. Unfortunately, it was not without sacrifices and something had to be sacrificed, so Lancia and Maserati hit the gallows. But, which automotive head to cut off? After all, Lancia is a brand with traditions and Maserati is real piece of art. Marchionne loved supercars so Lancia got the death penalty... Of course, nobody knows that completely and Marchionne took the secret of Lancia to the grave. He died in Zurich in 2018 officially due to complications after arm surgery, but there are rumors that he was killed by lung cancer. Fortunately, before the death he realized two very important life projects and one of them I prepared for you :)
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a car that has aroused in me no less emotions than supercars, which I like so much. At the very message that this model is waiting for me ready to ride, the smile appeared on my face and some strange excitement resulting probably from the great legend that surrounded Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio. When I arrived, a beautiful, white, massive creature, grew up in front of me, streaked with colors of Italy and with a characteristic four-leaf clover stuck on the wheel arches, which is reserved only for the "arch-sports" Alfa models. Looking at the air inlets on the bonnet, twenty-inch wheels, six pistons from Brembo in the front, two pairs of brake calipers in the rear and two double ends of the exaust system reminding Ferrari, I have no doubt that it's a supercar from Alfa Romeo. Excited like a kid, I jumped in to enjoy what the Italians made inside. Well, let me tell you that: My automotive worldview may be slightly (and even a little more than slightly) distorted, due to the fact that I used to drive many luxury cars, but here it is about something else, namely details. If at first glance I did not see anything in Selvio that would knock my socks off, after a moment of quiet observation, this car began to fascinate me. The upper elements of the cockpit trimmed with delicate leather with a red stitches, clearly contoured over the engine speed counter and speedometer. The clocks are a masterpiece for me; firstly electronics limited to the minimum in favor of analog, which looks nice in a sports car. The font on the tachometer and speedometer selected in such a way to emphasize the dynamics of the car and in addition the tachometer indicator may (with great fun) fall into the red field and I will tell you honestly, that it's fine there, as much as I do, but about it in a moment :) In the middle, between the speedometer (scaled to 330 km/h) and the tachometer there is quite large monitor, on which we will find main information on the journey (mileage, temperature, combustion, etc.) Of course, depending on the needs, we can change the content of messages that we want to see in front of us. The steering wheel is a mixture of everything the best and the most expensive. There is carbon, leather, Alcantara, aluminum, red stitching and steering wheel shift paddles.., basically, there aren't little paddles but big that wrap one-third of the steering wheel. The central monitor was designed by the artist and that's it. I have not seen anything so beautifully integrated into the cockpit. This display, if we look closely, is basically a square, but its front panel has been cleverly contoured so that the user has the impression that the entire monitor has an unusual shape that matches the rest of the cockpit. The whole interior is full of carbon fiber. There is a lot of it, the taste and moderation have been preserved, great! Glad and delighted, I adjusted the height of the steering column to me, I look and see... Mamma Mia, why? Someone forgot what a car it is and installed the steering column cover from the cheapest plastic on Earth. In addition, the upper and lower cover elements do not match each other. It's kind of like to put an egg instead of a fresh cherry on a huge delicious wedding cake, egg smelling like the chicken coop. The elements used to finish the middle tunnel are really decent except the gear shift. In my opinion, this gear stick is only correct and that's it. Some individuality was missing, and the material from which this gear lever was made is fair to middling. In this regard, I like the Mercedes AMG, there the lever is always with the characteristic logo of models built exclusively in Affalterbach. The Stelvio armchairs I could successfully receive as a birthday present, which would be an inseparable element of living room furnishing. But if I installed them in my 1998 Honda Civic (probably from 1998 because the mechanic said it is from 1996) then no force on any bend would even move me. The seats are tailor-made and there is nothing to write about. The menu in this car is very intuitive and what is important in Polish. The set playing in my Stelvio deserves a special attention. Sound from 13 Harman Kardon speakers, amplified with the subwoofer with the power of 900 Watt, captivates.., even a musical ignoramus like me. Of course, the car supports Android and Apple Carplay, we have navigation, compass, blind spot detection, active cruise control, lane departure warning system, and optionally, we can equip our car with ceramic-carbon brake discs. As usual, I will not rewrite the catalog because you will find the list of equipment on the net. Before the start, I decided that it is worth to learn about the technology that has appeared in this Italian car showroom. It turns out that the engineers from Alfa probably actually at night entered the Ferrari factory silently and took what they could before the alarm went off. A carbon fiber driveshaft was installed in Stelvio, a 2.9 liter bi-turbo engine generating 510 horsepower and 600 newton meters. Under the hood there was a place for an eight-speed gearbox (which changes gears faster than I manage to take my finger off the paddle after pressing), and they joined everything together with four wheels and connected to the computer, with the charming name Chassis Domain Control, then they released on the road and switched on the stopwatch. It turned out that this craziness accelerates to the first hundred in 3.8 seconds just to close the speedometer on 283 kilometer. Is it good for SUV class car? Well, I would say that performance bends knees in the other direction. The latest BMW 850i xDrive equipped with a 4.4-liter engine and 530 horsepower (which, moreover, is not an SUV) accelerates only 1/10 of a second faster to the first hundred than the Quadrifoglio. In road conditions you will not feel it, and both cars will go proverbially head-to-head. The Italians also took care of the suspension, which is active in this car. This means that depending on the driving mode in which we are currently moving, the suspension settings will be respectively sporty or comfortable, and what's more, when going in Race mode, you can use a single button to make the hinge a little softer. The 4-wheel drive (AWD) is divided into intelligent Q4 system with active distribution box, which distributes power and torque to individual wheels depending on the road conditions. In theory, the task of this system is to provide the best possible traction on any ground. So how does everything work in practice? Well, really good!
A red button straight from the supercars is on the left hand side of the steering wheel. Immediately after it is pressed, the hoarse sound of the exhaust system is heard. Simply music that detaches us from reality. Around half of the middle tunnel on the left there is a knob with which we can select one of the four driving modes, that is nothing extraordinary. At this point my imagination spoke itself.., and here is what I saw through its eyes. Well, the marketing department has come up with the idea that they necessarily want to put DNA inscription anywhere, which will be associated with sport, adrenaline and emotions. They got up from the chairs and started the journey through the various departments, and it looked more or less like that: first the engineer responsible for the body design, who definitely refused to draw any DNA, on his beautiful body project, giving the reason for his decision that there is already a clover on the wheel arches and that's enough. The door farther, there was an engine department, in which they discussed how to cram 500 horses in the V6 engine with less than three liters of capacity, and there were no advertising slogans in their heads. They chased away morons from marketing and that was the end. The inscription would not be visible on the chassis so they did not go there. The last resort was the interior designer of the car. They asked and begged that he would agree to mark the driving modes with letters that would create a string of DNA. This is what I think the driving modes D-dynamic, N-natural-A-advance efficiency and of course RACE were created. Is there a deeper meaning in this designation? Is my imagination right?.. Judge it yourself.
So, I'm driving... Nothing clatter, no shaking, in other words pleasant, elegant and dignified. The passers-by looks are priceless, the car makes a stir, no less than a racial super-car. In efficiency mode, the Stelvio engine runs on 4 cylinders to save fuel. As a driver, I did not feel much difference in the work of the motor, the whole car resembles a classic SUV with its behavior on the road only from time to time manifesting its sporting impulses by a slight clatter of sport suspension which clearly prefers off-hole in the surface. The steering system works softly and it was clearly configured in such a way that parking in the city would not be a major effort. I have been in this mode for a while, but I soon realized that Stelvio Qudrifoglio was not built for this purpose so I turned on the dynamic mode as soon as possible :) I heard in one moment a hoarse sound of a powerful stream coming from the exhaust system. The suspension became hard, and there is no slack in the middle position of the steering wheel. Alfa became ready and steady to run. I pressed sharply the throttle pedal, and the car even pulled forward, I dropped the gas slightly within 5,000 turnovers, and at this moment the computer gave a signal to change the gear. I only heard such an explosion from the exhaust pipe in the Audi TTs (it was then when a lout went to the forest in wellies with a bucket of mushrooms because he got scared of the shot from the pipe) In this mode, the fun is the best, and the car feels like a duck in water. Unfortunately, I had some limitations.., winter tires. A soft rubber mixture and a deep tread cause Alfa to behave nervously, especially when leaving the bend quickly. Typically, if the car has a problem with the balancing or unfinished suspension, it shows a significant "under" or oversteer. In Stelvio, there was no such thing, and the car simply slid off the road, unable to catch the traction, and this is clearly the fault of the tires. I think that on a good and heated Pirelli P Zero tires or good old Toyo R888, the fun of this car lasts infinitely.., well, just do not want to believe that I describe the SUV! I drove back to the city, looked at the average fuel consumption and I crossed myself, I was impressed... 26 liters per 100 kilometers are values that even the Ford Mustang may envy. I think that, with a quiet ride you can go down to those 17, 18, but unfortunately driving with this car is burning a hole in your pocket. I crowd through the center in search of some piece of unfrequented road. Stelvio does not avoid urban driving, the problem is only turning on the turn signals.., before we get used to the gear paddle shifters, which you will hitch your finger on them, every time you reach the orange flasher switch. Finally, I found a piece of an even, intact asphalt road with a little sand carried by the wheels of trucks from a nearby construction site. That's where I wanted to do the acceleration test in RACE mode. I was afraid of only one; Well, in this mode the computer disconnects the traction control. I wondered if I would not get out of the way on this sandy asphalt. As I knew that my Alfa has an ideal weight distribution of 50/50, four-wheel drive and a brilliant suspension, I decided to take a chance. In RACE mode, the sound of the exhaust system became even louder and the suspension became even harder. I set the car straight ahead, shifted the gearshift lever to manual mode, grabbed the steering wheel firmly and pressed the pedal into the floor. It's “turbo hole” and it's big.., only after a while the car catapults forward with such a force that it is difficult to hit the right moment to change the gear. Personally, the first two attempts I screwed up and I changed the gear from 1 to 2 too late. I have probably swept with all this asphalt sand (for what road workers should be grateful to me) and my Alfa did not act nervously or unpredictably for a moment. Ahh, how would I like to drive this car on the racetrack... The manufacturer declares that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio brakes from a speed of 100 kilometers to zero on a distance of 36.5 meters. Of course, I was not able to measure it, and the only thing I noticed is the giant slip and blinking hazard lights during sudden braking. I would like to emphasize once again that tires are important here and my winter tires are not are suitable for mountains, not for the racetrack.
My dear, would this car find a place in my garage? Jeremy Clarkson once said: "You can not be considered a real motoring fan if you never had at least one Alfa Romeo model". Alfa is dangerous because it seduces. It will seduce anyone who ever gets into at least once. Personally, I have never considered buying a car of this brand before, but Stelvio remains in my memory and reminds me of a beautiful girl with a madly seductive smile. Despite the fact that the Quadrifoglio requires refueling like a fighter in the air. I would like to have Stelvio or "Julka" , Giulia in my garage anyway. Such pleasures, however, have their price, so if 125,000 Euro is not a problem for you then why not to play with a beautiful Italian girl :) At the end, as always, respect, kisses and thanks ... So thank you guys from Alfa Romeo Grupa Gezet from Szczecin for sharing this beautiful car, thank you Paweł, Maciek and Piotr.