In 1995, after years of declining sales, Alfa Romeo stopped selling its 164 sedan and said goodbye to the US market. Fans of the Italian automaker—and I count myself among them—were crushed. I’ve owned a pair of Spiders—a 1973 and a 1982—and was once a card-carrying member of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club. American Alfa fans watched from afar as the company continued launching new vehicles in Europe, hoping that the iconic badge would cross the Atlantic once more.
Those hopes came to fruition a few years ago when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which owns Alfa Romeo, began selling the 8C Competizione and a new 4C Spider. But if you want to crack the American market, you’re going to need more than a pair of pricey roadsters.
Earlier this year, we reviewed the Giulia Quadrifoglio, Alfa’s performance sedan, which my colleague Jonathan Gitlin reckons is one of the best cars he has driven this year. Convincing the folks who usually shop at Audi, BMW, and Lexus dealerships to take Alfa Romeo seriously requires more than a sporty sedan, however. That’s where the Stelvio comes in.