Experiencing the Austrian Alps on an epic drive with the MY2020 Stelvio and Giulia
When I arrive at the Stuttgart airport with my Giulia Veloce TI at 5am on Wednesday morning, I still don’t know how this day would turn out. The expectations are high and so is my anticipation. A few hours later approaching Innsbruck, however, things are already becoming a bit clearer. The impressive Alps with their snow-covered peaks, into which the small propeller plane finally dives, promise a Winter Drive just like in a classic storybook: sunny, clear mountain air and with high mountain peaks as far as the eye can see covered in snow. The only thing missing is the right vehicle.
Because the last road trip into this wonderful landscape was only a few months ago andthat was already a breathtaking experience, I can hardly bear any more excitement. The given conditions promise to be as great an experience as the one with my friends of the Squadrifoglio in October.
At the airport, Marius and I are awaited by today’s vehicle of choice, a brand new Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce Q4 Model Year 2020 – perfect for a snowy day of driving!
While we get acquainted with the technical updates of the My2020 and the most important features are demonstrated, one can slowly notice our impatience to finally start our trip into the wintery mountain landscape.
Only a few kilometres after the start of the Winter Drive, beautifully winding roads lead us deeper and deeper into the snowy and dreamlike winter valleys. Peaceful and idyllic as you can only find in the mountains… interrupted by the unexpected fun you have at the steering wheel of a 280ps Q4 SUV, incredibly dynamic and direct. Well, why unexpected? It is an Alfa Romeo! And not just any Alfa Romeo, but a Stelvio. So it’s an SUV, but one named after a challenging and winding high alpine pass. Of course it has to be agile and dynamic to drive, I would have been disappointed if it wasn’t. The sporty DNA of Alfa Romeo has been perfectly integrated into this SUV and you can feel it from the powerful 2.0l turbo engine under the hood, through the suspension to the design of the car. Both from the outside and from the interior. And especially in the driver-centered interior there are a lot of new things to discover, the steering wheel now sits even better in hand because the thickness has changed and the new gear knob is really well done – I need one of these in my Giulia. The minimalism of the infotainment interface has also been preserved, simple is genius! Totally new is the way the menu is structured now, featuring configurable widgets that can be moved around with a simple touch. Really all around very well made, Alfa Romeo!
And this wonderful Italian design, which was also continued in the exterior, is perfectly underlined by this cool colour. When we stop at one of the numerous photo locations of the Winter Drive and the bright sunlight is refracted in this bright blue, my enthusiasm for this car awakens completely. The Stelvio simply fits perfectly into this Alpine winter landscape. The deep blue of the sky and the Misano Blue of this remarkable car in the warm sunlight harmonize perfectly. But in contrast to this icy snow landscape, which almost gives a certain sterility, with its white areas poor in texture and the the black looking trees. The lighting that results from this environment puts the Stelvio in the center of this scenery and it literally dominates the panorama. Impressive, aggressive and beautiful at the same time. A white canvas enriched by a blue sitter.
As you notice after only a few kilometres of corner chasing, the Stelvio can also be a bit biting, but it can still be steered accurately and directly into every bend. Almost the same as I’m used to from my Giulia Veloce, only the braking point differs, but that’s no wonder with the extra weight. Nevertheless, it still looks elegant and graceful, as it glides along this serpentine road through the pines, for example. Here the Misano Blue shines like a jewel in the dim light of the forest.
Every now and then Stelvio’s beautiful sister Giulia joins us when we stop for a few photos. And it becomes clear how different they are and yet how perfectly they fit together. Because you can see some common lines that show they belong to the same family. Like their confident front ends with the historic Scudetto, the well-defined muscles of their hoods, the simple and dynamic side lines towards the rear. It is a pleasure to photograph the two together.
After a short lunch break in the cosy hunting lodge in Kühtai, we continue the day with our Stelvio. And this time we get deeper into the snow to see how the Q4 works its way through the fresh snow. Even now our Stelvio is eagger to put its Italian temperament to the show. It’s really impressive how it constantly digs through the snow and how confidently it finds his way – and in doing this it even entertaines the driver – as the even the fun of the driver is not neglected, as the ear-to-ear grin continuosly displayed by Marius can attest.
With all the riding fun on different terrains, the Stelvio also slowly gets its “snow patina”. Let’s call it that, because dirt doesn’t exist on such an exciting day like this. Especially not for me, who always has a beautiful car. And despite all the salt, snow and patina the Stelvio gor from our hard driving, the Misano Blue coat still shines breathtakingly in the fading light of the Alps. After the sun has left the mountain tops for a while, you can already enjoy the sunset atmosphere in the afternoon. This is also a setting in which we absolutely want to see the Stelvio. To end the perfect day with some last excitingly beautiful Italian-Austrian impressions. But time is short, because the last light of the day is not waiting for us. However, free roads and a Stelvio Veloce that loves to run will bring us in time for the last play of colors in the sky to our destination a little higher up in the mountains.
What a day! It was exhausting and we will surely arrive home tired late in the night, but at the same time an incredible calm and satisfaction fills us. We enjoyed this day, had a lot of fun in the snow in this wonderful alpine scenery and could get to know the Stelvio MY2020 with all its decent but well chosen updates. A terrific final of this incredible year for me. Exactly right before the start of the Christmas week.