Playing in the snow with Alfa Romeo means having an awesome time behind the steering wheel!
Have you ever been to Engadin? It is an area in southern Switzerland which lies very close to Italy, only one hour away to drive, more precisely. Around the Valley of Engadin there is this beautiful nature with deep woods, crystal clear lakes and some typical alpine roads you just have to drive. For example you can go chase the beautiful serpentines of Passo del Giulia, even raid over the Passo Umbrail up onto Passo dello Stelvio or drive over the famous Passo del Bernina nearby, to get to Italy. And there are quite a few of the most exciting things this beautiful Valley has to offer… for a petrolhead like myself. Valley of Engadin has also a really interesting cultural mix, best observed in its multiple languages spoken by the locals and also in their cuisine. Starting the day in this amazing alpine nature by waking up to this famous alpine morning glow and watching the Sun rise softly over the mountains, is a unique view which I can’t get enough of.
As I drive through this moody morning to Samedan, the Engadin valley shows its idyllic side, with the calm atmosphere interrupted now and then by the sound you hear from the planes of the Engadin Airport. Especially in winter, when all this snow just makes every noise so numb, it’s perfect for a bit of a refreshing walk, ski activities or a short trip to the close by St. Moritz.
But there wasn’t a particular meadow in Samedan where I was heading to… but a carefully prepared snow arena. You can see some traffic cones and a few tire traces in the snow already at 10 in the morning. The sun barely made it over the mountain tops yet. Almost crazy for excitement we arrive at this Alfa Romeo Switzerland Snow Training Area in Samedan, where there are about 20 italian warm souls waiting to be awakened for a day full of fun in the snow.
I can’t believe what I see, we have almost the complete Alfa Romeo MY2020 fleet to choose from today! And one MY2020 is especially catching my eye… well positioned in the center of this impressive line up of Giulias and Stelvios. This GT Junior Ochre beauty stands out even in the shadows cast by the mountains. Despite the cool morning light, this colour reflects a warmth that catches everyone’s eye. But not only that, almost all other colours in range are present. The new Anodized Blue and Moonlight Pearl, along the already known Nero Vulcano, Grigio Vesuvio, Misano blue and of course Rosso Competizione should not be missing. After a brief introduction by the driving instructors on today’s driving schedule, we are finally free to choose our first car for today.
Well I don’t have to choose anymore, because to be honest, I already did half an hour ago, when I entered this location. Before anybody else even seems to think about which car they will choose, I already sit in the driver’s seat of the GT Junior Ochre Stelvio Veloce. And having a wide grin in my face because it feels so good. I never before was so curious about a color of a car, and now it exceeds all my dreams and expectations on how it will look in real.
So let’s go on the first driving lesson with this 280hp Ochre Beauty. We start the day with a Slalom course to get to know how the Q4 reacts on snow and with fast direction switches. With every new round we accelerate more and with the right play of throttle, break and the correct wheel alignment we manage to make our first drifts! So much fun! And this, not even one week after trying my first own Q4 drifts with my Giulia Veloce in Austria.
But drifting the GT Junior Ochre Stelvio is just the beginning of this day, even on the first course we already can drive three different cars. The GT Junior Ochre Stelvio, an Anodized Blue Stelvio and a Misano Blue Giulia. It’s awesome to experience how dynamic all three cars are, despite they have different engines, suspensions and horsepower.
The first coffee break comes just in time to let the first adrenaline rush wear off. And so that I can get more in touch with the Stelvio Veloce in GT Junior Ochre. It’s unbelievable how marvelous this colour makes the lines and shapes of the Stelvio stand out without making it look clumsy, because I often consider SUVs in lighter colours to be a little crude. The Ochre, however, gives the necessary accents and depth of colour in the shades so that the powerful proportions appear muscular and well defined, as we are used to see in Alfa Romeo’s car design. The Rosso Competizione will always be my first love for an Alfa Romeo, but if I could afford a second one, it definitely would be one in this color! Simply stunning! As if the automotive designers at Alfa Romeo tried to catch the Italian evening sunlight somewhere in Tuscany, and paint a car with it. And they did an amazing job! I think I’m in love again with an Italian car and its color. A very common feeling for me, because it happens every day with my Rosso Competizione Giulia.
Coming back from my rendez-vous with the GT Junior Ochre Stelvio, the second of four Driving sessions of this Snow Training is about to begin. To get to know the behavior of the car in the best possible way, we continue with practicing accelerating, avoid an obstacle and emergency braking to get back control over the vehicle. Here we can test all the assistance systems the cars are offering for a safe driving. Again we can test-drive different examples of Giulia and Stelvio, that’s when I stop remembering which one I still want to drive, except for the Stelvio Quadrifoglios, patiently waiting on the waiting lanes. These beasts are too tempting to just be felt there standing and watching all their siblings having fun playing in the snow. And it is unfair for us drivers not to be able to touch them…
But then… after the Lunch break, with a deep roar the V6 Biturbo of two Stelvio Quadrifoglios swell over the snowy meadow for the first time today. In an instant I managed to conquer the much desired driver seat of the Rosso Competizione Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Now I’m officially the happiest Alfa girl in the world! And letting this 510hp run free into the slippery snow feels even better than with any other car I drove today. Now it doesn’t mean anymore to give full throttle to get enough power for a drift, but to play with the power in well chosen doses for the best controlled drifting experience. Although only with a kick-down the engine will give you this typical beastly roaring, everybody can’t get enough of it!
And each time while we are again waiting in the line of cars to get to our next happy snow round, it is also so beautiful watching the others dashing through like furious Italian snow storms. These cars are so graceful and powerful at the same time but nevertheless seem to dance light-footed on the white icy ground. Mesmerizing to watch.
After five hours of pure driving pleasure and exhilarating fun with all of these beautiful MY2020 cars, and the passionate Stelvio Quadrifoglio of course, we are starting on our journey home to Germany. It was an amazing experience and also interesting how the new Alfa Romeo vehicles are behaving with the new torque vectoring setting and learning how you can get a Stelvio or a Giulia Q4 in a controlled drift with just a few tricks and without using the race mode.
Luckily for me, the route home leads us over the Julier Pass, where I just have to stop for a few last shots with my Giulia to finish this beautiful day in Switzerland properly. What a memorable day this was, thanks so much to Alfa Romeo Switzerland for inviting us and making it possible for us to know up close and personal the new Alfa Romeo MY2020 range, in a totally different and unique way. Looking forward to the next time!