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Previously spied in its hometown, our spy photographers have again spotted the Alfa Romeo Stelvio roaming the streets in Italy, still in disguise cladding. The marque’s first SUV is set to roll out in 2017, and appears to follow a model strategy adopted by its sedan sibling, the Giulia.

Named after the Stelvio Pass in northern Italy, which is widely regarded as one of the most challenging driving routes in the world, the new SUV is tipped to spawn a high-performance variant like the Giulia Quadrifoglio, and as such is expected to feature the same 2.9 litre turbocharged V6 petrol powerplant.

For the high-performance variant of the Stelvio, the engine which produces 510 hp and over 600 Nm of torque in the Giulia Quadrifoglio is anticipated to be tuned for more usable torque, less so for top-end power, according to a report by Autocar.

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Though both manual and automatic transmission options are available on the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the top-shelf Stelvio is likely to stick with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Similarly, though rear- and all-wheel-drive models are available on the Giulia range, the top Stelvio variant is tipped to retain rear-wheel-drive in the interests of weight saving and agility.

For the more mainstream variants, parents company FCA’s range of petrol and diesel engines are expected to make up the bulk of sales when the Stelvio SUV enters the market. Options to be expected are the 2.2 litre diesel engine in 150 hp, 180 hp and 210 hp forms, as well as the 2.0 litre petrol engine, with versions producing 200 hp, 250 hp and 280 hp respectively.

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As it stands, the Stelvio is positioned to take on the likes of the Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5 and BMW X3, with the former two said to be benchmarked for dynamics, given the Stelvio’s driver-oriented slant. Further down the line, Alfa Romeo is expected to grow its SUV line-up to three models, eventually comprising a range to rival the likes from the BMW X1 through to the X5.

The Italian brand sees the importance of asserting its presence in the crossover market. “You can remain pure and ignore the crossover trend, but if you do, you can look forward to a beautiful death,” said Alfa Romeo and Maserati head Harald Wester.