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2016 Los Angeles Auto Show: Best in Show

img718316877 1479497960007 jpg 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio | photo by Angela Conners

CARS.COM — While Los Angeles may be home to all the auto show buzz of late, Italy is what everyone is talking about. Alfa Romeo’s new 2018 Stelvio SUV stunned at the 2016 L.A. auto show, and Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman said it should give the fledgling brand’s U.S. revival a big kick in the pantaloni.

Related: 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show Winners and Losers

With its sexy curves and promising performance chops, the Stelvio easily took home’s Best in Show Award. Bragman and fellow editors Joe Bruzek, Mike Hanley and Brian Wong weigh in on the Stelvio’s “wow” factor below.

Bruzek: Stelvi-o? More like Stelvi-whoa. Alfa’s new SUV has a stunning, distinct design that proves not every new car has to look like something else. You can’t look at this car and say, “The grille totally looks like a Porsche Macan’s.” The Stelvio doesn’t look like any other SUV.  

Hanley: Alfa Romeo calling the Stelvio an SUV is a bit of a stretch; in person, it looks more like a hatchback version of the Giulia. It’s a handsome hatchback, though, and it looked grand painted a deep red. The focus on on-road performance over off-road capability seems like the right move considering Alfa’s heritage.

Bragman: The way it looks is just half the story — sharing the same platform and powertrains as the Giulia sedan means this thing should be a rocket ship and handle like a true sports car. As much as I loved driving the Giulia, I’m even more excited to get behind the wheel of this monster SUV that seems little more than a pumped-up Giulia wagon. It promises to put Alfa back on the map in the U.S.

Wong: I wasn’t sure how Alfa’s styling would translate to a taller vehicle, but no worries, the Stelvio is bellissima. With good looks and what promises to be a hair-raising driving experience, this is a big step up for Alfa. My favorite small feature on the Quadrifoglio trim we saw: a bright red Formula One-style start button on the steering wheel.

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