The Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003 saw the first appearance of an ab-fab Alfa Romeo two-seater coupe. Although its rounded body and streamlined profile were thoroughly modern, the prototype 8C Competizione had styling cues that harked back to great Alfas of the 1930s and 1940s and the name was a direct reference to the 6C Competizione that ran so well in Mille Miglia races and won the 1950 Targo Florio.
Naturally, those with deep pockets and an enduring affection for beautiful Italian sports cars had to have one and told Alfa so… loudly. These heavy hints were taken and a production version was duly sanctioned in 2006. Construction began the following year, with a traditional steel chassis elegantly clothed in carbon-fibre bodywork finished in black, yellow, and Italian competition red or 8C red. Beneath the rear-hinged bonnet (more or less the only change from the prototype) a 4.7 litre Maserati V8 engine could be found. As Ferrari were assembling, this it boded well for the Competizione’s performance —which was indeed so spectacular that the officially announced top speed is thought to be a politic underestimate.
The sporty driver will have great fun playing the gear-change game. The car features a six-speed transaxle gearbox with computerized selection. Using levers which are mounted behind the steering wheel, the driver chooses between the five modes —manual-normal, manual-sport, automatic-normal, automatic-sport and ice conditions. In sport mode, it can take as long as a microsecond to change gear.
The 8C Competizione is assembled by Maserati at the Modena factory, with the chassis and bodies corning from different external suppliers. There seems little doubt that a racing version will be developed once homologation of the Competizione is achieved, with GT races like Le Mans and Daytona as the likely target.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
2007 (until 2009)
4,691 cc V8
Top speed of 182 mph (293 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Don’t bother to rush down to the nearest Alfa dealer with a flapping cheque book – the 8C Competizione came in a strictly limited edition of 500 cars which were all presold. But wait! There might be a chance to bag an 8C Spider convertible (another limited run of 500, starting in 2010) for a mere 200,000 euros.