Model Details

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

  • Brand: Alfa Romeo
  • Body Type: Coupe
Imagine SEAT developing and launching a £110,000 super car, or picture a 450bhp carbon fibre coupe nestling alongside a Clio 197 in a Renault showroom. It just wouldn’t work. Nobody would stroll past their Porsche or Aston dealership and slap down a six-figure cheque for a car built by such mainstream manufacturers.

Somehow though, Alfa Romeo – purveyor of some true abominations over the years, let’s not forget – still has the magic to sell-out its production run for the 8C Competizione more than twice over in the space of 14 days.

That’s exactly what happened at the Paris Auto Salon in 2006, where the production version of the 8C was shown for the first time, where over 1200 customers put their names in the order book. As you read this, the first of the 500 chosen ones will be receiving their 8C. It’s a special car all right

You only have to look at the 8C to understand why it’s worth every penny of £111,000 to those 500 individuals. It’s a stunning shape. I know these things are subjective, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t go slightly weak-kneed when you mention the 8C. And in the glorious carbon, with sun glistening down its flanks and rolling across its sweeping bonnet, any niggling doubts that it treads dangerously close to pastiche are rendered utterly ridiculous. It’s jaw-dropping.

It gets better when you hear the 4.7-litre V8, too. The way it snaps into life with a sharp stab of revs and settles to a bassy, dense idle is reminiscent of a Vanquish. Despite being four cylinders down on the Aston it actually sounds even fiercer – the tight howl a million miles away from the mellow, easy-going note you often associate with V8s. Prod the throttle and the engine snarls as the revs soar, then the exhausts pop and bang as they die away. Maybe that ‘Competizione’ tag isn’t just a sop to the marketing department.

So what is the 8C? Well, in essence it’s a bitza. But it’s a bitza of undeniably noble stock. The engine is similar to that of the Maserati Quattroporte/GranTurismo meaning it’s built at the Ferrari factory, but it’s been bored and stroked to 4.7 litres and punches out 450bhp at 7000rpm.

Expect to see it in future Maseratis, and perhaps the new ‘baby’ front-engined V8 Ferrari. The engine drives through a six-speed paddleshift transaxle ’box the engine is behind the front axle, the box just ahead of the rear axle, thus concentrating all the masses within the wheelbase.

The double-wishbone suspension shares its basic architecture with the Quattroporte although the 8C is much shorter in wheelbase, but with 8C-specific bushes, geometry and springs and dampers. Interestingly, Alfa chose to ditch the ‘Skyhook’ adaptive dampers to give the 8C a more ‘mechanical’ feel.