Alfa Romeo’s first supercar in over 35 years – the 8C Competizione – was one of the few genuine surprises at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
The gorgeous, retro-themed 190mph coupé is powered by a supercharged 4.3-litre Maserati V8 and will go on sale at the end of 2005.
The voluptuous coupé uses tiny front and rear overhangs and a long bonnet to emphasise its front-engine/rear-drive layout. Compact dimensions only add to the two-seater’s appeal, at 4278mm long, it is 1522mm shorter than a 911.
Although it borrows much of its mechanical package from the Maserati Coupé, the 8C will have no trouble outpacing its in-house rival. Alfa estimates the carbonfibre-bodied 8C should tip the scales at under 1500kg, undercutting the Coupé by 100kg. Result: 0-62mph in 4.5sec, comfortably ahead of the Maser’s 4.9sec.
If all goes according to plan, approval for the 8C is due early next year. To make it viable, it borrows the basic engine block and six-speed Selespeed transaxle from the Maserati, But legendary chassis builder Vaccari & Bosi (famed for its work with Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati) developed an Alfa-specific steel platform and double wishbone suspension.
Alfa engineers developed a volumetric compressor for the V8, which now develops a little over 400bhp at 7000rpm – up slightly from the naturally aspirated Maser’s 385bhp – and at least 325lb ft at 4500rpm.
However, five weeks ago Alfa boss Daniele Bandiera told Autocar the supercharged
V8 peaked at 450bhp-plus. Apparently, the demand to reduce the power output came directly from Maserati, which feels threatened by the 8C.
Alfa says the 245/40 ZR 20 front and 275/35 ZR20 Pirelli Corsa tyres are ‘absolutely’ the rubber destined for the production car, while the carbonfibre Brembo brakes are virtually identical to the Ferrari Enzo’s.
Bandiera has yet to set the price, but suggests you can’t expect much change from £70,000 and hints that it could be closer to £90k.