The exact timetable for availability of Fiat, Alfa Romeo, or any number of other foreign makers finally making their way back into the U.S. market changes based upon who you talk to; but if anything, the anticipation of their arrival certainly highlights the blandness with which we have grown accustomed to here in the States. Whether with their economical MiTo, or exhilerating 8C Competizione, Alfa Romeo could certainly not be accused of a sterility in style. With the latter example, the Italian automaker also demands to be recognized as more than just a pretty face.
It is also refreshing that with the 8C Competizione, Alfa Romeo did not alter in any significant way the final production car that was unleashed as a concept in 2003. Despite its rather strong “Alfa” overtones in styling, namely the front fascia, individual areas of the 8C resemble other vehicles. The back of the vehicle and the glass hatch are almost Corvette-like. The profile has a certain Aston Martin/Jaguar cut to it. Even the front of the vehicle with its wedge-shaped grille could have been pulled out of the Ferrari design studio. Comparisons to other automakers is a natural conclusion given that the 8C shares its platform and suspension for the Maserati GranTurismo. However, rather than looking like some sort of vehicular-Frankenstein, the 8C is a coherent masterpiece of flowing Italian lines carved out of carbon fiber.
If it’s outer visage wasn’t attractive enough, under the hood, the Italian blood flowing through the 8C’s build is about as impressive as it gets. Motivation is derived from a 4.7-liter V8 adopted from Maserati, but actually built by Ferrari. Not surprisingly then, power is plentiful and rated at 450 horsepower and 354 pounds of torque. With its paddle-shifting, six-speed rear-mounted transmission, the Alfa coupe pops off 0-60 times of just 4.2 seconds with a top speed of 181 mph. These impressive numbers are in part a result of its low, stiff structure that in total weighs 3500 pounds, hundreds of pounds less than its Maserati cousin. Gas mileage is mostly irrelevant, but owners can expect 12 and 17 mpg when motoring to and from their local 7-11.
Although the exterior of Italian cars are historically far-and-away superior to their often cheap, hard interiors, that gap would appear to have shrunk considerably if the 8C Competizione is any indication. Cabin materials include the liberal use of carbon fiber, milled aluminum and the prerequisite Italian Poltrona Frau leather.
While production will be limited to only 500 examples, the number available here in America will be even more scarce at 84 units. Prior to Alfa-specific dealerships opening, the coupe, as well as an open top spider edition will be sold at American Maserati dealerships with a price tag of $265,000. If Alfa Romeo was looking to make a big splash back into America, they would have appeared to have found it in the 8C Competizione.