The beautiful dream that was introduced as a concept car at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show has made it into production. The gorgeous Alfa Romeo 8C has been presented after three years at the recently opened Paris Motor Show in sales-ready configuration. Fortunately, the car closely follows the lines of the original prototype and is most likely to become the most beautiful Alfa Romeo ever produced. The looks are sustained by Maserati supercar technology offering a 0 to 60 sprint 4.4 seconds, and a top speed of 190 mph.
In 2003, Alfa Romeo stunned everyone with the amazing 8C Competizione concept. The car was considered by many one of the most beautiful designs ever. Due to the enthusiastic public reaction, Alfa has decided to produce the 8C as a limited edition. And this brings us to the 2006 Paris Motor Show, the event to host the launch of the production Alfa supercar.
Fortunately, the new 8C closely mimics the prototype it is based on. Only a few details make a difference to the prototype version presented at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. A new design have the 20-inch wheels, the tiny front diffuser, and the chrome touch around the side window frame. A minor change has been made to the front lights, and also the ride height has been increased to a more practical value.
Designed and developed by Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the 8C has all the required elements to become a true brand icon, recalling a great racing tradition of which the name is part. In the ‘30s and ‘40s, the ’8C’ name that returns here, was used by the racing and road cars that were equipped with the new 8-cylinder engine developed by the famous engineer Vittorio Jano. The term ’Competizione’, used on the prototype, on the other hand, is a tribute to the 6C 2500 Competizione, the sports coupe driven by Fangio and Zanardi in the famous Mille Miglia race in 1950.
Therefore, the ’8c Competizione’ was not an invented name, but a clear reference to Alfa’s racing history. And, of course, the fame surrounding the Alfa Romeo legend is largely based on the victories its cars achieved on race courses all around the world. There were so many of them that alone they represent a long, fascinating chapter, made of men and competitive spirit, engines and cutting edge technical ideas. The protagonists of the inestimable human and technological heritage that is responsible for today’s beautiful cars, full of character and, above all, capable of combining the beauty of the styling with the pleasure of driving them.
The 8C combines this brilliant performance with extraordinary road-holding and the handling of a true thoroughbred. The merit goes to the dual wishbone suspension at front and rear, which ensures extremely enjoyable handling, combining the control you would expect of front-wheel drive with an exceptionally sporty drive and pinpoint response, which are particularly important on mixed routes. We must underline that Alfa Romeo chose rear-wheel drive on the 8C to support the exuberant engine and to deliver truly unbeatable emotions.
As the 8C is being produced by Maserati and Alfa and takes advantage of their latest developments including an aluminium suspension, traction control, steering-wheel paddle six-speed gearbox and a continuous-variation valve train.
1931 Alfa 8C
The original Alfa Romeo’s 8C was a famous sports car of the ‘30s. The name made a reference to the straight 8-cylinder engine. The engine was designed by the not less famous Vittorio Jano. The 8C was Alfa’s primary sports model from its introduction in 1931 to 1939 the retirement.
The launch models were the 2300, a reference to the car’s 2.3 L (2300 cc) engine. The short wheelbase model of the 8C won the Targa Florio race in Sicily, but it was the Italian Grand Prix victory that gave it its nickname, "Monza".
The supercharged dual overhead cam straight-8 engine, also designed by Jano, was later enlarged to 2.6 L. With this power plant, the 8C could accelerate to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds and could eventually reach 135 mph, incredible for of vehicle of that decade.
The new Alfa Romeo 8C is also inspired by other icons of the Italian manufacturer, such as the gorgeous Tipo 33 Stradale and the Giulia TZ2, which is often, called the mini-Ferrari 250 GTO. Luckily, in creating the 8C, Alfa’s in house design studio, Stile Center Alfa Romeo has managed to elegantly avoid the retro trap that others have fallen into.
2003 8C Competizione prototype
Body & chassis
The time independent lines of the 8C are rally stunning and are complemented by the extremely generous measurement. The body is given extra dynamism by the horizontal furrow cut into the side above the front wheel-arch.
The front elements of the design were repositioned as they were on the most important Alfa racing cars of the past - the ’whiskers’ and shield are aligned at the same height - a decision of historical and evolutionary significance. However, a rapid glance will reveal that the styling of the whole exterior is full of classical references, an ideal opportunity for a modern interpretation of traditional Alfa stylistic cues. For example, the front end recalls the former 33 Coupé Stradale, while the rear sports the characteristic round light clusters of the Giulia TZ.
It is difficult to be indifferent to the 8C, because it is the pure expression of Alfa Romeo’s concept of the car. And with this new model, Alfa’s stylistic language takes a further step forward. Compared to the 1999 concept car, the ’Nuvola’, which also featured the shapes and surface treatment of the new Alfa Romeo aesthetics, the styling approach of the Alfa 8C enhances the brand’s DNA with a modern hi-tech interpretation of the most famous designs in Alfa Romeo history.
The key element that give the 8C it’s aggressive stance are the large tyres (245/40 - R20 at the front and 275/35 - R20 at the rear) and the sculptural, muscular rear wings that accentuate the impression of a strong and forceful personality. In the true Italian tradition the spots character of the vehicle does not detract in any way from the elegance of the lines that run smoothly from front to back, to the light clusters set into the integral bumpers. A stylistic balance that has its maximum expression in the daring design of the rear window that covers the rear and partially envelops the rear pillars.
All of the Alfa Romeo sports cars of past and present share a particular feature: the ability to thrill even the most experienced drivers when they take the wheel. And the Alfa 8C is no exception. Suffice it to say that under the bonnet lurks a mighty 4.6 litre V8 (90°) engine. This powerful unit delivers over 450 bhp at 7000 rpm and together with a 6-speed manual rear transmission, takes the prototype to a top speed above 300 km/h, accelerating from 0 to 100 kilometres in just 4.5 seconds. This engine commands not only absolute performance and outstanding peaks of power and torque (346.7 ft lbs at 4750 rpm), but also smooth, effortless delivery even at low speeds. The result is a car capable of exciting performance that is perfectly at home on everyday roads and not only on the racetrack.
The engine has been combined with a sports exhaust system that is instantly recognisable, thanks to the unusual design of its twin chrome exhausts and was designed to give enthusiasts that instantly recognisable deep, full-bodied rumble. Thanks to an electronically controlled pneumatic valve system, even more can be made of the exhaust by pressing the Sport button on the central console too.
Engine type8 cyl in 90° V
Timing geartwo overhead camshafts per row
No. of valves4 per cylinder
Capacity4691 cc (92 bore x 79.8 stroke)
Power output 450 bhp @ 7000 rpm
Peak torque346.7 ft lbs @ 4750 rpm
Top speedover 300 km/h
0 – 60 mph4.4 s
Front Double Wishbones with Variable Gas Dampers, Coil Springs
Rear Double Wishbones with Variable Gas Dampers, Coil Springs
The interior of the new 8C is truly racing oriented, with everything set up for a satisfying driving experience. This is no Mercedes-Benz, and all those Puff-Daddys looking for a comfortable ride that will do most of the driving on itself should look elsewhere. This Alfa is a beast has to be mastered, and we are afraid that not many of the Sunday drivers that are able to afford such a car, also posses the required skills to unleash it. Let us hope that most of the limited 8C will get to see the open road, rather than rust in fancy garage.
The architecture if the dashboard follows the current Alfa line, but also has some original and exclusive details. The steering wheel flattened at the bottom (a la Lamborghini) just screams for being turned over and over and over… Most of the interior finish is in leather, and the special sports touches are in aluminum. This a true case of love it or hate it, but we can only imagine a Bvlgary watch owner to be unsatisfied by the interior of this car.
TopSpeed artists tuning recommendation
This car’s design is perfect! We take a big bow in front of it, look at it with tears in our eyes and respect and leaved it untouched. Love it as it is!