Few cars are so attention-grabbing like the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and not just because it was the company’s first rear-driven car after over a decade.
It was -and in a way still is- the brand’s halo car, featuring a breathtaking design that still looks elegant, sexy and drop-dead gorgeous at the same time. In the years that followed, Alfa Romeo did its best to milk the 8C’s visual drama by transferring its design features to models like the Mito and Giulietta hatchbacks but thankfully the charm of this Italian GT has stood the test of time.
Harry Metcalfe revisits the beautiful Italian GT, talking us through the details inside and out as well as taking it for a drive. The 8C Competizione shares a lot of parts from Maserati and Ferrari, including the naturally aspirated 4.7-liter V8 that produces 450hp and an angry howl that haunts you for the years to come. The transaxle single-clutch six-speed transmission -complete with aluminum paddles on the steering wheel- helped in achieving an optimal weight distribution.
The chassis is unique to the 8C however, made up of a steel central section that has carbon-fiber bonded to it for the passenger compartment and steel subframes front and rear. The bodywork is made out of carbon-fiber. The result is a car that tips the scales at 1585kg (3494lbs), almost 300kg (661lbs) less than the Maserati GranTurismo.
The Alfa Romeo 8C had pretty much all the necessary ingredients to become one of the most thrilling cars of its time, so you can imagine how big of a letdown it was for the press and fans of the brand when they found out that the handling wasn’t that good after all; it came with a rock-hard ride that could indicate great things but that was combined with irritating body roll while the steering didn’t exactly help things for the driver.
But over a decade later, these shortcomings don’t matter that much anymore; what it matters is that the design still takes your breath away and the exhaust note is so good, it feels illegal. It’s only natural that the price for one of the 500 8C Competiziones has almost doubled over the years but in this market, it still feels like a bargain.