While the 4C officially brought the beautiful brand back to the U.S. in 2013, it was the gorgeous 8C Competizione back in 2007 that really launched the modern Alfa Romeo renaissance. In the latest review from Harry Metcalfe of Harry’s Garage, he walks us through what had everybody so crazy about the prospect of a 4.7-liter V8 Alfa Romeo coupe.
The relaunched 8C will be built around a carbon fiber monocoque chassis presumably developed with the lessons learned from the 4C Coupe and Spider. A twin-turbocharged engine mounted amidships will send power to the rear axle while an e-motor powers the front. Estimated output for this e-AWD system is estimated at more than 700 horsepower with a 0-100 km (62 mph) time below 3 seconds.
The woven leather seats, the carbon body panels flowing into the interior, a perfect amount Ferrari and Maserati infusion, and a V8 roar that immediately wipes the brain of any frustrations with the rest of the car is what sold people on the 8C, and on the re-emergence of an Alfa Romeo that knew how to make sports cars.
Then there’s the gearbox. It’s a single-clutch six-speed from the early days of paddle shifts, and it’s a bit wonky. At speed, shifts are relatively slow, and worse is maneuvering, where it’s jerky and unpredictable. Finally, the chassis—as Metcalfe says, it’s not “polished,” with a tendency to bounce and skip around on rough surfaces.
Offered in coupe and spider form, a total of just 90 cars made it to the States, with a handful of established luxury dealerships offering the model for a quarter of a million dollars each; we saw the very first one in the U.S. shortly after it was delivered to James Glickenhaus. Given the hardware and the materials involved, the quarter-million price tag seems like a bit of bargain today, and Alfa Romeo could have easily made hundreds more if it wanted to; Alfa had to turn away 700 firm orders to stick to the original 500-car run.
The next 8C sounds like it will see more than 500 units built — Alfa Romeo now needs volume to follow up on the first 8C Competizione in decades. In many ways, the 2007 return was merely an announcement of intent to take on the established sports car makers, and Alfa Romeo is now itching for a true return to supercar form.
In addition to the 8C and GTV revivals, Alfa will completely overhaul its lineup, bringing a total of seven new models to market by 2022. The Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV will be redesigned and gain long-wheelbase variants for the Chinese market. The C-segment Giulietta will also see a redesign that we’ll likely not get in the US. A large SUV and a new C-segment will round out the lineup, bracketing the Stelvio with larger and smaller siblings.