NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2009 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Preview

1/1/2009
Critical Knowledge:
  • Based on race-proven engineering

  • Ferrari-assembled engine

  • 450-hp V-8 engine

  • Manufacturer claims top speed in excess of 180 mph

  • The most expensive Alfa Romeo model ever sold
Introduction
To understand the new Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, one only has to look back at the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza, one of Alfa Romeo's finest pre-war sports cars: a winner at Le Mans in 1931 and 1934. The "8C" moniker referred to the motor, an inline 8-cylinder racing engine. Reserved for top-of-the-range models, the winning powerplant went on to reside within such notables as the 1935 3.8-litre Monoposto 8C 35 Type C and the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Mille Miglia Roadster. The name "Competizione" is a reference to the 6C 2500 Competizione model driven at the famous "Mille Miglia" races in 1950. Alfa Romeo revived the names at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor show with the unveiling of the 8C Competizione concept car. Six years later, the production version will help lead Alfa Romeo's return to U.S. soil for the first time since they left this marketplace in 1994. Alfa Romeo only plans to manufacture 500 units of the Italian exotic for the worldwide marketplace. Of those that make it to our shores (fewer than 100), the retail price is expected to be in excess of $240,000. Numbers like that make the 8C Competizione not only one of the most exclusive Alfa Romeos, but the most expensive as well.

The Chassis
While most concept cars go through drastic revisions before they make their appearance on the showroom floor, the 8C Competizione changed very little, the company says. The production version of the Alfa Romeo is manufactured on a steel chassis with carbon fiber body panels. The plant is owned by Maserati (keeping in mind Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo are all under the Fiat umbrella). In true Italian fashion, and paying homage to traditional craftsmanship, the interior is swathed in fine leather, carbon fiber, and authentic alloy accents. The manual seats are carbon fiber, too, but lined with leather for comfort.

Hardware
The 2009 Alfa Romeo 8C uses a Ferrari-/Maserati-derived powerplant. Displacing 4.7 liters, the V-8 engine is a of a dry-sump lubrication design (a type often found on race engines). The Ferrari-assembled engine is rated at 450 hp, and 347 lb.-ft. of torque. Redline-the maximum engine speed-is set at 7500 rpm. From the engine, the power is sent back to a transaxle fitted with a sequential 6-speed gearbox. The driver may select one of several automatic transmission modes or control shifting by means of levers found behind the steering wheel. In Sport mode, the fastest automatic shifting program, shifts occur in just 175 milliseconds, according to the company. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a standard limited-slip differential. According to the manufacturer, acceleration to 60 mph takes just over 4 seconds as the Alfa Romeo 8C heads towards a top speed in excess of 180 mph.

The racing heritage of the 8C Competizione is seen in the layout of the suspension and brakes as well. The front and rear suspension are of a dual-wishbone design while the brakes employ aluminum calipers to save weight. The latest in electronic stability and traction control allow spirited driving while offering additional guarantees of safety during emergency maneuvers or through inclement weather.

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