We've seen the 8C for ages! Why doesn't Alfa just launch it?
It's true that the 8C has suffered a long gestation, but then the Fiat group has had more pressing priorities on its hands than launching profligate supercars. Like saving its bread-and-butter business with big-selling cars like the new Grande Puntoand 500. We first saw the 8C coupe in concept form back in 2003 at the Frankfurt show, but now Sergio Marchionne has stemmed the company's losses (peaking at a staggering £3 million a day, don't forget) Alfa has been able to turn its attention to treats like the production 8C. It finally arrives with customers this autumn - four years after it first emerged under the flashbulb glare of Germany's biggest car show. Although Alfa has shown the production 8C already, it is now readying the final settings for the first customer cars that arrive in September.
So how much will it cost?
Don't think for a moment that you can snap up an 8C - they've all been sold already. Alfa is building just 500 coupes, at a pan-European price of 159,000 euros, or £109,000 in the UK where 40 left-hand drive models have already been snapped up for delivery in early 2008. All were sold directly by the importer in each country, so you will be unlikely to see an 8C knocking around in your local Alfa dealer. That's a steep price for an Alfa Romeo, but the 8C has a carbonfibre body and a 450bhp V8, derived from the Ferrari/Maserati engine in the Quattroporte but with an extra 400cc to take total capacity to 4.7 litres. Torque peaks at 346lb ft and is sent through a paddleshift six-speed gearbox to huge 20-inch rear wheels.
So this must be the fastest Alfa in history?
The 8C will scuttle to 62mph in around 4.0sec and will top out at over 180mph, the company claims. With figures like that, Alfa hopes to make a splash in the North American market, in which the 8C is spearheading the brand's return after a 15-year absence. Alfa is still mulling over the spider version, that was shown last year and driven by Georg Kacher in CAR Magazine's December 2006 issue. It would be an easy way to extend the model line for another few hundred examples, and help claw back some of the initial investment.