Alfa Romeo 8C Spider17 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Alfa jumps into the supercar league with its majestic 8C Spider ... oooh, it's fun

    THERE'S JUST SOMETHING beautiful about all things Italian. Sure, there are always exceptions, but close your eyes and think Italian and what do you see? Beauty, grace, suave sophistication and style; yup, that about sums it up. Not surprising then really that Alfa Romeo have created one of the most wonderful new cars on the road, the 8C Spider.

    Ok, before we go any further, I think you should take a deep breath; a very deep, deep breath. This car — of which only 500 are being built, and the 35 allocated to the UK have (even in these grim financial times) reportedly been sold — will set you back ... wait for it ... £174,000. Recovered? Good. So; what makes the 8C Spider, this piece of automotive exotica, so wonderfully special?

    First there’s the car’s DNA. Like the 8C Competizione Coupe which was launched before it and, again, immediately sold-out, the 8C Spider is built on a shortened form of the Maserati GranTurismo's steel platform. There’s also the engine — a 4.7 litre V8 powerplant developing 450bhp — which is actually made for Alfa (and for Maserati) by Ferrari. All three manufacturers, of course, sit neatly under the giant Fiat umbrella which, at the other end of the spectrum, still churns out six grand Pandas and Puntos.

    As you would expect, the 8C Spider, in complete contrast to the likes of its more common Italian stablemates, isn’t what you would call the most practical of cars. Cabin storage is minimal and you’d be hard pressed to pack enough toiletries, let alone clothes, into the boot for an overnight stopover. But that is to miss the point entirely. Since when has practicality and emotion sat conveniently side-by-side?

    The Alfa is first and foremost for driving, and driving spectacularly

    Made for driving spectacularly

    The 8C Spider is a car you don’t buy to nip round to your local Asda, or even Waitrose; the Alfa is first and foremost for driving, and driving spectacularly. Sure it will do the town run and city centre journey, but this is a car for disappearing off to your favourite back roads, flipping the fabric roof down, and having a blast. Even better, go and fine-tune your skills at a race track like Knockhill.

    Despite the fact it’s 90kg heavier than the Coupe, the bulk of this additional weight is necessary extra reinforcement and strengthening of the car as a result of losing its roof. Built of aluminium and steel, there’s also copious amounts of carbon fibre, including the Spider’s brakes.

    The figures are both impressive and frightening. Yes it will scorch from standstill to 62mph in just 4.5secs, and on to a max of 182mph. The downside? A quoted 17.3mpg (I guarantee it will be less in the real world, especially if you love the sound of the V8) on high-octane fuel, and the CO2 figure of 379g/km will also see you be shelling out £405 a year in road tax. But let’s face it; if you can afford to buy the 8C Spider in the first place, you can afford the car’s running costs.

    There’s no denying the 8C Spider is a stunning looking piece of kit. All the car’s proportions and generic shape are those which have been found in sportscars for many years. And while the nose is clearly Alfa-esque, the sensual sweeps and muscular haunches give it a very modern-day styling. Quite simply, it’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

    Armageddon has arrived

    The interior carries on the dramatic lines and impact. The two occupants are cosseted in bucket seats made of carbon fibre and draped in Italian leather. And just for good measure, there’s yards of hand-stitching. The modern look is further enhanced by the carbon fibre theme in the dashboard.

    As with any true sportscar, it’s the engine and its performance — aided and abetted by various electronic aids, one which is a ‘Wet’ setting and another ‘Sport’, the latter improves the throttle response, alters the stability control programme —which is the star.

    That said, perhaps the true star is audaciously tuned-up exhaust note. Not only is it likely to shatter any nearby piece of expensive Venetian glass, but if you as much as even slightly lift-off the throttle as the revs head towards 7000rpm, you’ll be forgiven for thinking Armageddon has arrived.

    First there’s a piercing, crackle-edged shriek, then a series of minor ballistic incidents which merely confirms you’ve eased the pressure with your right foot. The Alfa Romeo 8C Spider certainly isn’t your average shopping trolley; instead it’s as close as a sportscar can get to being off its trolley. It’s simply brilliant.

    Craig James

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £174,000 / £174,000
    Engine / Power: 4.8-litre V8 / 400bhp
    How fast?: 0-60 mph 5.0secs, Max 175mph
    How big/heavy?: H1418mm  W1931mm  L4970mm / 1860kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 25.4mpg / CO2 260g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: Very, very expensive!
    Alternatives: Aston Martin Rapide; BMW 6 Series; Mercedes SL; Maserati Quattroporte

    User Comments

    Login or register to post comments.
    Send to friend
    Click here to add message:

Car Review Finder