Americans with a passion for Alfa Romeo have had to worship from afar since 1995, when the Italian marque waved arrivederci to the States. But even the Alfisti, as the carmaker's fanatical enthusiasts are known, could not have imagined the comeback: the 8C Competizione, a $250,000 delicacy to satisfy a handful of Americans—and tease the rest—until Alfa's multimodel return in the next couple of years.
The award-winning creation by Wolfgang Egger before his departure to lead Audi's worldwide design, the 8C is a voluptuous study in carbon fiber and aluminum. Paying styling homage to such famous Alfas as the '67 Type 33 Stradale, the 8C is derived from the Maserati's chassis and a Ferrari-based, 450-horsepower V-8. During my laps on Alfa's rain-slick Balocco test track, the 8C was potent and balanced yet a bit tricky at speed, howling to 7,500 rpm and emitting the priceless snarls, burbles and backfires of an Italian supercar.
Nearly half the Alfa's total mass is weight-saving carbon fiber, including its body, dashboard, interior door panels and seats. A control center is sculpted from a 230-pound block of aluminum to yield just eleven pounds of hand-finished industrial beauty. And forget cup holders: The Schedoni fitted luggage, matched to the cabin's leather color, includes a case nestled below the hatch that holds three bottles of wine. (Barolo recommended.)
At the historic but modern Maserati factory in Modena, I watched an 8C take shape alongside its stablemates. The race is on, with well-credentialed Alfisti wooing the company for the chance to own one of just five hundred being built. Approximately eighty-five are allotted for the States. Consider the 8C an exotic red carpet, rolling out to lay the groundwork for vastly more affordable Alfas for the Americans.
Alfa Romeo 8c competizione
Engine: 4.7-liter V-8
Torque: 354 pound-feet
Weight: 3,476 pounds
Zero to 60 mph: 4.2 seconds
Top Speed: 182 mph