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Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione: An Italian Super Car

By Motoring Channel Staff - 27/Sep/2006

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
The styling of the 8C Competizione is almost
as gob-smacking as the super car's performance

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
From almost every angle, the 8C Competizione
displays a retro style, and it seems to work well

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
Sitting on 20-inch wheels and powered by a
Maserati V8, the 8C has street cred to spare

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
Sleek is an understatement when describing
the 8C, which generates 330kW of V8 power

Paris, France — Alfa Romeo used the 2006 Paris Motor Show to exhibit a number of special edition models spanning the 159, the 147 with a new Torsen front diff, the Brera, the Spider and other model ranges. 

But the star attraction was the production version of its super car - the 8C Competizione.

With carbon fibre bodywork, a front-mounted Maserati-built V8 engine and a traditional rear wheel drive configuration, the new exotic vehicle from Alfa Romeo is expected to set pulses racing at the French Auto Show.

Alfa Romeo is clearly pleased with its new collaborative vehicle, releasing a statement that's sure to get the Alfa Romeo faithful fidgeting with excitement:

"To see it is to love it: wide tyres, low-slung ride and styling of poised aggression. To die for, in fact. Hear the engine and weep: a full, convincing throaty roar. Now all that remains is to sit behind the wheel, engage first gear and you are off to try out your Alfa 8C Competizione. You are left with one doubt: how will you drive a sports model whose bonnet conceals a 4700cc 8-cylinder engine hat unleashes 450bhp of power and 470Nm of torque when you touch the accelerator. The unexpected answer is: with great ease - even more easily, simply and instinctively than your normal car in fact."

To be built in limited numbers, the stunning new model has a distinctly retro flavour, and as Alfa Romeo explains, this Gran Turismo car is directly derived from the concept car that aroused such admiration at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. 

Not only a visual tour de force, with its dynamic curves and emboldened front end, the 8C Competizione is also a supremely powerful sports car, and a cooperative venture between both Maserati and Alfa Romeo.

The Maserati engine that gives the 8C its splendid performance is a brand new 90° V8 unit with a cylinder capacity of 4691cc (4.7-litres) that was designed with one aim in mind: to ensure extraordinary performance while still offering a smooth drive. Alfa Romeo's design brief stated that the 8C had to be usable in all circumstances, from the race track to city traffic.

Therefore, some four fifths or about 80% of the engine's peak torque is available from as low as 2000rpm. It generates 470Nm of torque, which peaks @ 4750rpm, and will be more than enough torque to shift the 8C's bulk from 0-100km/h in less than 5.0 seconds.

Peak power of 330kW @ 7000rpm indicates that the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione's V8 engine is more than happy to rev, and has heaps of power to spare. The 4.7-litre V8 engine is rev-limited to 7500rpm and Alfa explains that the refined engineering of the intake and exhaust geometry, the introduction of continuous variable valve timing on the intake camshafts and the optimisation of the combustion chamber and engine calibration gives the engine both sonorous acoustics and a powerful feel.

This is no pretender. Alfa's new sports car is a vehicle of highest calibre and with the Maserati-built V8 engine, it's got the brawn to back up its bold style. In sporty driving conditions over mixed routes, the power unit offers impressively short response times due to the high permeability of the intake duct and the low inertia of the flywheel-twin plate clutch system. 

A crankshaft with counterweights at 90°, fully balanced through careful selection of connecting rods and pistons, ensures the engine runs with low vibration levels, and all the ducts (water, oil, secondary air) are cast directly into the engine to produce a system with great rigidity, low dimensions and guarantees reliability. 

The engine is placed longitudinally in the long engine bay, located behind the front axle for a positive weight balance and features a single chain timing system that ensures exceptional lifetime dependability. Special attention has also been devoted to the acoustic definition and tuning of the intake and exhaust in the quest for a sound timbre that enhances the car's character and makes it unmistakable. The result is a full, distinctive sound, emphasised by the permeable intake system and an exhaust system with electronically controlled valves that enhance the car's sound without infringing any type-approval or environmental constraints.

Putting the engine's indecent 330kW of power to the rear wheels is a robotised gearbox and self-locking differential. The gearbox is located at the rear of the car, which allows for outstanding dynamic performance says the Italian car company.

The 6–speed gearbox features computerised gear selection by means of levers behind the steering wheel, and is designed to ensure ultra-slick gear shifts. It has a few modes as well, including Manual-Normal; Manual-Sport; Automatic-Normal; Automatic-Sport and Ice modes. 

Augmenting the high revving powerplant and ultra-quick-shifting gearbox is a chassis that Alfa Romeo hopes will give the 8C the ability to mix it with some of Europe's most famous marques, including Porsche and Ferrari. Alfa Romeo is quick to point out that the 8C's engineering is directly derived from the race track, with a double wishbone layout, forged aluminium axle carrier and arms and extra strut for toe-in control. 

The braking system offers perforated, ventilated discs with aluminium brake callipers to ensure prompt, effective braking even with heavy use, and with little fade. Alfa Romeo explains that to ensure the car stays glued to the road, it is fitted with large 20-inch perforated rims, made from fluid moulded aluminium to ensure lightness and maximum brake ventilation efficiency. These are shod with 245/35 tyres at the front and wide 285/35s at the rear. Furthermore, the 8C Competizione comes with the latest Alfa Romeo VDC (vehicle dynamic control), an advanced stability and traction control system to ensure the driver feels at one with the car.

Alfa Romeo points out that the name ‘8C Competizione’ is not an arbitrary invention but a distinctive mark of Alfa Romeo's own sporting history. A veritable legend that has arisen out of the innumerable victories won on circuits throughout the world through the skill of men and their passion for racing, engine research and advanced technology and a reawakened taste for new challenges.

This link with the values of Alfa Romeo's history adds extra poignancy to the term ‘Competizione’; when projected into the future it represents the sense of constant dynamism that distinguishes a brand engaged in a quest for excellence, increased competitiveness and technological innovation.

Alfa Romeo's historical naming convention flows through into the car's styling, which was penned at the Alfa Romeo Style Centre and was built o accommodate two occupants in deep sports bucket seats. Alfa explains that its designers worked hard to ensure that the aerodynamic and performance demands have not altered the car's original design by too much, and so the style maintains an incredibly clean shape, uncluttered by any element interfering with the overall harmony.

The solutions introduced on the Alfa 8C to achieve the highest levels of aerodynamic efficiency are not limited to the shape. Air wraps around the car and follows its natural course, unhindered by corners and unevenness. All the pillar and glass surfaces and profiles together with the door mirror shape and position have been optimised by mathematical modelling and also by wind tunnel tests and tests on actual models. Much attention has been devoted to the creation of a ground effect that helps increase stability at high speed, as on racing cars. It's also a very compact vehicle which adds to the latent aggression seen in its design, while distinctive features such as the bold brake lights and retro head lights contribute to a discernibly retro look.

Though no images have been released of the interior just yet, Alfa Romeo states that the cabin will be a high luxury sports combination, making use of composite materials (carbon fibre) on the fascia and interior panels. Alfa explains this is a technical choice but also reinforces the car's spirit and emphasises its personality, and fully adjustableergonomic bucket seats made from carbon fibre will also feature prominently.

The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione is expected to be on sale in 2007 in limited quantities for about the price of a Ferrari F430. 

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