The problem is cars are like movies, what you like depends on your mood. If you want something funny you go to the comedy section, but sometimes you want to cry so you rent a drama. Similarly sometimes I love driving a huge, heavy muscle car with a huge cam, loud exhaust, and a steering wheel almost as big as Jupiter. It won't turn or stop, but there's nothing more fun for cruising around with the windows down, throwing in the occasional burnout to get the heart rate up. But if you want to julienne slice a race track, a Lotus Exige is clearly the better choice. So how could I possibly pick one car?
I can't. It's just impossible to do. But while my personal list of Top 10 cars tends to change each year, you will always find the Alfa Romeo 8C there; glued, bolted and padlocked down.
What is it?
Not everyone knows what the 8c is, so I will explain. The concept debuted in 2003 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In was available to the public in 2007. It was to be a "halo" car for Alfa, a car to grab the public's attention and show everyone what they are capable of. In keeping with that idea, only 500 were built, and only 84 came to the USA. It's a two door coupe, powered by 4.7 liter V8 which was built by Ferrari (and then given to Maserati, who then sold it to Alfa). It makes 444hp, hits 60mph in 4.2 seconds, and has a top speed of 181mph. That's all fairly impressive, but this car costs $241,000.
That is a lot of money, even in the super car world(The convertible is even more!). For that money you could buy 2 911 Turbos (base price), or for 10% more you could get the unbelievable Ferrari Scuderia, one of the fastest Ferraris and best driver's cars ever made. Or you could buy a Mercedes SL65 AMG, and have enough for a Lotus Elise. Both those cars have more power than 8c. They're faster ina straight line, and the Scuderia will run circles around the 8c on any track, anytime, anywhere.
And I would buy the 8c. While neither the Mercedes nor the Ferrari are on my top 10 list, the 8c has it's own key to get in. Because the 8c is more than the sum of its parts. There's cars with more power, better handling or a better interior (no cupholders, a laughable stereo, no NAV). It has a trunk the size of your pocket and a terrible transmission, but I do not care.
Because look at it. Overall it is the best looking I've ever seen. While it's a safe bet that Italian cars will be pretty, this one simply trounces all challengers.. The shape is classic coupe, the lines are long and smooth, yet not so much that it comes off soft. The headlights are a modern take on an old design. Every detail on this car was designed to look as good as possible, no matter the cost. The headlights are both rounded and creased, to match the shape of the fenders, something neither cheapr nor common. Inside the aluminum pieces are machined from a block of aluminum. This isn't plastic with an aluminum finish. The door handles look like the bones of a skeleton were dipped in metal.
And the sound is better than any CD I've ever heard (Click for a video). The V8 has both old school growl and the howl of an exotic. The band sounds like a familiar V8, but keep listening and it sounds like a whole orchestra was added. It's like Metallica playing with the SF Philharmonic, angry and heavy with undertones of melody and warmth. It's just amazing.
This is a complete exotic car. Ferraris perform incredibly, but some of their faces require a few beers to fall in love with. Lamborghinis are faster than ever, but the interiors seem lazy to me. Mercedes cars, even those with nuclear-powered AMG motors, have as much soul as a tack.
The 8C has it all; beauty, speed, sound and most importantly: heart. The car was built to show the world what the people at Alfa can do given the opportunity. They may not know how to make the fastest car ever, or a car that sets lap records, but they are passionate and thus know what passionate people want. There would be days I would want a track car, and days that I would want a soft luxury car, but there would never be a day that I would see the 8c in my garage and wish I had something else in its place.
What did you think of this review?
|Parent company||Fiat Group|
|Production||2007-2009 (coupé) 500 units
|Assembly||Modena, Italy (Maserati)|
|Predecessor||Alfa Romeo SZ|
|Body style(s)||2-door coupé
|Engine(s)||4.7 L (~287 cu in) V8|
|Transmission(s)||6-speed Sequential manual|
|Wheelbase||2,646 mm (104.2 in)|
|Length||4,381 mm (172.5 in)|
|Width||1,894 mm (74.6 in)|
|Height||1,341 mm (52.8 in) (coupé)
1,308 mm (51.5 in) (spider)