The 2008-2010 Alfa Romeo 8C Buying Guide
The Alfa Romeo 8C is arguably one of the finest looking modern automotive creations and underneath that stunning bodywork is an engine that sounds almost as good as the car looks.
The Italian motor industry has arguably provided the motoring public with more ecstatic highs and agonising lows than the rest of the world’s auto manufacturers combined. Alfa Romeo is one of the main culprits here, giving us cars like the fantastic 1960s Spider but then leaving it just unreliable enough to make ownership a far more involving experience than one might sometimes desire.
Alfa Romeo 8C – Acclaimed design and compelling performance
Designed by Wolfgang Egger, the 8C was first shown as a concept in 2003. It was inspired by great Alfas of the past such as the 6C 2500 Competizione of 1948. The previous special edition Alfa, the 1990s SZ, had polarised opinions regarding its unusual looks, but this new car however was universally acclaimed for being one of the most beautiful automotive shapes on the road.
To back up the show with some go, the 8C featured a modified Maserati platform as well as their 4.7-litre V8. It provided the kind of soul stirring exhaust note and performance that something this good-looking deserved. It was finally released to the public in 2008 and built in limited numbers from 2009 onwards, with 500 Competizione coupés and 500 Spiders produced in total. To make things even trickier, only 41 were ever officially imported into the UK so availability is somewhat limited.
A modified Maserati 444bhp 4.7-litre V8 engine and six-speed semi–automatic gearbox were the only options for the 8C and they worked well combined with the powerful standard carbon ceramic brakes. General driving characteristics and balance are exemplary, however on-the-limit handling can be tricky and the 8C requires smooth inputs to extract the best from its chassis. In truth, very few will be extended to the limits of their grip or taken around a race track; they’re generally found slumbering in climate controlled garages waiting for concours events.
Optional extras were abundant and many cars will have had a fair number of these items ticked. A wide range of colour choices were made available, with black, white and red being some of the more popular choices. The Spiders, released a year after the initial batch of coupés, had reinforced chassis which added a few kilos. However they also received some shock absorber and suspension modifications improving the ride and handling.
Alfa Romeo 8C V8 engine and gearbox
The engine architecture is shared with the Maserati/Ferrari units and few recurring issues have been noted. Crankshaft oil seals and cam covers can leak oil and should be easy to spot. Faulty air-flow meters can cause rough running however on most 8C’s the bigger concern will be to ensure that rubber hoses and pipes do not perish from age as the cars tend to be left unused for long periods.
The 8C has a six-speed transaxle automated manual transmission, which has much in common with the DuoSelect unit fitted to the early Maserati Quattroporte models. Aside from a propensity to wear out clutches, it is a robust unit.
Suspension and brakes on the Alfa Romeo 8C
A recall was issued in 2013 for rear tie-rods that could fail, apparently due to insufficient rust proofing. Replacement parts were fitted at the manufacturer’s cost. All 41 UK cars were affected so check that this fix has been carried out on the model you are looking at.
Handling at the limit was not considered to be a strong point, but the 8C is at its best at 8/10ths anyway, where its sublime exhaust sound and torquey responses can be best appreciated. The Brembo carbon ceramic brakes on the other hand are considered to be extremely effective. The discs should have a very long lifespan but replacements are pricey.
Alfa Romeo 8C Bodywork and interior
The 8C features a carbon fibre shell fitted to a steel chassis. It’s too early to ascertain whether there are any particular problem areas with the bodywork but be sure to check for any damage to the panels or uneven paintwork. Most cars came in either red or black as standard but customers could custom order any colour they liked.
Just in case owners somehow feel short changed by such a fuss-free Italian car, the 8C Spiders have a complex roof mechanism that requires some fiddling with plastic panels and clips to get up and down. The leather upholstery and switchgear should all be in pristine condition.
Model History of the Alfa Romeo 8C
2004: 8C concept car shown for the first time
2008: Production of Alfa Romeo 8C commences in coupé form. Available with 444bhp Maserati derived V8 and six-speed semi-automatic gearbox. 41 vehicles earmarked for UK market
2009: 8C Spider starts production
2010: Final 8C is built with production split evenly between 500 coupés and 500 spiders
Which Alfa Romeo 8C To Buy
There isn’t a huge price differential between spiders and coupés and most examples have accrued minimal mileages. Thanks to limited availability and a combination of looks, power and sound that is near on perfect, the 8C has seen a steady rise in values over the years.
Being relatively new, any example on sale should look immaculate. Most of these cars have seen very little road use but a comprehensive maintenance record is still essential as annual fluid changes and general servicing still need to be carried out.
As an investment that can stir your soul, the Alfa 8C is up there with the very best of them. Beautiful, charismatic and with an unpredictable edge at the limit, it is a perfect example of an Italian thoroughbred.
alfa romeo 8c Specifications
Top speed: 182mph
0-62mph: 4.5 sec
Text John Tallodi Photos Alfa Romeo
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