When is an Alfa Romeo really a Maserati?

When it’s the new Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. This is the first rear wheel drive car from Alfa Romeo since 1992 and there are only going to be 500 made in the first production run, with 500 made in the second in 2009. Don’t bother going to your dealer, they’re all sold out! As you may know I’m a bit of a fan of the Alfa Romeo 147 having owned one a couple of years ago. Such beautiful cars, and just about within the reach of a single, non-mortgage-paying software developer like myself. Times change however, but I wonder if I’ll ever be able to afford the €159,000 asking price of the Competizione.

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Jeremy Clarkson has quite a breathless review of the car, although he does finish by saying the steering isn’t up to scratch. Who wants to let me drive theirs to find out for myself? 🙂

Climb aboard the new Alfa 8C and you’re immediately aware that it feels “just right”. It’s a fairly intangible quality, but it means the cabin makes a Porsche’s interior feel almost dowdy by comparison. And as your eyes rove around, they avidly consume acres of leather, plentiful carbon fibre and generous milled aluminium before settling on the slightly swollen front wings that are visible through the little windscreen. It has to be said that the aroma of leather with the 8C truly reeks of promise.

What makes it a Maserati?

The only real question is whether it’s an Alfa Romeo at all. It was designed by Fiat’s in-house styling centre, and uses a Maserati platform as its basis. The engine is a development of one already in use by Maserati, and just to make matters a little more complex, the whole is assembled by Ferrari.

The gearbox and suspension are also derived from systems used on the Maserati Quattroporte and the car is built, not by Alfa Romeo in Turin, but instead by Maserati in Modena. And when those lucky 41 British buyers need their beautiful new vehicles serviced, they will drive them to Maserati dealerships rather than to Alfa garages.

There are a few promo videos on Youtube, and a boring spy camera video too, but this promo seemed to be the best. Just turn down the volume please!