2010 Alfa Romeo 8C Spider

For a few beans more than 300 large (thousand), the 2010 Alfa Romeo 8C Spider has no option but to live up it’s hype. Underpinned by components filched from the Maserati parts bin, the 8C Spider is gracefully customized with carbon fiber bodywork, and Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, 15.0 inches at the front and 14.2 out back, sitting behind 20-inch wheels. Weighing at 198 pounds heavier than the natural coupe, the Spider shows it’s weight in platinum is off the scale.

The control-arm suspension is lifted from the Gran Turismo, so is the dry-sump version of the Maserati 4.7-liter V-8 that produces 444 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It drives the rear wheels through a rear-mounted, six-speed automated manual transmission. To offset raising the center of gravity versus the coupe, this speed demon has a powered cloth top (rather than a folding metal roof) and a carbon-fiber windshield surround. The proclaimed top speed of 181 mph is unchanged from the coupe’s, but the 0 to 60 mph performance will likely be 0.2 second slower, at 4.4 seconds.

The interior is stunning as well, carrying the perfume of Poltrona Frau leather. There’s a sense of old-fashioned artisanship that works toward justifying the price. For instance, the panels that surround the gauges and the heating and ventilation system are machined from billet aluminum just as in a high-end Chip Foose hot rod. The Recaro seats have manual adjustments and are constructed of carbon fiber, a material that also adorns the cabin.

Like the 8C Competizione coupe, 500 convertibles will be distributed. Just 35 will make it to the U.S., compared with 84 coupes. The convertible is about 30 percent less rigid than the coupe, quickly adding that the “rigidity of the coupe is very, very high.” As a result, Alfa recalibrated the springs, anti-roll bars, and shocks. The driving experience alone makes the car special. Like the Zagato and Touring-bodied 8C-2300 and 8C-2900 Alfas from the 1930s, the 8C Spider will look fabulous on concourse lawns 50 years from now.

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