2010 Alfa Romeo 8c Spider

For more than 300 large, the 8C Spider should be something worth wild. And it is! The Spider is underpinned by components filched from the Maserati parts bin, but all of the bodywork is constructed from carbon fiber. The control-arm suspension is lifted from the GranTurismo, while it’s dry-sump version of the Maserati 4.7-liter V-8 produces 444 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It drives the rear wheels through a rear-mounted, six-speed automated manual transmission. Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, 15.0 inches at the front and 14.2 out back, sit behind 20-inch wheels.

The Spider weighs 198 pounds more than the coupe. To offset raising the center of gravity versus the coupe, the car has a powered cloth top (rather than a folding metal roof) and a carbon-fiber windshield surround. The claimed top speed of 181 mph is unchanged from the coupe, but the 0-to-60-mph performance will likely be 0.2 second slower, at 4.4 seconds.

Like the 8C Competizione coupe, Alfa Romeo is making only 500 of these convertibles. Just 35 will make it to the U.S., compared with 84 coupes. The convertible is about 30 percent less rigid than the coupe, Bagnasco says, 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 coupe was criticized for its firmness, whereas the roadster is actually pretty civilized.

There are plenty of cars that are visually interesting and intriguing—the Veyron and the Audi R8 come to mind—yet very few that are truly beautiful. The 8C is utterly gorgeous whether the top is up or down. Like the Zagato- and Touring-bodied 8C-2300 and 8C-2900 Alfas from the 1930s, the 8C Spider will look fabulous on concours lawns 50 years from now.

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