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2009 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

This gorgeous two-seat coupe turns out to be the latest chapter in the on-again/off-again thriller that centers on the chances that Alfa Romeo will one day soon be reunited with U.S. buyers. The 450-hp 8C Competizione is, we’ve been assured repeatedly, a certainty to reach our shores. We might even say we’re confident that by the end of 2007 Americans will be able to drive away from the local Maserati dealership in an Alfa.

2009 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione2009 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione-22009 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione-3The production 8C, which will meet federal regulations here, is remarkably close to the concept. At a cost of about $175,000, 500 will be built for European consumption and will have to be ordered directly from Alfa’s home office in Italy. Stateside, Maserati will sell a production run of 99 of these cars for about $200,000 apiece. A special facility at Maserati’s headquarters in Modena has been set up to build the 8C. Production is set to start next September. Alfa expects to build 600 of these cars over 18 months and then cease production.

The engine under the long hood of the 8C is a version of Maserati’s V-8. Enlarged to 4.7 liters with an expected output of 450 horsepower, the engine will drive the rear wheels via a rear-mounted six-speed transmission or a sequential-manual gearbox. Under the curvaceous carbon-fiber-composite skin is a steel unibody similar to that of the Maserati CoupĂ©. Alfa toyed around with producing a convertible, but that idea has been abandoned. We’re just hoping Alfa doesn’t abandon the whole idea of selling cars here.

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