|Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione|
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The definitive version of the gorgeous exclusive Alfa 8C Competizione, Gran Turismo car that is to be produced in a limited edition makes its debut in Paris. The car, designed by Alfa Romeo, is directly derived from the concept car that aroused such admiration at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show and has benefited from the best technical and industrial know-how that the Alfa-Maserati Sports Centre can offer. The cooperative venture between both manufacturers was conducted with a view to ensuring integration between the Alfa Romeo design departments and the Maserati production departments.
The 8C Competizione is inspired by Alfa Romeo's glorious past, projecting its brand values of technology and emotion into the future. The historical allusions begin with the evocative name, recalling the great sporting tradition of Alfa Romeo. The 8C code was used to identify cars (racing and on-road) of the Thirties and Forties equipped with the revolutionary eight cylinder engine produced by the famous designer Vittorio Jano. The term 'Competizione' is intended as a homage to the '6C 2500 Competizione', a sports coupé driven in 1950 by the duo Fangio and Zanardi in the famous Mille Miglia race.
The name, '8C Competizione' is not an arbitrary invention but a distinctive mark of Alfa Romeo's own sporting history. A veritable legend that has arisen out of the innumerable victories won on circuits throughout the world through the skill of men and their passion for racing, engine research and advanced technology and a reawakened taste for new challenges.
This link with the values of Alfa Romeo's history adds extra poignancy to the term 'Competizione'; when projected into the future it represents the sense of constant dynamism that distinguishes a brand engaged in a quest for excellence, increased competitiveness and technological innovation. This is the explanation behind the role of the new car, which is not a point of arrival but a point of departure designed to reaffirm Alfa Romeo's unique place in the world: its ability to match a thrilling shape to driving satisfaction.
The attractive shape created by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre makes this car with its two bucket seats unique in the Gran Turismo scenario. The designers have worked hard to ensure that the aerodynamic and performance demands have not altered the car's original concept. The style maintains an incredibly clean shape, uncluttered by any element interfering with the overall harmony.
The solutions introduced on the Alfa 8C to achieve the highest levels of aerodynamic efficiency are not limited to the shape. Air wraps around the car and follows its natural course, unhindered by corners and unevenness. All the pillar and glass surfaces and profiles together with the door mirror shape and position have been optimised by mathematical modelling and also by wind tunnel tests and tests on actual models. Much attention has been devoted to the creation of a ground effect that has allowed a negative Cz (lift coefficient) to help increase stability at high speed, as on racing cars. The compact dimensions concentrate the aggression of a car designed to ensure maximum driving efficiency.
The car surfaces are highly sculpted and skilfully moulded. In detail, the body is given extra dynamism by the horizontal furrow cut into the side above the front wheelarch. The big wheels and powerful musculature of the rear wings emphasise the model's personality and strength without detracting from the lines that flow smoothly, almost as though to underscore the formal good looks of the individual exterior details: the drop-shaped headlight embedded, gem-like, in the front wing, the led tail-lights that are a blend of technology and rationalism, the spare door handle. The front end still displays the distinctive Alfa Romeo traits, with a new interpretation of the 'whiskers' and shield.
The innovative shape heralds the details and proportions of future Alfa Romeo cars but is also redolent with past thrills and historical allusions: the 33 Coupé Stradale, the Giulia TZ and many other great names of motoring history. The Alfa Romeo style centre also developed new colours to emphasise the shape of the 8C Competizione that match the car's sinuous shape while also suggesting modernity and a hint of technology.
The engine is the beating heart of any Alfa Romeo. In this case it takes the form of a brand new 90° V 8 cylinder unit with a cylinder capacity of 4691 cc that was designed with one aim in mind: to ensure extraordinary performance while still offering a smooth drive and being usable in all circumstances, from the track to city traffic. The top engine performance figures may be summarised as a maximum power output of 450 bhp at 7000 rpm, a peak torque of 470 Nm at 4750 rpm and a top speed of 7500 rpm.
The layout of internal fluid movements and the cylinder head cooling system is designed to achieve high duct permeability and effective intake load cooling to maximise volumetric efficiency and engine performance. Harmonisation of the intake and exhaust geometry together with the introduction of continuous variable valve timing on the intake camshafts and optimisation of the combustion chamber and engine calibration means that 80% of torque is available from 2000 rpm. In sporty driving conditions over mixed routes, the power unit offers impressively short response times due to the high permeability of the intake duct and the low inertia of the flywheel-twin plate clutch system.
A crankshaft with counterweights at 90°, fully balanced through careful selection of connecting rods and pistons, ensures the engine runs with low vibration levels. The engine block and base assembly is in aluminium with 5 main bearings to ensure the structure is very rigid with little loss due to friction. The cylinder heads are also in aluminium alloy. All the ducts (water, oil, secondary air) are cast directly into the engine to produce a system with great rigidity, low dimensions and guarantees of safe installation, i.e. great reliability. Casting accessory systems into the main engine casting and the use of very rigid, thick-walled components ensures that little noise radiates from the engine and the components are very reliable.
Longitudinal engine packaging has also received particular attention, as evidenced by the introduction of a single chain timing system that guarantees exceptional lifetime dependability. Special attention has also been devoted to the acoustic definition and tuning of the intake and exhaust in the quest for a sound timbre that enhances the car's character and makes it unmistakable. The result is a full, distinctive sound, emphasised by the permeable intake system and an exhaust system with electronically controlled valves that enhance the car's sound without infringing any type-approval or environmental constraints.
The engineers used a layout familiar from other Alfa Romeo cars on the 8C Competizione: the transaxle architecture with gearbox at the rear that is an acknowledged asset of Alfa Romeo cars. This layout allows outstanding dynamic performance while also offering the active safety for which Alfa Romeo cars are fabled. The engine-gearbox unit is designed in accordance with a transaxle configuration that ensures the weight distribution is very effective for vehicle handling. Due to the small axial engine size and the integration with frame components from the drawing board, the entire power unit can be housed well back to ensure the required sporty configuration. The 6-speed gearbox with computerised speed selection by means of levers behind the steering wheel is designed to ensure ultra-slick gear shifts and may be used in Manual-Normal; Manual-Sport; Automatic-Normal; Automatic-Sport and Ice modes. The self-locking differential allows acceleration and stability to be managed with extraordinary efficiency in all situations.
In the very best Alfa Romeo tradition, the engineering is directly derived from the race track. The suspension on the new model is no exception, with a double wishbone layout, forged aluminium axle carrier and arms and extra strut for toe-in control. The braking system offers perforated, ventilated discs with aluminium brake callipers to ensure prompt, effective braking even with heavy use. To ensure the car stays glued to the road, it is fitted with 20 inch tyres specially developed to ensure outstanding performance: 245/35 at the front and 285/35 at the rear, fitted on perforated rims in fluid moulded aluminium to ensure lightness and maximum brake ventilation efficiency. To ensure the car is entertaining and safe in any driving condition, the 8C Competizione comes with the latest Alfa Romeo VDC, an advanced stability and traction control system to ensure the driver feels at one with his car.
A rigid, light structure is the rule when configuring a good high performance car. This is also the guiding principle behind the 8C Competizione. In detail, the compact frame is in steel to achieve the greatest torsional rigidity to ensure an accurate, safe drive at all times while the body is in carbon fibre. This choice was motivated by the need to minimise weights while also optimising the car's centre of gravity for better agility and handling on demanding routes.
The car's distinctive look comes from extensive use of composite materials on the facia and interior panels. This is a technical choice but also reinforces the car's spirit and emphasises its personality. The same thinking lies behind the adoption of anatomical seats made out of carbon fibre that can be adjusted and customised on the basis of the driver's physical characteristics (a facility previously reserved for racing cars). Everything is designed and produced to ensure the greatest user-friendliness for the driver and whoever is lucky enough to share the thrill: relaxed driving position, intuitive instruments that are always visible, robotised gear levers secured to the steering column and easy to reach without removing your hands from the sporty steering wheel. The carefully-crafted and detailed finish naturally allows the car to be customised to the driver's taste and a choice of different interior environments is available.
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