Alfa Romeo has revealed its much-hyped return to the supercar world - this is the 33 Stradale, a car that harks back to one of the most beautiful road and racing cars ever made, as well as leaning in to Alfa Romeo's new electric future.
V6 or three electric motors
In fact, this 33 Stradale - of which a mere 33 will be built, and all are sold in spite of a price closing in on €3 million apiece - is actually Alfa Romeo's first full electric production model. The 33 Stradale can be bought (well, if you could still buy one...) with either a 620hp twin-turbo V6 petrol engine, or a 750hp electric powertrain.
That V6 engine is a development of the mighty engine used by the Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio models, driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Sadly, there's no manual gearbox offering.
The electric version uses three electric motors - one each for the rear wheels and a single motor at the front - just like the Maserati MC20 electric supercar. It seems very likely that the two cars share a common structure under the skin. The range on a full charge is expected to be in the region of 450km, although that's very much TBC. Rather refreshingly, there are only two selectable driving modes - Strada (Road) and Pista (Track). That ought to cover it. There's also a four-leaf clover - Quadrifoglio - button on the centre console that activates the 33 Stradale's launch control. Helpfully, Alfa says that you'll be able to pick the softest damper setting even when everything else is turned up to full sporty mode.
Both versions are more or less equally fast, with Alfa claiming a 0-100km/h time of less than three seconds, and a top speed of 333km/h.
Carbon and aluminium
Alfa has gone to town on the car's structure and dynamics. The body and chassis use a mixture of carbon-fibre backed up by an aluminium H-frame. There are double-arm suspension units with active dampers, and a brake-by-wire system for the massive Brembo-supplied carbon-ceramic brakes with six-piston monobloc calipers in aluminium in the front, with a four-piston system in the rear. Alfa hasn't forgotten about everyday usability either - there's a front lift-kit to raise the nose to cope with speed bumps.
The body is also a mix of aluminium and carbon-fibre, and the 33 Stradale gets dramatic 'butterfly' doors. These open up to reveal a cabin inspired by aircraft cockpit designs, reinforced by the way the windscreen and overhead glass roof wrap around in the manner of a fighter jet's bubble canopy. The body has quite a high coefficient of drag - 0.37 Cd - but that, says Alfa, is because the body has been designed to generate downforce without needing a huge rear wing or active aerodynamics.
The driver gets a deeply-hooded instrument panel - Alfa calls it a '3D telescopic design' - while the steering wheel features no buttons, so that you can focus entirely on driving (McLaren does something similar with its mid-engined supercars). Again, following aircraft principles, the car's major systems are controlled by switches mounted down low on the central tunnel, and up high in the roof lining. The whole cabin is swathed in a mix of Alcantara man-made suede, aluminium, and carbon-fibre and can be trimmed in two different styles - Tributo (with historical nods) or Alfa Corse (more modern and sporty).
Each one is bespoke
Actually, it seems as if all 33 cars will be hugely different to one another. Alfa says that it has worked with all of the 33 Stradale's customers to create bespoke trims and colours. Alfa has set up a new bespoke service - Alfa Romeo Bottega - to do just that for other high-end models in the future. Even items such as the car's VIN identification number can be personalised.
In fact, Alfa has contracted one of the greatest Italian design houses - Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera - to help build the 33 Stradale. This car will kick of a future 'fuoriserie' - custom built - line of special limited edition Alfa Romeos. The Italian company will doubtless have been looking on jealously at Ferrari's success in this kind of sphere, and it scored a big hit with the Giulia Quadrifoglio GTA, of which only 500 were built and all sold out quickly.
"With the new 33 Stradale, we wanted to create something that lived up to our past, to serve the brand and to make the Alfisti fandom proud. Such a result could only have been achieved thanks to the expertise, hard work and passion of our team, with the support of management who have the clear ambition to contribute to writing chapters in the brand's future, in full respect of its unique history. This is the brand's first "fuoriserie" (custom-built) car since 1969, and I promise it won't be the last" said Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato.