Alfa Romeo 8C Spider: driven

* 444bhp 4.7-litre V8 engine * Stunning pace and looks * Costs £174,000...

Alfa Romeo 8C Spider: driven

What's better than driving the drop-dead gorgeous Alfa Romeo 8C? Being seen driving it, of course. Good news this new drop-top version lets everybody see you at the wheel.

Not that anyone will be paying you too much attention, mind they'll be too busy gawping at the Spider's curvy carbonfibre bodywork and beautifully trimmed cabin.

They'll be just as dazzled by the soundtrack. The 444bhp 4.7-litre V8 that gives the Spider its crazy performance makes an even crazier noise, and the exhaust pops and crackles with every downshift.

But is it a supercar?

While the looks, pace and noise make the Spider dramatic and exciting, it's not great to drive by supercar standards. There's enormous grip, but the body leans a surprising amount and the firm ride will drive you potty over a bumpy surface.

The steering is quick, but you don't get an awful lot of feel, and there's quite a lot of shunt through the six-speed paddleshift gearbox as it swaps cogs.

Unsurprisingly, the 8C Spider is woefully impractical, too. Two people will fit, but they'll have to share an overnight bag because the tiny boot doesn't have space for two.

Still, if you've got £174,000 (around £40,000 more than the coupe!) and you're prepared to forgive the shortcomings for those looks, you'd better get in quick. Only 35 of the 500 being made will come to the UK, and most have already been sold.

Our verdict:

Looks and sounds stunning, but that's the best bit.

Alfa Romeo 8C SpiderPrice: £174,000
On sale: Now
You'll like: Jaw-dropping looks, noise and pace
You won't: Jaw-dropping price; not that good to drive