The world is filled with beautiful things: sunsets over Cardiff Bay, the first words of an infant, and Scarlett Johansson, to name but a few. But not one of these things is as stunning as the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
We had a session with one yesterday and witnessed passers-by walking into lampposts. Grown men wept, children took pictures with their camera phones and married women scrawled their phone number on bits of paper -- not for us, but for the 8C.
A car this good-looking could easily get away with being pants, but the 8C performs like a thoroughbred supercar -- and a good one at that. It's built by Alfa Romeo, which is part of the Ferrari-owning Fiat group, so it's no surprise its V8 engine produces 444bhp at 7,000rpm and 354Nm of torque. The 8C goes from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds and it won't stop going until it reaches just north of 180mph.
The tech's pretty sweet, too. It has automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers, lights come on automatically when it gets dark, it accepts voice commands for the Bluetooth phone system, its engine computer is driver-programmable to limit you to specific speeds, and it has premium Bose speakers tuned specifically for the 8C's cabin.
Only 500 of these cars have been built, so we can understand why Alfa Romeo is charging £160,000 a pop. What we can't understand is why the paint job alone costs £15,000. Yes, it's the sexiest, deepest, purest shade of red we've ever seen, but £15,000? For paint? That just blows our tiny little minds.
If you're a premier league footballer, have the word 'Sheik' in your name, or you're some other git with more money than sense us, then head down to HR Owen's Alfa Romeo store in central London and get your wad out. If not, have a look at the pictures we've taken -- oh, and bring some napkins for the drool.
The 8C has classic supercar proportions: a short rear end, a long, sloping bonnet, and fat (20-inch) alloy wheels dressed in low-profile rubber. Is this the sexiest profile in the world ever? We think so.
The front is ever-so-slightly odd-looking, but we definitely still would. The lights are automatically activated when it gets dark, and deactivated again when it's daytime.
That rear is exceptionally beautiful. The car's isn't bad, either. Notice the circular brake lights, which have indicator lights embedded in the centre, and the quad exhaust pipes, which make a phenomenal noise.
Here's a shot of the interior. It isn't anywhere near as beautiful as that of a Bugatti Veyron or a Spyker C8, but it still gives you butterflies in your stomach just from sitting in it.
That screen, believe it or not, is the sat-nav. It won't display maps, obviously -- it's too small -- but it will give you turn-by-turn instructions.
The stereo head unit (an ageing Becker model) also provides FM radio, plays audio CDs and works with your Bluetooth mobile phone.
The circular button on the left activates the voice control.
The rain sensor for the automatic wipers lives at the top of the windscreen. It works by firing a beam of LED light down the windscreen and looking for a reflection. If the reflection is distorted (as a result of rain), it activates the wiper blades.
Here's the engine start button, plus switches for reverse and auto gears, hazard lights, wet conditions and VDC electronic stability control. Oh, and that thing in the middle is your parking brake.
The climate controls look pretty elaborate, but it's all very straightforward. The switches on the far left and right adjust the temperature for the driver and passenger sides, the pair closer to the centre lets you adjust the direction of the vents, and the switch at the top adjusts the fan speed.
The engine computer has a user-programmable speed-limiting function. Simply enter the speed you don't want to exceed, and the car does the rest.