Spy Shots: Alfa Romeo testing GTA versions of 8C, MiTo for centenary launch

You didn't think Alfa Romeo was done celebrating its centenary already, did you? The 100-year-old Italian automaker kicked off the festivities by launching the new Giulietta hatchback, then teamed up with three of Italy's hottest coachbuilders – Bertone, Pininfarina and Zagato – for a trio of mouthwatering concepts. But the party's just started, people.

Next up, if these spy shots and emerging reports are anything to go by, is the return of the GTA. Shorthand for Gran Turismo Allegerito (that's lightweight GT to us yanks), the nameplate has adorned some of the fastest Alfas to date, and is about to return on two highly anticipated sports models.

The most enticing is surely the 8C GTA: Based on the sumptuous 8C Competizione, the GTA version is tipped to gain a 50-horsepower boost from its 4.7-liter V8 to bring output up to 500, unburdened by 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of excess weight trimmed by the use of carbon fiber. Reported improvements to the six-speed sequential transmission and suspension upgrades surely won't hurt, either, with an expected 100-example production run. The 8C GTA was rumored way back in 2008, but was recently spied undergoing testing in its native Italy.

Joining its big brother, the baby MiTo GTA was previewed in concept form at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009, but was subsequently put on the back burner. Which was a real shame, considering its 240-horse turbo four and sport-tuned chassis. But if the latest spy shots are any indication, it looks like the program has been put into high gear. 2010 is quickly shaping up to be one of the most exciting years in Alfa's history, and if its return to North American shores comes to fruition as planned, we just might have reason to celebrate, too.

[Source: Unica-Strada]

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