Finally, the new 2012 Ferrari 458 Spider joins the 458 Italia, widening the range of Ferrari’s mid-rear engined V8s. The open-top prancing horse is equipped with a Ferrari patented, fully retractable hard top, a world first for a sports car with this lay-out.
The 458 Spider is powered by a naturally-aspirated, direct-injection 4.5 liter V8. The power is transferred to the road by a dual-clutch F1 paddle-shift transmission through the E-Diff, itself integrated with the F1-Trac traction control and ABS. The figures tell us that the extra weight of 50kg adds a tenths to the 0-100km/h time, taking it to 3.4 seconds. Top speed drops from 325km/h to 320km/h being Ferrari’s fastest-ever convertible.
Certain of the car’s features, such as its accelerator pedal mapping and the damping of the multilink suspension, have been calibrated to guarantee maximum sportiness and driving pleasure with the top down. Even the engine soundtrack has been honed to accompany the open-top experience.
Entirely in aluminium, the hard-top solution adopted for the 458 Spider offers a number of advantages over the traditional folding soft-top, including a reduction of 25kg in weight and a deployment time of just 14 seconds. The hard-top was engineered to fit neatly ahead of the engine bay without compromising aerodynamics or the performance of the car. The small space needed to house the roof enables the designers to include a rear bench for luggage behind the seats.
The rear of the car has buttresses designed to optimise the flow of air to the engine intakes and the clutch and gearbox oil radiators. For maximum comfort whilst driving top down the 458 Spider has an adjustable electric wind stop. It slows and diffuses the air in the cockpit, enabling normal conversation to be held even at speeds over 200km/h.
The brand new 2012 Ferrari 458 Spider will make its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2011.