The Frankfurt Motor Show is still nearly a month away but we’re already getting a good hint of what’s to come at the most important European car show of the new model-year – including this first look at the Ferrari 458 Spider.
As its name suggests, it’s a drop-top version of the current 458, though Ferrari has opted for a folding hardtop design, rather than conventional canvas – and, in something of a surprise the Italian supercar maker claims that strategy actually saves a full 55 pounds. More typically, metal fold-ups, like those found on a BMW 3-Series cabriolet, are the heavier option.
Even with the origami metal, the Spider weighs in about 100 pounds more than the conventional Ferrari 458, adding about a tenth of a second to its 0 to 100 kmh time, which remains a still-impressive 3.4 seconds. As for top speed, the 458 Spider will hit 198 mph compared to 202 for the standard 458.
The 458 Spider becomes the fastest Ferrari convertible ever and lags just a wee bit behind the current 202 mph Bentley Continental GTC for the all-time ragtop record.
The new car maintains the 4.5-liter V-8, which makes a hefty 562 horsepower at a track-ready 9,000 RPMs. Torque measures out at 398 pound-feet. Power is fed through a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox using paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel.
Ferrari has mounted its manettino switch, meanwhile, on the wheel itself, giving a driver the ability to rapidly shift from normal to sport to race modes. That automatically adjusts throttle mapping, the F1-Trac traction control and suspension settings.
Though the maker is saving a few details for Frankfurt, the top is reportedly a two-piece affair that folds so nimbly there’s still some modest space left in a small compartment behind the seats. Operating the power top takes just 14 seconds and, when down, a pair of flying buttresses remains in place – but they’re functional, helping channel air to the engine and radiators.
Ferrari will offer a wind blocker, meanwhile, that it claims can permit a reasonably normal conversation level at speeds up to 125 mph.
If you have to ask price, the current model starts at about $277,000 – if you can find one without a long wait or premium. European reports indicate the maker is likely to tack on about a 15% premium for the Ferrari 458 Spider.
Meanwhile, a higher-performance Scuderia version is under development and could give the Ferrari 458 Spider bragging rights by beating the Bentley GTC.