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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Ferrari 458 Spider Is Afraid Of Newspapers


It was inevitable, and now it's here. Ferrari has released a video of the new 458 Spider (unofficially the Italian word for convertible), which folds its metal roof (or maybe carbon fibre, details are still scarce) in a similar way to the 575 Superamerica from about 5 years ago, but in two parts instead of one, and hiding under a cover rather then sitting upside-down on the back. According to Ferrari, the use of a folding hardtop instead of rags actually saves 25kg, because the rest of the car didn't need as much doing to it to make it safe enough. They also claim that "The design was perfected to slow and diffuse the air in the cockpit, enabling normal conversation to be held even at speeds over 200 km/h". Surely any conversation held at over 124mph is going to involve screaming anyway? "Why are you talking to me?! Pay attention to the road or SLOW DOWN!" I guess it's just a measure of quality rather than a useful feature to advertise.

One important factor of any drop-top supercar is the styling, and it looks quite busy back there. Because they can't put the air intakes behind the side windows any more, they've had to integrate them into the engine cover. It does look good, and with the roof up it does still look more-or-less like a normal coupé body (apart from the panel lines across the roof), but I'm not sure I prefer it to the cleaner fixed-head Italia with its visible engine through the long back window.

Like the normal 458 Italia, it has a 4.5-litre naturally-aspirated V8 producing 562bhp (570PS), which means 125bhp-per-litre, the highest specific output of any naturally aspirated road engine ever, if I'm not mistaken. Expect the performance numbers to suffer marginally from the extra weight and minor loss in rigidity. For those that buy Ferraris to be seen in though, it's a price worth paying. As for the other price worth paying? Well, Ferrari haven't announced the RRP yet, so I don't know.

Press Release below:



THE NEW FERRARI 458 SPIDER

The world's first mid-rear engined berlinetta [coupé] equipped with a retractable hard top debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Maranello, 23rd August 2011 - The new 458 Spider joins the 458 Italia, widening the range of Ferrari's mid-rear engined V8s and offering the same uncompromising technological solutions, handling and performance in a refined open-top configuration. It 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 Ferrari's naturally-aspirated, direct-injection 4.5 litre V8 which was nominated as the 2011 International Engine of the Year for its engineering excellence in terms of driveability, performance, economy and refinement. The power is transferred to the road by Ferrari's class-leading dual-clutch F1 paddle-shift transmission through the sophisticated E-Diff, itself integrated with the F1-Trac traction control and high-performance ABS for maximum handling dynamics.

Certain features, such as its accelerator pedal mapping and the damping of the multilink suspension, have been calibrated to guarantee maximum sportiness and absolute driving pleasure with the top down, in line with Maranello's exclusive spider tradition. Even the engine soundtrack has been honed to ensure that the car's occupants are completely captivated by the drop-top driving 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 25 kg in weight and a deployment time of just 14 seconds. Fully integrated into the styling of the car, 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 generous rear bench for luggage behind the seats.

The rear of the car is characterised by innovative forms with the 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 features a generously-sized adjustable electric wind stop. The design was perfected to slow and diffuse the air in the cockpit, enabling normal conversation to be held even at speeds over 200 km/h.

New technical solutions adopted for the chassis guarantee identical levels of structural rigidity with the roof up or down. The result is a car that is truly exciting to drive, blending extreme performance with the responsiveness that has always characterised Ferrari's open-top berlinettas.

458 Spider technical specifications:

Dimensions
Length4527 mm (178.2 in.)
Width1937 mm (76.3 in.)
Height1211 mm (47.7 in.)
Wheelbase2650 mm (104.3 in.)
Dry weight1430 kg (3153 lbs)*
Weight/power ratio2.51 kg/CV (7.42 lbs/kW)
Weight distribution fr/r42%/58%
Engine
Type90° V8
Displacement4499 cc (274.5 cu in.)
Maximum power570 CV (425 kW)** @ 9000 rpm
Maximum torque540 Nm (398 lbs/ft) @ 6000 rpm
Specific power output127 CV/l
Compression ratio12.5:1
Tyres
Front235/35 ZR20 8.5”
Rear295/35 ZR20 10.5”
Performance
Maximum speed>320 km/h (>198 mph)
0-100 km/h<3.4 s
Fuel consumption + emissions
Fuel consumption***11.8 l/100 km
Emissions***275 g CO2/km
Gearbox
Dual-clutch, 7-speed F1
Electronics
E-Diff3, F1-Trac, high-performance ABS

* With forged wheels and Racing seats
** Including 5 CV of ram effect
*** Combined cycle with HELE system (ECE+EUDC)

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