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Friday, 30 September 2016

LaFerrari Aperta Appears, Screams, Then Disappears


There will be a Paris Motor Show highlights post on here tomorrow, but for now let's segue from my previous post perving at a Ferrari into the motor show coverage...

Why wasn't LaFerrari called the Ferrari F70? Well, one reason would be that it was launched two or three years too soon for Ferrari's 70th anniversary - whether that was in response to the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 is up for debate - in which case the name would be a little farcical... but maybe still not as bad as using something that sounds like a bad advertising slogan for the actual name. Nevertheless, Ferrari's special-series cars tend to be a one-shot deal, with no variants to follow... except for this time, as Ferrari has decided to commemorate its real 70th anniversary next year with the first open-top special-series car since the controversial F50 of the mid 1990s.

Welcome, then, to LaFerrari Aperta.

"BWOAH" - Kimi Räikkönen
It's more than just a roof chop though, don't y'know. Cars like these demand perfectionism and that meant re-evaluating how things like the aerodynamics are affected. To that end, little strips in the corners of the windscreen divert hot air venting from the bonnet, while a glass screen between the headrests also works to separate heat and turbulence from the occupants. Even the underfloor aerodynamics have been redesigned to channel more of the air underneath the car rather than over the top of it, one external sign of which is a little black air vent behind the front wheels, visible in this video. A more upright front radiator design also helps with these issues... somehow.

Critically, the exhaust has been made a little bit louder, while the control system that manages how the 800PS 6.3 V12 and the 163PS electric motor interact with each other and the road has been revised using knowledge gained since finishing the original LaFerrari. So it'll sound even better now that you can hear it more clearly as well as function all the more seamlessly as a hybrid.


Performance? Well thanks in part to use of a carbon fibre tub - which has nevertheless been reinforced low down - it has the same torsional rigidity and beam strength as the hardtop as well as the same straight-line performance figures of 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, 0-124mph in 7.1s and 0-186mph in around 15 seconds. An optional removable carbon roof panel even facilitates exactly the same top speed of over 217mph, or if you left it at home there's a fabric emergency roof (for all your fabric emergencies!) rated to 130km/h (80mph), just in case you get caught out by the weather forecast.

Another concern with de-roofing a car is weight increase. To be honest, LaFerrari's weight has always been a little bit of a mystery, one that isn't helped by the fact that Ferrari had to (or perhaps chose to) homologate two different versions of the original car, one for European regulations and one for US regulations. What is clear is that the US-spec one is heavier - which would explain to me why they wanted a lighter Euro-spec one to satisfy themselves with marginally better performance figures - but by how much is a little bit unclear. Upon unveiling it in 2014, Ferrari begrudgingly quoted a dry weight of 1255kg, but nobody seems to still use this figure (that would be immensely impressive for a big car with a V12 hybrid and DCT). However, when Chris Harris reviewed the car at Fiorano, he said a day after a typically long presentation that "the dry weight is around 1300kg and wet with fluids it's 1414[kg]." This would square with info from a forum post I found that said a German weighed their car to find it weighed 1480kg with around 75% of a tank of fuel - the tank can apparently take 86L in total, three quarters of which is 64.5L, thus if we take fuel to weigh 1kg/L at delivery temperature (before it heats up during use and expands) the car would theoretically weigh 1415.5kg with an empty tank - but all other fluids - in the real world.
But that's the European-spec version. The US-spec version is officially quoted at 1585kg, which is a lot heavier! If we take away 86kg of a full fuel tank we get a figure of 1499kg wet-minus-fuel. Assuming the official kerbweight quote does include a tank of fuel, which it often can, the weight penalty of US safety regulations would in that case be around 85kg or so.

Why bog you down with all that educated guesswork? Because roadster versions of Ferraris generally add around 50kg of dry mass onto whatever the hardtop had and the Aperta is based only on the US-spec version. That would put the weight at approximately 1529kg plus 86kg of fuel (1635kg).


Not that any of this matters to you and me beyond curiosity and Top Trumps matches; the 200 planned customer cars are all already sold at around a 50% premium over the hardtop, while Ferrari will also build nine cars to keep for themselves. Maybe they'll hand them out to management and/or F1 drivers and even have a car left over for road testers? Who knows. Maybe we'll find out as part of Ferrari's seemingly extensive 70th anniversary festivities next year.

For now, scroll back to the top and watch Sebastian Vettel reflect on some of what those 70 years of history contain.


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