In a world first for a mid-engined sports car, the 458 Spider is equipped with a Ferrari patented fully retractable hard top, but where most hard top convertibles gain significant weight during such a transition, Ferrari’s 458 Spider made entirely from aluminium is 25 kg lighter than a traditional folding soft-top weighing in at around 50kg more than the 458 Italia.
With 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. Fully integrated into the styling of the car, the small space needed to house the roof enabled the designers to include a generous rear bench for luggage behind the seats.
The Spider uses the same 4.5-litre, 562bhp, 398lb ft V8 powerplant as the 458 Italia and despite the extra weight still accelerates from 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds (0.1 second slower than the Italia) reaching a maximum speed of 198 mph – compared with 202 mph for the Italia.
Certain features, such as mapping of the drive-by-wire accelerator pedal and the damping of the multilink suspension, have been re-calibrated to maximise sportiness and driving pleasure with the top down. Like its predecessor, the 430 Spider, the 458’s engine soundtrack has been honed to surround the car’s occupants with the top down.
For maximum comfort whilst driving with its top down, the 458 Spider features an 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 above 125 mph.
Prices have yet to be confirmed but don’t expect much change from £200,000 when it arrives in British showrooms next year.