First Look: Ferrari 458 Spider
By Marc Lachapelle
Ferrari is launching an open-top version of the midengine 458 Italia coupe introduced in 2010. We experienced the new sports car close to its home in Maranello, Italy, during a long drive over the Apennine mountain range and through the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy.
The Italia was an instant hit, offering superb styling (naturally), inspired handling and a breathtaking 4.5-liter 570-horsepower V8 engine. The 458 Spider creates a class for itself: it's the first mid-engine sports car with a retractable hardtop.
The three-piece design, built from the same aluminum as body and chassis, is a brilliant piece of engineering It folds up or down in a mere 14 seconds and takes up only 3.5 cubic feet of space -- not to mention it's a full 55 pounds lighter than a comparable soft-top.
The 458 Spider also gives little away in terms of body stiffness. Only the damping settings of the BWI-Delphi magnetically variable shocks have been modified. Handling is exceptional; ride characteristics: just as impressive.
Performance is, as expected, otherworldly. The V8 purrs around town with the 7-speed dual-automated-clutch gearbox shifting itself smoothly. Official 0-100 km/h (62.14 mph) acceleration – with launch control – is under 3.4 seconds and top speed is 199 mph.
The fact that the 458 Spider arguably is the best-looking retractable hardtop ever built only sweetens the deal, in a manner of speaking: pricing has not yet been finalized in the U.S., but is set at 228,000 euros for the home continent. Sales start this month.
I'm on my 7th Ferrari, and the 458 is stunning in all ways! Kept my 06 F430, and beloved 09 F599 GTB V-12.
Only cars I own, and care to own!
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