Ferrari Shows New 458 Spyder -- Mamma Mia!

Forbes

Ferrari pulled the wraps off of its new 458 Spyder and revealed another layer of deliciousness to the already scrumptious mid-rear-engined 458 Italia. A retractable aluminum top lowers in just 14 seconds to afford open-air enjoyment, and stows neatly in a space just ahead of the engine compartment without compromising the car's aerodynamics. With the top up this area doubles as a rear bench for cargo storage.

No mere chop job, Ferrari says it's also tweaked some of the 458 Italia's features, such as its throttle mapping, suspension damping and exhaust-note tuning "to guarantee maximum sportiness and absolute driving pleasure with the top down, in line with Maranello’s exclusive spider tradition."

Otherwise, the 458 Spyder remains as much a rolling masterpiece of automotive art as it is a high-performance car. Ferrari says every exterior element has been crafted with aerodynamic efficiency in mind. It may be clichéd, but the 458 Italia is one car that indeed looks fast while it’s standing still.

Fortunately for affluent driving enthusiasts, the 458 Italia’s allure reaches deep beneath its idiosyncratic outward appearance.

When it debuted in the coupe, the car’s 4.5-liter V8 represented Ferrari’s first mid-rear mounted direct-injected engine, which means it resides just behind the seats and literally gives the car’s occupants a kick in the pants when pushed to its limits. The V8 generates a generous 570 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque and channels its power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission that’s operated via large steering wheel-mounted paddles. The 458 Italia is claimed to reach 60 mph from a standing start in a reality-altering 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 202 mph. Going much faster than that would require rocket power.

You’d expect a costly exotic sports car to deliver racecar-like driving dynamics, and the 458 Italia doesn’t disappoint in that regard. As has become a Ferrari tradition, this comes via a deft combination of innovative design and technical wizardry.

The Ferrari 458 Spyder will receive its official introduction at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September. No word as yet on availability or pricing, but we'd expect the cost of entry to be around $250,000.

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