Ferrari drops the top, full specs on new 458 Spider
24 August 2011
Engineering a mid-engined exotic with a retractable hardtop is a bit tricky. Which is why it's never been done before – that is, until now. Feast your eyes on what Maranello's crafty engineers have wrought.
The convertible version of the 458 Italia fills the space left by the F430 Spider and the 360, 355 and 348 Spiders before it. But whereas those went with cloth roofs, the newest variation on the theme uses a folding – or more accurately, flipping – hard panel.
The mechanism is similar to the one on the Superamerica, but whereas that model's roof panel simply rests under the open sky on the rear deck, the 458 stows under the deck lid, protecting it from collecting dust or rain that would otherwise be deposited on the driver and passenger when deployed.
The function is simpler than most folding contraptions and resulting form is more pleasing to the eye as well, but the one disadvantage is that the 4.5-liter direct-injection V8 (with all its 562 prancing horses and trademark crackled red cam cover) is now hidden below decks instead of displayed as on the 458 Italia coupe. Which only goes to show that while you can come close to having your proverbial cake and eating it too, even this level of performance roadster has its trade-offs. This, though, strikes us as one we could live with. You know, if we really had to.