If there’s anything better than a beautiful, red Ferrari 458 Italia, it’s that same beautiful, red Ferrari with its top stripped off. We received confirmation that Ferrari was planning on producing a Spider version of one of their highly successful new models back in 2009 from none other than Luca di Montezemolo, himself and now the covers have finally been pulled off.
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider.
The car is scheduled to make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, but the Prancing Horse wanted to release the first salvo of information, together with official photos, well ahead of that. Thank your lucky stars, people.
And now that the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider has officially arrived, the next question that needs to be answered now is when it’s going on sale. Word has it that Europe will get first crack at the Ferrari supercar around spring of 2012 with the US following suit towards the end of 2012.
UPDATE 09/27/2011: Price, Set, Buy! Ferrari has revealed pricing for their luscious 458 Italia Spyder! Sales for the drop top beauty will start in January for the US with prices starting at $257,000. Sales in Europe will begin in October and prices will start at 226,800 euros, or $309,000 at the current exchange rates.
UPDATE 01/09/12: Ferrari has now released the online configuration for the 458 Italia Spyder. We can’t say that we didn’t wait for this and now that its here, we’re all excited to see what we can do with our very own "virtual" 458 Italia Spyder.
Find out more about the 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider after the jump
gallery: Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia Spyder’s Luscious Engine Sound
Exterior and Interior
While most of the car’s appearance looks pretty much the same to that of the hard-top version of the 458 Italia, the biggest difference between the two is pretty obvious: the Spider comes with a retractable roof.
The roof is made from aluminum and was designed to ergonomically fit just in front of the rear engine without compromising both the car’s aerodynamic attributes, as well as the overall performance. With the roof mechanism being as small as it is, the 458 Italia Spider even has room to have a small storage space just behind the two seats of the supercar.
The front of the supercar remains largely untouched, but the rear has been given a few tweaks to work well with the car’s new aerodynamic set-up, specifically in the optimization of air flow towards the cooling ducts, oil cooler, and gearbox. There’s also the addition of an adjustable wind deflector, which has been designed in such a way that the wind doesn’t interfere with the interior cabin of the supercar, making conversations between driver and passenger less of a hassle than it would have been.
In addition to the exterior engineering of the 458 Italia Spider, Ferrari also adjusted the supercar’s engine mapping and suspension damping, as well as re-tuning the engine sound to ensure optimal performance capabilities without compromising the ride experience of the car.
Overall, the changes done on the whole set-up of the 458 Italia Spider resulted in a heavier car - although not by much - compared to the hard-top 458 Italia. The former weighs in at 3,153 lbs compared to the latter weighing 3,042 lbs.
The engine of the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider is still the same 4.5-liter V8 engine from the hard-top version. The resulting output remains at 570 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 400 lb/ft of torque at 6,000 rpm mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and electronic differential. The supercar is capable of traveling from 0-62 mph in less than 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 198 mph.
The engine also delivers an outstanding power output of 127 HP/liter and 120 Nm/liter and only 307 g/km of CO2 with a fuel consumption of just 13.3 l/100 km.
Sales for the drop top beauty will start in January 2012 for the US with prices starting at $257,000. Sales in Europe will begin in October 201 and prices will start at 226,800 euros, or $309,000 at the current exchange rates. Customers interested can also opt for different packages to boost the car’s appeal: a leather luggage set for the trunk (€ 5.651/$7,900 at the current rates) and a carbon fiber package (€ 11.592/$15,990 at the current rates). The cheapest option is a silver plate priced at € 484 ($667 at the current rates).
Lamborghini and McLaren have yet to come out with their own Spider versions for the Aventador and the MP4-12C , so for now, the onus is on the Audi R8 GT Spyder and the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster to compete against the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider.
Here’s where we’re at: We love the look of the Audi R8 GT Spyder and the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster and have long been fans of both cars’ overall profile. But when we first saw the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, it completely blew us away. Given a choice between the German supercars and the Italian thoroughbred in terms of design, we won’t even blink and give it to the latter.
As far as we’re concerned, the SLS AMG Roadster hurt its cause when it eliminated the one quality the hard-top version that made it stand out: the gullwing doors.
As for the engine, both the SLS AMG Roadster and the 458 Italia Spider retained the same engines as that of the coupe versions. In the case of the former, it’s still the 6.3-liter V8 engine that produces 563 horsepower and 479 lb/ft of torque with a top speed of 195 mph.
This is where the Audi R8 GT Spyder stands out, thanks to the its 4.5-liter V8 engine and its output of 570 horsepower, good enough for a top speed of over 200 mph.
Since the engines of all three supercars are pretty much the same give or take a few ponies, we’ll base this argument on our belief that the 458 Italia Spider’s design completely blew us away.
Exterior design is just beyond awesome
Performance numbers are still spectacular
Plenty of adjustments made to make the ride as comfortable as the coupe
Would’ve been nice if there was a bump in power
It’s going to be expensive
Other options are also available