The 458 Speciale was a bit of a surprise when the details began leaking out in 2013, and we were in for an even bigger treat when it debuted during the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show with its 596 horsepower — 34 more horses than the base 458 — 398 pound-feet of torque, 200 pounds of weight loss, and three-second 0-to-60 mph time. Now on June 24th, 2014, rumors surfaced claiming that Ferrari is planning on removing the top from the 458 Speciale, creating a new, road- and track-ready Spider.
The news was broken by 4wheelsnews.com via "inside sources" within Ferrari, but the details behind the model remain a relative mystery for now. What we know for sure is that this model will weigh significantly less than the current 458 Italia Spider , carry the same engine as the Speciale Coupe and clip 60 mph in around three ticks of the second hand.
Updated 09/17/2014: Ferrari will unveil the new 458 Speciale Spider at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October 2014.
Click past the jump for the whole story and to see what I think of this move.
Ferrari 458 Speciale Spider
According to the report, dealerships already know this model is coming, and they are contacting trusted, prospective buyers to get a list of preorders ready before production begins. We could see the new, topless 458 Speciale hit the auto-show circuit as early as the 2014 Paris Auto Show that runs from October 4th through 19th.
I am not particularly surprised by this move, as the Spider followed the base 458 Italia Coupe by just two years, so why shouldn’t the Spider make its way to the Speciale model? This helps Ferrari maximize sales by catering to buyers who also want to have unlimited headroom in the Speciale model, thereby maximizing profits — something Ferrari has become very good at lately.
Sure, the Audi R8 V10 Spyder may not be as awesome as the 458 Speciale in terms of weight reduction and overall performance, but few cars in this segment are. The Audi comes to the game with a 5.2-liter, V-10 powerplant that cranks out 525 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 398 pound-feet of twist at 6,500 rpm. This is enough oomph to clip 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and top out at 194 mph, both are much slower than the 458 Speciale.
The R8 V10 Spyder is priced from $168,950 with a manual transmission and $176,760 with a seven-speed automated manual trans. These lower prices and a proper row-your-own gearbox are things the R8 can hang its hat on in this competition.
Gallery Audi R8 V10 Spyder
It doesn’t exist, I know, but given the Gallardo was available sans top, I can only assume its replacement will lose its top at some point too. With 449 kw (602 horsepower) — the "610" is its metric horsepower — and 412 pound-feet of torque coming from its 5.2-liter V-10, I can only expect the Huracan Spider to easily keep pace with the 458 Speciale Spider. On top of that, with all of its aluminum and carbon-fiber chassis bits, I suspect the Huracan Roadster will match the Speciale’s cornering capabilities too.
According to leaks, the Huracan will start from £150,600 ($255,454 as of 6/24/2014) and the convertible should add another £10,000, or so, to the price.