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Paris show: Hottest Ferrari drop-top open for business

Fresh model: Ferrari’s dashing new 458 Speciale A can accelerate to 100km/h in 3.0 seconds while the driver gets a sun tan.

Australia to get Ferrari’s fastest spider, the 458 Speciale A, after Paris reveal


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26 Sep 2014

FERRARI has taken the tin snips to its hottest V8 coupe to create its fastest open-top street machine, the 458 Speciale A.

In this case, the A stands for Aperta – Italian for open. Remarkably, the new flagship spider weighs just 50kg more than the solid roof version, and is just as quick to 100km/h, completing the dash in a mere 3.0 seconds.

The new model will be rolled out at next week’s Paris motor show, and with only 499 to be built for global consumption, it should be a sell-out success.

The good news for Australian customers is that it has been confirmed for this market, priced at $635,000 (plus on-road costs), with initial deliveries coming in the first quarter of next year. The bad news is that numbers will be limited, according to Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth.

The 458 Speciale A gets the same normally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 as the $550,000 (plus on-road costs) 458 Speciale coupe that went on sale in Australia at the end of last year. This engine pounds out 445kW of power at 9000rpm and 540Nm of torque at 6000rpm.

The new open-top version will sit above the ‘standard’ $588,451 458 Spider that is fitted with the less powerful 419kW version of the 4.5-litre V8.

Like the 458 Spider, the Speciale A gets a retractable aluminium folding roof that can be raised or lowered in 14 seconds.

And like the 485 Speciale coupe, the Speciale A is identified by racing stripes over the middle of the body and some fresh aerodynamic tweaks that Ferrari says make the new model its slipperiest spider yet.

Not only is the Speciale A as swift as its coupe counterpart in a straight line, but also around Ferrari’s Maranello test track – a feat that Prancing Horse engineers attribute to its new front and rear active aerodynamics, rigid chassis incorporating 10 aluminium alloys, and electronic Side Slip Angle Control (SSC) “which guarantees unparalleled sporty driving in all conditions”.

The active aerodynamics system has spoilers front and back that automatically adjust according to driving style and conditions, applying more downforce when needed in corners and less drag when straight-line speed is required.

To save fuel, the 458 Speciale A employs Ferrari’s HELE (High Emotion Low Emissions) system, and while no fuel consumption figures have been provided, Ferrari is claiming a carbon-dioxide emissions figure of 275 grams per kilometre – the same as the Speciale coupe. Presumably, the fuel consumption figure is also the same – 11.8 litres per 100km.

For Paris, the new model will be decked out in triple-layer yellow paint and five-spoke forged wheels.

Inside, the racing cockpit look extends to moulded door panels and central tunnel in a blue carbon-fibre, while the sports seats are cloaked in suede-like Alcantara with contrasting stitching.

The $635,000 price tag for the 458 Speciale A makes it the second-most expensive model in the local range, sitting only below the $690,745 V12 F12berlinetta.

It represents an $85,000 hike over the 458 Speciale coupe, and a $46,549 premium over the standard 458 Spider.

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