FERRARI’S fastest-ever version of the 458 Italia appears poised to rip off its lid, with a tin-top convertible version of the supercar spied testing in Europe.
Based on the 458 Spider, this prototype Ferrari 458 Speciale Spider features almost all the active aerodynamics built into its heavily track-honed, fixed-roof sibling.
Beneath the rear-mounted engine cowl sits the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 the Italian supercar maker has built, producing 441kW of tarmac-shredding power from its 4.5-litre displacement.
Potentially due for an airing at October’s Paris motor show, the front and rear of the convertible Speciale blends a number of the same Formula One-inspired active aerodynamic elements as the fixed-roof version that bend and stretch under load to increase the amount of downforce as speeds rise.
Of note, though, the more chiselled side skirt is missing the extra shark-like fin rising from just in front of the rear wheel that features on the hardtop version.
Unusually, too, this prototype is fitted with the 458 Spider’s stacked triple exhausts, and not the split twin pipes of the Speciale.
Like the 458 Spider, the compact folding roof is expected to tuck into a specially designed recess built into the top of the engine bay.
The extra electronics and underbody reinforcement for the drop-top version of the 458 Italia adds 50kg in weight over the fixed-roofed version, which means the folding-lid Speciale should weigh in at slightly more than 1300kg, helped by Ferrari’s harsh weight-saving program that cut the 458 Speciale’s mass to 1290kg.
However, the extra bulk is not expected to affect the Spider’s acceleration from rest to 100km/h, meaning it could match the Speciale coupe’s 3.0-sec sprint.