The launch of any new Ferrari brings with it plenty of excitement, but this car was that bit more significant than the usual decapitation job. The 458 Spider was Maranello’s first mid-engined convertible with a folding metal roof – the world’s first, or so said Ferrari. The roof is an aluminum arrangement that’s actually 25kg lighter than the cloth roof fitted to the F430 Spider, and motors from open to closed in just 14 seconds. It also packages very efficiently, doesn’t compromise the 458’s aerodynamics with the roof up, and leaves room behind the car’s seats for a small luggage shelf.
Mechanically, the Spider gets more supple damper rates compared to the Italia, a gentler throttle map and a slightly fruitier exhaust tune. Ferrari has left the springs and anti-roll bar unchanged to preserve the terrific steering response, lateral grip and cornering ability of the coupe. The weight penalty it carries relative to the coupe is an extremely creditable 50kgs, and that means there’s very little appreciable performance difference between the two cars. Ferrari quotes an identical 3.4sec for the 0-62mph sprint.