2011 Frankfurt Motor Show: Ferrari 458 Spider makes its debut

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 13, 2011

Ferrari has officially released the new 458 Spider’s initial details and images as the car was unveiled today at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is the world's first mid-rear engine berlinetta that features a retractable hard top. The new 458 Spider joins the Ferrari’s mid-rear engined V8s range alongside the 458 Italia.

The 458 Spider is powered by a naturally-aspirated, direct-injection 4.5 litre V8 engine mated to a dual-clutch F1 paddle-shift transmission via the E-Diff, which is itself integrated with the F1-Trac traction control and high-performance ABS for optimal handling dynamics.

Ferrari claims that this sports car can accelerate from zero to 60mph in only 3.4 seconds and can hit a top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph). In addition, it features an adjustable electric wind stop, which is designed to slow and diffuse the air in the cockpit. This means that the occupants of the vehicle can engage in a normal conversation even when the car is going over 200 km/h.

The hard-top was developed to fit neatly ahead of the engine bay without having an impact on the aerodynamics or the car’s performance. It can deploy after only 14 seconds. Ferrari calibrated its accelerator pedal mapping and the damping of the multilink suspension, as well as the engine soundtrack.

Every Ferrari is innovative. Yet, there are some cars that really depart from the other Ferraris that are available in the market. And this is the case with the Ferrari 458 Italia, which features a totally different look from the car brand's earlier sports cars that have mid-rear engines.

The new Ferrari brings together creative flair, style, top-notch technology, and passion. These are the same characteristics that Italy is known for, which is why Ferrari chose to name the car after their homeland, on top of following their traditional naming system of using the number of cylinders and displacement that the car possesses.

The 458 Italia is a complete take off from its predecessors in every aspect, from its engine, aerodynamics, design, ergonomics, handling, and instrumentation.

The new car benefits from the carmaker's extensive F1 racing experience. You could see this in the precision and speed with which the 458 Italia responds to the driver's inputs. And even when the performance and power has been increased, you get more fuel efficiency here than the Ferrari F430 because of the reduction in friction in the engine.

It is not only the technology that reminds you of the carmaker's racing expertise but also how you feel when you are in it. Ferrari has put in a lot of effort to make the relationship between the car and the driver symbiotic. The 458 Italia has a cutting edge driving environment that makes use of a new dashboard and steering wheel that has been designed with the company's racing expertise. The car's design includes feedback from Michael Schumacher who was involved with the project from the very start.

The car's Pininfarina design also makes it obvious that it is meant to look a whole lot different from other cars. It has an aerodynamic shape and is very compact, further emphasizing efficiency, lightness and simplicity, the same qualities that provided inspiration for the project.

Similar to other models, the car's design was made to give it excellent aerodynamics. It has a down force of 140 kg at speeds of 200 kilometers per hour. The front of the car has an opening for the grille and air intakes on the side. The aerodynamics direct air to go to the coolant radiators, as well as the flat underbody. The 458 Italia's nose now features small winglets that give more down force. These winglets deform at high speeds to cut drag and make the radiator inlets smaller.

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