2014 Paris Motor Show: Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta is the vehicle we wanted to see [Live Photos]

Article by Christian A., on October 2, 2014

Ferrari’s new 458 Speciale Aperta a.k.a. the spider version of the 458 Speciale arrived today at the 2014 Paris Motor Show as company’s most powerful spider in its history. Just like the coupe version, the 458 Speciale Aperta is powered by a 4.5-liter V8 mid-rear engine that generates 605 hp (445 kW) at 9,000 rpm and 540 Nm (398 lb-ft) at 6,000 rpm.

The new model zooms from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.0 seconds, to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 9.5 seconds, while top speed is 320 km/h or 200 mph. In addition, the 458 Speciale A (A as in Aperta) runs the quarter mile in 10.8 seconds and posted a Fiorano best lap time of 1’23”5.

The design is not new as the vehicle is identical to the coupe but what’s new is the innovative retractable hard top (RHT) that transforms the vehicle into a stylish spider in just 14 seconds. Compared to other convertibles, the retracted roof takes up to 100 liters of space rather than the usual 150-200 liters required on other models.

What’s more interesting is that the glass electric rear window can be adjusted regardless of whether the roof is deployed or retracted. This means that even if the roof is closed, you can hear the roar of the engine perfectly clear.

Thanks to the same glass rear window, drivers are able to carry on a normal conversation at speeds of over 200 km/h (124 mph) with the roof down. Moreover, the transparent engine cover seen on the coupe version was replaced and that’s too bad as the vehicle looked much better.

Exterior Design

Featuring a coefficient of 1.37, the Ferrari 458 Speciale A is the Italian carmaker’s most aerodynamically efficient spider in its history. This was achieved by employing a number of innovations that also allowed the 458 Speciale A to boast a low coefficient of drag (Cd 0.355) and a high downforce (Cl 0.485).

These figures were also achieved through active aerodynamics – all Ferrari-patented -- active aerodynamics, which enables various configurations to be suited to different requirements. For instance, the Ferrari 458 Speciale A needs maximum downforce during cornering, and requires minimum drag on straights.

The new Ferrari 458 Speciale A features three flaps -- two verticals on the front and a horizontal flap on the underbody – that open or close according to conditions. When the car is moving at low speeds, all three flaps are closed, allowing air to enter the radiators for cooling down the engine.

When the 458 Speciale A is cruising at more than 170 km/h, only the vertical flaps are opened, resulting to reduced volumes of airs channeled to radiators, and ultimately lowering drag. When speed of the car exceeds 220 km/h, however, the horizontal flap is lowered, thereby balance downforce between the front and rear axles. This configuration shifts overall downforce by 20 percent towards the rear.

The increased downforce and the 4-percent shift in the aerodynamic balance over the front were made possible by the turning vanes located at either side of the front bumper and by aerodynamic fins.

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