Being front and centre at the Ferrari press conference was probably very much like being mobbed by a bunch of drunken British football yobbos. Pushed, pummelled, shoved, having experienced several varieties of body odour and even a Russian "journalist" attempting to climb over my back… I nonetheless managed to have an unobscured view of the sheet coming off the 458 Spider for its first public view.
"Different Ferraris for different Ferraristi" proclaimed Chairman Luca di Montezemolo as the cloth was swept away.
|Photo: Lesley Wimbush/Auto123.com
Touted as the world's "first mid-rear engined berlinetta with a retractable hard top”, the 458 Spider is powered by the same 4.5-litre, 570-hp V8 as in the 458 Italia, which received the "2011International Engine of the Year" title, and mated to the same 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic and torque vectoring differential.
It claims a 0-100 km/h speed of only 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 320 km/h. Its reported fuel consumption is 11.8 L/100km, with CO2 emissions of 275 g/km.
The patented roof, surprisingly, is 25 kg lighter than an equivalent cloth top thanks to its aluminum construction, and stows away in under 14 seconds. It's designed to fit neatly into the well in front of the engine bay, while still leaving enough space for a luggage, or a golf bag behind the seats.
A self-adjusting rear windscreen rises to the optimum height when needed to prevent cabin turbulence when the roof is stowed.
And, if an off-the-rack prancing horse isn't exclusive enough for you, Ferrari announced their new "Tailor-Made Program" offering a full range of exclusive colours and materials inspired by the brand's heritage.
Also on display, the FF twelve-cylinder shooting brake, an Abu Dhabi Formula car, a hard-topped version of the 458 Italia and the lovely Ferrari California.