The Ferrari 458 Speciale A. The Speciale A (for Asperta, or 'open') is the drop top version of the 458 italia. It merges blistering pace with stunning aesthetics typical of Ferrari that provide an excellent way to celebrate the successes of the original standard-setting supercar.
Making a debut at the Paris Motor Show, this unique, open top model, will only be privy to a lucky 499 Ferrari collectors. It offers up more power than any other previous Ferrari spider model.
The naturally aspirated V8 engine serves up 597 prancing horses and 540Nm of torque, blowing away any traditional expectations of open top performance vehicles adding more to the mix rather than taking away. The 4.5 Litre engine is allowed to fully flex its vocal chords due to tailpipe positioning and a redesign of the inlet tract.
0-100km/h is achieved in just under 3 seconds flat thanks to an uncompromising build and design. Slide Slip angle control (SSC) meticulously analyses the car's slip slide angle to efficiently deal out torque to the driven wheels, meaning the Speciale A makes the most of available grip and puts down consistent power to the road.
A Racing Thoroughbred
Aimed at those looking for a high-performance vehicle, the Asperta responds extremely quickly with minimal steering response times of just 0.06 seconds and acceleration of 1.33g, which are the highest ever figures of a road-going Ferrari. Further reduced reaction times of the seven speed dual-clutch transmission means that longitudinal acceleration is 40 percent faster, whilst engine revs respond 20 percent more rapidly to acceleration.
The sleek bodywork of the car isn't just for looks, either. The most aerodynamic spider in Ferrari history gives an extremely slick drag coefficient of 1.37, and serves up a series of flaps in the front of the car which react to current speed. At over 220km/h, the flaps lower to balance downforce between front and rear axles, ultimately resulting in a 20 percent increase in rear downforce.
Adding to the mix, the Prancing Horse also features a lightweight aluminium retractable hard top (RHT), which can extend or retract in just 14 seconds. The lightweight roof ensures that just 50kg is added to the weight of the original Speciale A, but also offers superior comfort which allows a normal conversation to carry on with speeds in excess of a claimed 200km/h.
Looking to the future
A fitting tribute then, to the 458 italia. The Ferrari won, in various different set ups, classic endurance races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. The Ferrari 458 Speciale A acts as a hurrah to the naturally aspirated engine, with next generation Ferraris set to receive a turbocharged powerplant not dissimilar to the current California T.
As much as it may mark the end of the 458, one of the most successful supercars of all time, the on-board technology of the Speciale A signals towards the future and what exciting technology may make its way on to the next Ferrari models.