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Monday, September 29, 2014

Ferrari reveals a topless 458 Speciale for 499 shrewd investors


Ferrari 458 Speciale A
It has been said that driving doesn't get any better than when behind the wheel of the $298,000, 596-hp Ferrari 458 Speciale. Only now it does, as a topless version has surfaced promising to make that driving experience even more evocative still.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale A ("A" standing for "Aperta" which in turns stands for "open" in Italian) remains mechanically identical to the hardtop Speciale, and is set to be revealed in person at the Paris auto show. The 4.5-liter V-8, revving to 9,000 rpm, still lurks behind the driver, and the same reworked 7-speed dual-clutch transmission routes that power to the rear wheels.

What has changed is the folding roof -- which it does in just 14 seconds. Naturally such a feature adds weight, and along with the various strengthening devices needed to keep the Speciale A rigid under cornering load, it tips the scales around 110 lbs. heavier than the hardtop. That said, it remains almost 200 lbs. lighter than the regular 458 Spider, which it beats handily in a drag race to 62 mph, completing the run 0.4 seconds faster in 3.0 seconds.

Only 499 Speciale As will be produced, making it as rare as it is beautiful. Part of its beauty derives from a racing-inspired paintwork with blue-tinted carbon fiber winglets, as well as blue-tinted Alcantara seats. These options are specific to what may be the final 458 of its kind.

We're expecting the super car's successor to feature a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8, like in the new California T. And while that engine does a wonderful job of masking its lower revs and turbo lag, there's no denying that you miss those final moments where the engine screams to its 9,000 rpm red line. The Speciale A might be the last we see of this glorious engine, which should make 499 buyers mighty pleased with their investment.