Ferrari 458 2015
The “A” in the new Ferrari 458 Speciale A’s name doesn’t stand for “awesome,” but it could. The “A” actually is for Aperta, the Italian word for “open.” Based, of course, on the 458 Italia, this version of the 458 Spider gets the same special upgrades as the transcendent Speciale coupe.
That means 597 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque from the naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V-8—it hasn’t gone turbocharged yet—making it the most powerful spider ever to emerge from Maranello. The power increase comes courtesy of a 14:1 compression ratio, a new manifold and airbox rendered from carbon fiber, higher lift for both the intake and exhaust valves, new pistons, and reworked intake runners and ports. The gearbox is a revised seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with shifts so quick that they could bend both space and time.
The Speciale A sports an aluminum lid that retracts or raises in just 14 seconds; the price paid for the deployable roof is 110 additional pounds to cart around. Even so, Ferrari estimates that the car will rocket to 62 mph in three seconds flat, but we’d likely be able to break into the twos in a 0-to-60 run with our equipment aboard.
Other carry-overs ported from the fixed-top Speciale include Side Slip Angle Control, the lines of code for which were developed in part for the LaFerrari mega-ultra-hypercar. It aims to measure the car’s slip angle in real time, then adjust the electronic rear differential and stability control based on what it determines to be the optimum slip angle. (Learn more about how it works, as well as myriad suspension, steering, and other chassis upgrades, in our 458 Speciale first drive.)
The A also gets the 458 Speciale’s advanced aerodynamic features, including a flap ahead of the front fascia’s Ferrari logo that sends air under the car to create more rear downforce at high speeds. Spring-loaded doors up front open above 105 mph to divert air from the radiators and through vanes at the corners of the car.