2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A is Drop-Top Dynamite
It used to be that one of the first rules of building a super-hardcore, track day special of a sports car was to start with a fixed-roof coupe bodystyle; targas and convertibles were no-nos, thanks to their inferior structural stiffness. But lately, it seems like that rule is becoming rather flexible (No pun intended.). Ferrari built a small quantity of Scuderi Spider 16Ms (basically a convertible version of the 430 Scuderia) near the end of the F430’s production run, and Chevrolet is not only selling the new Corvette Z06 with the regular C7 Stingray coupe’s removable roof panel, but it’s also offering it in roadster form for the first time in more than a half century. Now Ferrari is getting back in the game with the beast you see here.
The 2015 458 Speciale A (The A stands for aperta, an Italian word for “open.”) is, as the name suggests, a derivative of the 458 Speciale coupe. It utilizes the same downforce-adding fascias, side skirts and other body panels, and is available with a similar racing stripe applied along its skyward-facing face. The interior is similarly de-contented for the purpose of weight-reduction, and the upgraded un-boosted soprano of a 4.5L V8 (rated at 597 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft of torque) and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission are likewise borrowed from the berlinetta. Really, the only major change is that folding aluminum hardtop, which takes the same time to raise and lower (14 seconds) and adds a modest 110 lbs. to the car’s overall mass.
As a result, the 458 Speciale A is a tenth of a second slower to 62 mph than its enclosed sister, meaning you’ll have to wait exactly 3 seconds to reach that speed. No word on max speed, but there is word on how many (or rather, how few) of these thing are going to be built: Just 499, and apparently the company’s best customers and most prolific collectors have dibs. That’s the bad news; the good news is the 458 Speciale A and the Corvette Z06 Roadster might be enough to goad Porsche into finally building a 911 GT3 Cabriolet (Seriously, with mandatory PDK, electric power steering and a non-Mezger engine, the current 991-based GT3 is already dead to a good many Porschephiles anyway…).