Like clockwork, Ferrari introduced a retractable hardtop version of its the new 488 supercar at the Frankfurt auto show. The company says the folding hardtop is super-lightweight, folds quickly and still keeps the noise and elements out.
The 488 Spider works with the same 3.9-liter turbocharged V8 as the coupe, making 660 hp at 8,000 rpm and 560 lb-ft of torque. That’s good for a 0-62-mph sprint of 3 seconds and a blast to 124 mph in 8.7. Power is sent rearward through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to Ferrari’s Variable Torque Management system and then on to the wheels.
There’s no turbo lag with the 3.9, according to Ferrari. This is accomplished via turbos on ball-bearing-mounted shafts to reduce friction, compressor wheels made from TiAl (an aluminum alloy) and by using a twin-scroll system, which directs exhaust gases through separate scrolls and increases the pressure of the exhaust pulses for more power.
Ferrari’s claimed focus is maximum efficiency with the new V8. Intake ports are shaped to optimize airflow, and the engine has an ion-sensing system that measures air currents to control ignition timing and a multi-spark feature that enables the spark advance to be maximized. The oil pump can vary its pressure, reducing power requirements, while the cylinder heads with roller-finger followers reduce the power absorbed by the valvetrain 10 percent. A flat-plane crank reduces mass and improves balance.
Air flow is always a concern for Ferrari engineers. The front of the 488 Spider features a central pillar and double spoiler. The spoiler has a top section that’s designed to manage airflow to the radiator, while the lower section generates suction under the car. The underbody features curved aerodynamic appendages that accelerate air and reduce pressure, which increases downforce but not drag -- a key when designing aerodynamic supercars. The rear diffuser also does its part, optimizing the air flowing under the car and boosting downforce. The adjustable rear diffuser can adjust the balance between increased downforce and reduced drag.
The hardtop retracts and unfolds in just 14 seconds (that's three seconds faster than the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder) and takes up just 100 liters, or about 3.5 cubic feet, as opposed to nearly double that for a conventional hardtop, according to Ferrari. Using aluminum on the top and a simple folding mechanism, the company says it realized weight savings of about 88 pounds over a traditional hard top and about 55 pounds over a soft top. Curb weight is just 3,362 pounds.
The 488 Spider gets Ferrari’s Side Slip Angle Control system (version two), which is said to be more precise and less invasive than that last. It provides 12 percent faster longitudinally out of corners than the 458 Spider. It integrates with the car's stability control and its E-Differential. It also controls the active magnetic dampers, flattening the car even more in fast corners and with changes of direction. A new Brembo braking system, borrowed from the LaFerrari, shortens stopping distances 9 percent.
Inside, the steering wheel holds most of the controls; others are stationed in pods angled toward the driver. The central tunnel features a Prancing Horse logo and has a storage compartment, “which allows small items to be hidden from prying eyes when the car is parked with the top down.” The Spider also comes with Apple CarPlay and a new version of Ferrari's infotainment system.
The Ferrari 488 Spider goes on sale in the first half of 2016 with an approximate price of $270,000.
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