Prancing Horse Passion continues…
“Faint heart ne’re won fair lady…to the victor belongs the spoils…he who hesitates is lost…”
The Prancing Steed kicked the starting gate open once again. Vivacious, energetic, youthful, and extremely powerful is the 2015 Ferrari 458 Spider. It has received distinguished accolades and rave reviews since its inception from leading automotive journalists. The naturally aspirated V8 engine itself has received awards for its design and performance. It is the very first sports car of its kind with a fully retractable hardtop.
The 458 Spider – just as its siblings the 458 Italia and the 458 Speciale – is designed with aerodynamic architecture that slices through the atmosphere reducing drag, maintaining stability, and generating maximum downforce. The Prancing Horse topless is a most sensual driving experience. It is a rolling collage of F1-inspired technology. Legendary Ferrari power, presence, and extreme performance are just a tap of the accelerator away –
The 458 Spider was introduced officially at the September 2011 Frankfurt International Motor Show. Both coupe and Spider versions received over 50 awards world-wide. Just a few of the many accolades it received includes “Best Imported Cabrio of 2011” by the German magazine “Auto Zeitung,” and June 2013 by German publication “Sport Auto” for best cabrio in the over £150,000 category. The car’s engine alone won two consecutive years for “International Engine of the Year.” It was dethroned in 2013…ONLY coming in 2nd place for the “Best Performance Engine in the Over 4 litre” category. Guess who came in 1st place? The formidable Ferrari 6.3 litre V12 from the F12berlinetta…which is just ‘shameful’ right? Naughty!
Ferrari 458 Spider
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Speciale
Its sibling model, the 458 Italia continues to attract world acclaim…it received five major awards shortly after its launch. The 458 range includes the Italia, Spider, and the extreme 458 Speciale. Make sure to read my article on the 458 Speciale and the rest of the Prancing Horses from the Scuderia stables. The 4.5 litre V8 has established itself as the benchmark in the sports car segment. It raised the bar of success even higher for the rest of the industry…well, they at least have to catch up first –
The Prancing Horse has already proven that it can huff & puff & blow the competition’s house down. This one does it topless displaying its virility. The 458 Spider is powered by the naturally aspirated Ferrari Tipo F136 4.5 litre 32-valve V8 engine. The mid-rear mounted V8 produces 570 hp @ 9,000 rpm with 540 Nm of peak torque at 6,000 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 6.9 seconds with a top speed of 208 mph. It can do the ¼ mile @ 130 mph in 11.2 seconds. Power is transferred to the road via F1-inspired dual-clutch 7-speed electrohydraulic transmission.
The engine uses a dry sump system as its medium for lubrication. Helping to reduce internal friction, the engine is equipped with two scavenge pumps. Two pick-up oil from the cylinder heads, also the front & rear of the engine via oil recovery ducts outside the crankcase. The remaining two retrieve oil from below the crank throws. The recovery ducts outside the crankcase creates a strong 800 millebar vacuum around the crankshaft.
This also helps to reduce windage from the pumping sequence of the pistons. The engine oil pressure pump is smaller featuring variable displacement geometry reducing the amount of power available to the crankshaft for the same fuel consumption. It also prevents oil from splashing out of the sump onto the crankshaft which reduces power. The oil is the life of the engine; therefore extra measures such as these are necessary for the extra high-performance of this Prancing Steed –
Ferrari uses continuously variable timing on both intake and exhaust phases. The aluminium intake manifold and its design optimizes volumetric efficiency throughout the rev range. Three pneumatic throttle valves are integrated into the center of the intake between the two plenums. Engine mappings provide four different configurations of the valves for maximum torque values during all revs.
This is the first Ferrari to use direct injection on a mid-rear mounted engine. This powerful V8 sips less fuel emitting less pollutants. The use of GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) with split injection refines performance by modulating the injection into two phases. It increases combustion efficiency and torque at low revs up to 5 percent. With 200 bar high-injection pressure, it offers an efficient lean-burn with optimal air/fuel mixture up to 9,000 rpm.
The Vehicle Dynamic Assistance monitors the operation of the engine, transmission, tires, and brakes. It is enabled via steering wheel mounted manettino. Three settings are available to fine tune the 458 Spider to the driver’s taste: RACE, CT off, and CST off. It provides visual confirmation as it reads lateral and longitudinal acceleration, revs, and speed. Algorithms define the parameters set to alert the driver to the status of WARM-UP, (operating temperature too low), GO (ideal operating temperature), and OVER (one or more components no longer at peak performance and need cooling).
An ECU (electronic control unit) manages both F1-trac traction control and E-Diff electronic differential. They are integrated into suspension dynamics. The ECU also governs the high-performance ABS. It offers precise control over the logic threshold with greater efficiency. The brakes feature a prefill function that moves the pistons in the calipers moving the pads closer to the discs upon lift-off, minimizing a delay in braking response time. The ABS combined with the prefill function reduces braking distance.
The 458 Spider is equipped with a Brembo Carbon Ceramic braking system. Its four-wheel discs are fade-free designed for performance. Rotors, calipers, and pads are all extremely heavy-duty, with this type of power, the 458 Spider must be adequately equipped for the mission. Brembo high-performance products combined with F1-inspired technology makes this Prancing Steed mind its manners. The pads are made from a hybrid material that provides improved heat dissipation. Special channels in the architecture also aid heat dissipation which is crucial in extreme driving situations. This results in shorter stopping distances without any compromise in performance under severe use.
The 458 Spider is another successful collaboration between Ferrari and Pininfarina. This elegant cabrio was designed in a wind tunnel. Its aerodynamic efficiency battles cross winds, reduces drag effectively, and increases the car’s downforce. It is built with a lower center of gravity which is important to an open tourer. Its structural integrity was also modified to increase its torsional strength and rigidity.
The front of the 458 Spider is designed with apertures for air induction to cool components and increase downforce. The rear of the car’s roof line increase air flow to the engine intakes, and the clutch & gearbox oil radiators. The suspension’s anti-lift and anti-squat geometry combined with its aerodynamic wind-cheating design optimizes overall performance and augments fuel economy. Both the 458 Spider and the 458 Italia has become two of the most requested models in the history of the iconic Prancing Horse and it’s easy to see why.
The 458 Spider has a unique inward folding hardtop that stows away in just 14 seconds. It is made of aluminium and designed to be fully integrated into the car’s architecture. It is stored just in front of the engine. To accommodate parcels, there is space behind the seats. This fully retractable hardtop is a world first for a sports car of this kind. The rear windscreen doubles as an aero wind-stop and is electronically operated. With the top folded away, the wind-stop opens to the height that provides the most efficient aerodynamics to reduce buffeting in the cabin. The hardtop operates quietly and is thermally efficient when closed. The 458 Spider continues the proud heritage of the legendary Ferrari mid-engine V8 convertibles.
The cabin is sporty and comfortably upholstered in leather. It is designed to fit like a glove. Ergonomics highlight its versatility. The most important controls are mounted to the steering wheel. The driver/car interface is paramount. It is imperative to operate this Prancing Horse properly…it is a supercar with indomitable spirit, which must be under control at all times. This is why all pertinent controls are highly visible at a glance with satellite pods on both sides of the dash opposite the steering wheel right in the driver’s focal point.
The 458 Spider is built as body on frame construction. The chassis incorporates various types of advanced alloys combined with aerospace industry-inspired bonding techniques. Its suspension features twin wishbones in the front and a multi-link set-up in the rear. The suspension is tuned for maximum road holding and superb handling. The 458 Spider has a more direct steering ratio which offers extremely rapid turn-in and body control further refining ride comfort.
The 458 Spider is another contemporary work of automotive art, and another highly successful design collaboration between Ferrari Centro Stile and Pininfarina. Its aerodynamic architecture efficiently battles crosswinds reducing drag and creating maximum downforce. The powerful 4.5 litre V8 engine is the first rear-mid mounted powerplant with direct injection. The 458 Spider has received many accolades from the automotive industry since its inception. This Prancing Steed kicks the starting gate open to huff & puff & blow the competition’s doors off – A Ferrari is a car to express one’s individuality. It’s a supercar for those who accomplished much and accomplished it on their own terms. Those terms are unconditional, where fervent individuality is a lifestyle –
Luca di Montezemolo…the retired CEO who led Ferrari for 23 years…God Bless Him!
Photos courtesy Ferrari Media Club
The iconic Prancing Horse…long may it reign!