the 458 Speciale
was first shown at Frankfurt Ferrari has confirmed the Spider version will be unveiled at Paris next week. And the badge plucked out of the Maranello name-o-matic machine that gifted us 'LaFerrari'? Ferrari 458 Speciale A. That's A for Aperta says Ferrari, not because they wanted to call it the Speciale K but couldn't find any models in red swimsuits to pose with it on the show stand.
Without the roof you get a better view of this...
The last Ferrari to carry the same description was the limited edition
599 SA Aperta
, the name for the 458 version basically translating as the Ferrari 458 Special Open. Yup, definitely sounds better in Italian.
Unlike the Speciale the Speciale A will be a limited edition, restricted to just 499 cars and intended to celebrate what Ferrari describes as the "dazzling success" of race versions of the 458. Class wins at Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring and two WEC titles would, to be fair, make that a reasonable boast.
Technically it features the same 605hp and 446lb ft V8 as the existing Speciale, for which you'll hear few complaints given its charismatic combination of huge specific output, revs, noise and character. No turbos or hybrid assistance here. And in case you were in any doubt about the way it goes about its business note that peak torque is at 6,000rpm and you'll need 9,000rpm on the dial to get the full quota of Cavallino Rampante. Seems like only yesterday (...because it was only yesterday) we were asking whether chopping the roof off a hardcore supercar dilutes its focus but in the case of the Speciale A it seems there are few compromises and plenty of positives. Like being able to hear that screaming V8 in all its glory.
If you have to ask you're probably too late
The transition from coupe to spider adds just 50kg to the 1,290kg dry weight of the Speciale coupe and the Fiorano lap time of 1min 23.5sec for the Speciale A is identical. Likewise the 3.0-second 0-62 and 9.5-second 0-125mph times. As you'd expect Speciale tech like the nifty Side Slip Angle Control (SSC) and carbon-enhanced interior fittings are also carried over, the Speciale A also bearing its own interpretation of the blue and white NART stripes over its special triple-layer yellow paint.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed but given the press release says the car is "dedicated to just 499 Ferrari collectors" we're guessing you'll need more than a well-funded cheque book to guarantee your order. If your name's not down and all that. To tide you over while you wait for one to appear on the used market you could invest in the Speciale A's predecessor, the 430 Scuderia 16M, DK Engineering having one for sale in the PH Classifieds for £175K.
More on the car from Paris next week.