Ferrari has lopped the roof off its 1,000hp hybrid hypercar to create the new SF90 Spider, its fastest and most potent series production convertible yet – and a car that, on paper at least, is identical in performance to the coupe. Ferrari has opted to give its SF90 a folding hard top rather than a fabric roof because the former “does not deform at high speed”, which is handy in a hypercar capable of reaching 124mph in seven seconds and a 211mph top speed.
To help ensure all of that, the engineers have created a roof mechanism that makes prevalent use of aluminium, so it’s claimed to be around 40kg lighter than a conventional retractable hard top. For those wanting better access to the soundtrack of the SF90’s 770hp 4.0-litre V8 without the full hair dryer effect, the roof has a window at the back which can be electrically lowered. Alternatively, the whole roof takes 14 seconds to lower and works on the move up to a limited speed.
The engineers haven’t created a whole new hood for the SF90 but rather evolved the reclining mechanism that was first introduced on the 2011 458 Spider. Thanks to various modifications, it now only takes up 100 litres of space when down, almost half the volume that earlier Ferrari systems required. And due to lighter components, it has a smaller impact on the car’s balance – something we know from first-hand experience that the Ferrari has in spades. It’s not far off the ferocity of a LaFerrari, but with four fewer cylinders at its heart – and an uncapped production run.
Ferrari isn’t marketing the Spider as the softer version, either. It offers the full range of performance upgrades (we say upgrades in a relative sense, given the insanity of the base), including the Assetto Fiorano pack. As with the coupe, it adds components such as Multimatic dampers borrowed from Ferrari’s GT racing cars, uses more carbon fibre and titanium to shave 21kg off its kerbweight, and adds a carbon fibre rear spoiler and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. The Spider even comes with the same optionable Assetto Fiorano two-tone livery, should a buyer want it.
As for the SF90 Spider’s aerodynamic design, it’s said to be practically unaffected by the new roof, with the same shut-off Gurney at the rear, an active system that varies the downforce over the rear axle, as well as underbody vortex generator strakes. Even the forged wheels each have a wing profile. It means the Spider produces up to 390kg of downforce at 155mph, when the most sporting Assetto Fiorano pack is added. That’s exactly the same as the coupe. The Spider laps Fiorano in 1:19.5, just half a second slower than the fixed top car.
Impressive, although that slight difference in laptime does suggest the inevitable: that a little extra weight has lowered outright performance a tad. Physics are physics, after all. But if there’s a car in Ferrari’s lineup that’s going to mask any perceivable loss in these departments, it’s the all-wheel drive, 1,000hp hybrid one. We’ve high expectations, put it that way. As for when you can get into one, UK details for the drop-top SF90 are yet to be confirmed. But given that the coupe starts at £376,048, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Spider’s list is nudging the £400k mark. It'll fit right in at the bottom of our best convertibles to buy in 2020 list, then...
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