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Ferrari 458 Speciale: Yellow, but far from mellow

Ferrari is busy wowing Paris Motor Show-goers with Ferrari 458 Speciale A, a supercar that combines utterly mental performance with wind in your hair cruising and a bright yellow paintjob.

The 458 Speciale A has an aluminium retractable roof that takes 14 seconds to open and close and takes up 100 litres of boot space ─ 150 to 200 litres less space than a conventional hard-top, so says Ferrari. The use of aluminium helps the 458 Speciale A weigh only 50kg more than the coupe.

Not that weight is too much of an issue when you have a thunderous 4.5-litre naturally aspirated V8 at your disposal. Power is 594bhp and torque is 540Nm, both of which help propel the 458 Special A from 0 to 62mph in just three seconds and then onto some absurd top speed around 200mph.

Supposedly the cabin is quiet enough for a conversation with the roof down at more than 120mph as the rear windows open to an optimal height to ensure there’s no ‘vortex creation’ around your back or neck ─ the exact level determined by using a wind tunnel.

Ferrari has given the 458 Speciale A Side Slip Angle Control (SSC for short), a system that uses an algorithm to work out and deliver the optimal amount of engine torque to the two driven wheels. This is the technology’s first outing. There’s also an improved F1 transmission gear-shift control.

A lot of work has gone into making the 458 Speciale A the most aerodynamic spider Ferrari has ever built, with a drag efficient of Cd 0.355. Two vertical flaps remain closed until 170km/h, at which point they open to reduce drag. At 220km/h one flap lowers to shift downforce towards the rear.

20-inch forged alloy wheels save 12kg of weight compared with the 458 Spider. Braking technology borrowed from the LaFerrari hypercar – comprised Extreme Design calipers and HT2 discs – is said to reduce stopping distance by 8 per cent. Unique Michelin Pilort Sport Cup2 tyres complete the package.

All of the fine-tuning gives the 458 Speciale A a lap time of 1:23.5 around Ferrari’s Fiorano test circuit. That’s 3.5 seconds slower than the Ferrari LaFerrari and 2.5 seconds slower than the F12 Berlinetta. A Ferrari Enzo is 1.5 seconds slower.

Just 499 cars will be built so it will be unlikely you will see one in the flesh. It’s also unlikely you can afford one, although Ferrari is yet to announce an exact price price. As the saying goes, if sir or madam has to ask…

Ferrari 458 Speciale A pictures


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