When I saw the 458 Italia in the flesh I said to myself, ‘now that is a car I must own before I die’. It could be the most beautiful automobile of the 21st century and now there’s a convertible.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have always been a solid believer that convertibles are for 50 year old divorced men who have re-mortgaged their homes to appeal to women young enough to be their daughter. But, that’s because we always read about the convertible versions of cars losing their poignancy. Cars like the original DB9 and even the DBS, that suffered from the lose of rigidity in the roof and unintentionally became GT cruisers for elderly couples. Everything I’ve read about the Spider couldn’t be further from what I have just described, to the point where critics have preferred the Spider to the hard top and that excites me.
Apparently a convertible version of the 458 was always part of the product plan so the chassis was designed for the hard top that wouldn’t be compromised with the loss of the roof. So like Bam Magera if you really wanted to you could cut the top off and make your very own targa version if you couldn’t be bothered waiting till this one hits the Australian shores.
Just quickly on the specs, the engine of the 458 Italia Spider is the same 4.5-liter V8 engine from the hard-top version you may have seen sitting outside the Blu hotel in Woolloomoolloo with the number plat JASA 1. The output remains at 570 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 400 lb/ft of torque at 6,000 rpm controlled by a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and electronic differential. Down to business, it’ll do 0-100 in less than 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 318 km/h which is obviously astonishingly quick.
The undressing takes a mere 14 seconds, which means you can drop it at the lights out the front of Beach Burrito and yell out to the table of 10’s sitting out the front. Top down or up, the draft stopping safety glass slides down between the deck buttresses (essentially the rear window) and channels the snarling V8 straight into your ear drums. Apprently, and I can’t back this up from experience, the hard top looses this to some extent.
All I know is I followed the hard top version from Paddingtion to Woolloomoolloo and as I drove around the bottom bend on Wylde St with the windows down and the stereo off I watched the Italia chug ever so slightly as the gear dropped and the rev’s jumped above 4000rpm. The valve in the three-pipe exhaust opened up and barked the most ferocious and orgasmic noise I’d ever heard. Now, if it’s that good and I wasn’t even in the car, I cannot imagine what it’s like with the engine sitting right behind you completely unobstructed.
Hopefully this will be the car that gives convertibles a new reputation, all I know is, it looks amazing, it obviously sounds amazing and if I had $700,000 to spend, I wouldn’t be getting a Platinum Patek Phillipe Minute Repeater…..i’d obviously buy the car.