The Ferrari 458 Speciale needs little introduction. It’s the current king of supercar-dom, mixing a hyper-responsive chassis with a gorgeous wailing 4.5-litre V8. It won the 2014 evo Car of the Year test as a result and has remained our pick of a very strong bunch.
But what happens when the roof gets chopped off? You get the Ferrari 458 Speciale A (short for Aperta). Instead of turning the Speciale all soft and heavy however, the topless Fezza feels seriously taught, whilst the electric folding hard top adds just 50kg to the regular Speciale’s 1395kg kerbweight.
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That means performance is essentially unaffected, with the 0-62mph sprint taking 3sec (like the fixed top) and 0-124mph taking just 9.5sec, just four tenths slower than the normal Speciale.
The main advantages of the Speciale A come from the increased exposure to the available 9,000rpm of Italian V8. It’s much, much louder than the standard 458 Spider, but that volume only matches the Speciale’s loud character.
It almost feels like a racing car for the road with it’s hyper-alert steering and super-quick seven-speed dual clutch ‘box, so the angry wail of that naturally aspirated V8 sounds just right as it blows through those girthy twin exit exhausts.
Just like the hard top Speciale, the A arms your right foot with 597bhp and 398lb ft of torque, so you can understand why evo’s Jethro Bovingdon might have been a little nervous to explore the upper ends of the rev band in a heavy Italian shower.
Such are the strengths of the Speciale’s underlying setup however, even with the roof down in torrential downpour, Jethro finds himself playing with that adjustable chassis almost instantly, dancing Ferrari's limited-run drop-top through winding Italian roads to illustrate its fantastic balance and grin-stretching throttle response.
Ride onboard in our especially moist video above to see why not even Mother Nature’s worst can dampen the Ferrari 458 Speciale A...