2011 Ferrari 458 Italia SpiderEnlarge Photo
The Ferrari 458 Italia Spider is not yet reality, but it has been confirmed by Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo, and already it's the subject of speculation on fan forums. The topic of conversation? The possibility of a folding hardtop roof.
The Ferrari California was the first Prancing Horse to sport a folding hard top. A soft top was chosen for the F430 Spider and its high-performance Scuderia 16M variant to save weight and stow compactly in order to keep the engine visible at all times, top up or down. Adding a hardtop to the 458 Italia could frustrate those goals.
On the other hand, a folding hardtop adds a level of security and comfort a soft top can't deliver. A hardtop can also better preserve the lines of a car when it's up--no small consideration for an image-obsessed marque like Ferrari. It would also make sense of the images spied back in 2008 of a hardtop-equipped F430 Spider. In the past, a folding hardtop hasn't been a primary concern for its performance-focused models, instead favoring the space and weight savings of the soft top.
The California's decidedly more relaxed demeanor wears the hardtop well, however, and Ferrari could always skip the folding hardtop in favor of a soft top for a Scuderia version of the 458 Italia Spider.
As for us, we'd be fine with a hardtop, provided it stows away without significantly compromising space and without obscuring the gorgeous 4.5-liter, 570-horsepower V-8 in the middle. What do you think? Will Ferrari give the Italia Spider a hardtop? Or should it stick with the soft top? Let us know in the comments below.