2011 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider

2011 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider

The next couple of years are going to be tremendously busy for Ferrari as the automaker, already at record sales levels, prepares for the launch of a raft of new models.

The first of these will be the long-awaited 458 Spider, the convertible version of the stunning 458 Italia supercar and most likely the hotter of the two. That’s because the car is tipped to receive a new automated folding hard-top in lieu of its predecessor’s canvas soft-top, giving owner’s the best of both worlds.

It’s scheduled to make its debut at this September’s 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show before going on sale in Europe that same month. U.S. sales should start early next year.

The 458 Spider will get the same 570 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque 4.5-liter V-8 found in the hard-top, though could be slightly slower due to the extra weight required for its folding roof mechanism and chassis strengthening.

Due next year will be the replacements for the 599 GTB Fiorano and Enzo supercar. While we’ve seen spy shots of test mules for the 599 successor, not much is known about the car that will be Ferrari’s next flagship.

The Enzo successor is reportedly being called the F70 within Ferrari and is being tested with two very different powertrains. One option is a smaller twin-turbo V-8 engine said to be outputting around 700 horsepower and the other is a V-12 unit with an additional 50 to 100 horsepower.

While there were claims that Ferrari would go the V-8 route, it now looks as though the automaker will stick with a V-12 for its flagship. Expect plenty of active aerodynamics on this model and a significantly lighter curb weight than the already lithe Enzo.

Moving to 2013, Ferrari will launch a facelifted version of its California as well as the highly anticipated 458 Scuderia. This model will be quicker than the regular 458 Italia and will borrow a number of elements from the hardcore 458 Challenge race car.

Look for new gear ratios and a more tightly calibrated tune for the 458’s seven-speed dual clutch transmission. There should also be stiffer suspension, uprated brakes, stickier rubber and a lighter chassis--we can’t wait.

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