Ferrari has unveiled the F8 Spider, the new generation drop-top sports car equipped with the most successful mid-rear-mounted V8 in history. This Ferrari spider thus combines the characteristics of the most lauded 8-cylinder engine in history with unparalleled driving pleasure. The Ferrari F8 Spider was designed in parallel with the F8 Tributo berlinetta and features the Prancing Horse’s compact and efficient RHT (Retractable Hard Top) which influences the lines of a model that leads its category. The Ferrari F8 Spider is the latest addition to an exclusive and prestigious bloodline of open-top V8 cars begun with the 308 GTS in 1977. It is less extreme than the 488 Pista Spider, but sportier than the 488 Spider which it replaces in the range. This astonishing performance and the car’s disarmingly effortless handling were made possible by integrating a series of innovative, track-derived aero solutions into its design.
Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the F8 Spider continues the direction embarked upon with the F8 Tributo which acted as a bridge to a new design language that will continue to emphasise Ferrari’s key characteristics of high performance and extreme aerodynamic efficiency. The key to the whole design was the shifting of the separation line between the car’s body and the roof from its conventional position at the belt-line (occupant shoulder level) to above the B-pillar. The top itself is thus more compact and two-dimensional, with the result that it can be divided into two parts and stowed on top of the engine. When designing a spider, the choice of the top will always play a fundamental role in the car’s overall look. For some years now, Ferrari has been adopting a hard top because of the comfort it provides. As a result, the design of the Ferrari F8 Spider’s lines was crafted around its RHT (Retractable Hard Top). The RHT takes just 14 seconds to deploy or retract and can be closed or opened while the car is on the move up to 45 km/h.
Consequently, the F8 Spider sets a new benchmark for the “en plein air” sports car in terms of usable performance and exceptional handling, providing an incredibly rewarding driving experience. In fact, it excels in merging handling dynamics with surprising in-car comfort. The V8 has raised the performance bar to unprecedented new heights, not only for turbo engines but power units of all types. The engine is a development of the V8 that won the “International Engine of the Year Award” for four consecutive years (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019) and that was also selected as the best engine of the last two decades. An incredible feat unmatched in the history of the Awards. The Ferrari F8 Spider’s greatest achievement is the fact that it unleashes its power instantaneously with zero turbo lag, whilst retaining this V8’s unique and very special soundtrack. The F8 Spider replaces the 488 Spider and improves on all aspects of its specifications: aside from the fact that its engine delivers an extra 50 cv, the new Ferrari is 20 kg lighter than its predecessor.
The V8’s technical specifications are truly exceptional. The 3902 cc unit unleashes 720 cv at 8,000 rpm and also has an impressive specific power output of 185 cv/l. Its maximum torque is now higher at all engine speeds, peaking at 770 Nm at 3,250 rpm. These include a new version of the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE+) which can now be activated in the manettino’s RACE position, a move designed to make performance on the limit easier to reach and control. Today, Ferrari V8s incorporate solutions so refined they are effectively masterpieces of engineering. To achieve the 50 cv increase in power compared to the 488 Spider, the new intake line is derived directly from the 488 Challenge. In the Ferrari F8 Spider, the air intakes have been moved from the flanks to the rear where they are located on either side of the blown spoiler and are directly connected to the intake plenums. This drastically reduces losses and ensures greater air flow to the engine, thereby increasing the power. The air flow also benefits from increased dynamic pressure created by the shape of the rear spoiler.
Adaptive Performance Launch analyses grip as the car accelerates and then uses electronic controls to optimise the torque delivered to suit the road’s grip level, reducing wheel slip to a minimum which, in turn, maximises acceleration. The F8 Spider’s engine also inherits highly efficient weight-reduction solutions from the 488 Pista which have cut the power unit’s weight by 18 kg compared to that of the 488 Spider. Reducing the weight of rotating and non-static masses, such as the titanium con-rods, crankshaft and flywheel, allows engine speed to rise very rapidly, so much so that the driver can see the rev counter needle flying, particularly in rapid transitions, such as gear shifting and scorching low-gear acceleration, making the car feel even sportier still. These reductions in the weight of the rotating masses yield a 17% reduction in inertia. Inconel exhaust manifolds derived from the 488 Challenge alone contribute 9.7 kg to the lighter engine weight.
Overall performance levels are significantly higher than those of the 488 Spider, thanks to the increase in power, weight reduction and improved aerodynamic coefficient. That performance is also now accessible to a larger number of drivers thanks to vehicle dynamics systems that make driving on the limit an easier and more confidence-inspiring experience. These include a steering wheel with a smaller-diameter rim and the introduction of the new Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer Plus into the integrated SSC concept, now in 6.1 guise. To achieve their goal of making the car’s impressive performance easy to access and control, Ferrari’s engineers worked on integrating engine and aerodynamics performance with the latest iteration of the vehicle dynamics control systems. The Side Slip Control system, which improves drivers’ control on the limit for an even more engaging behind the wheel, has been further evolved. The transition from version 6.0 to 6.1 reflects the fact that the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer system (FDE+) now also activates in the Race position of the manettino.
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