Ferrari SF90 Spider revealed

1,000hp hybrid gets folding hard top – and no performance sacrifice

By Sam Sheehan / Thursday, November 12, 2020

Ferrari has lopped the roof off its 1,000hp hybrid hypercar to create the new SF90 Spider, its fastest and most potent series production convertible yet – and a car that, on paper at least, is identical in performance to the coupe. Ferrari has opted to give its SF90 a folding hard top rather than fabric roof because the former “does not deform at high speed”, which is handy in a hypercar capable of reaching 124mph in seven seconds and a 211mph top speed.

To help ensure all of that, engineers have created a roof mechanism that makes prevalent use of aluminium, so it’s claimed to be around 40kg lighter than a conventional retractable hard top. For those wanting better access to the tune of the SF90’s 770hp 4.0-litre V8 without the full hair dryer effect, the roof has a window at the back than can be electrically lowered. Alternatively, the whole roof takes 14 seconds to be lowered and it works on the move up to a limited speed.

Engineers haven’t created a whole new top for the SF90 but rather evolved the reclining mechanism that was first introduced on the 2011 458 Spider. Thanks to modifications, it now only takes up 100 litres of space when down, almost half what earlier Ferrari systems required. And due to the lighter weight components, it has a smaller impact on the car’s balance – something we know from first-hand experience that the Ferrari has by the bag load. It’s not far off the ferocity of a LaFerrari, but with four fewer cylinders at its heart – and an uncapped production run.

Ferrari isn’t marketing the Spider as the softer car than the coupe, either, because it’s offering the full range of performance upgrades (we say upgrades in a relative sense, given the insanity of the base), including the Assetto Fiorano pack. As with the coupe, it adds components such as Multimatic dampers borrowed from Ferrari’s GT racing cars, uses more carbonfibre and titanium in the car’s features to shave 21kg off its weight, and adds a carbonfibre rear spoiler and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. The Spider even comes with the same optionable Assetto Fiorano two-tone livery, should a buyer want it.

As for the SF90 Spider’s aerodynamic design, it’s said to be practically unaffected by the new roof, with the same shut-off Gurney at the rear, an active system that varies the downforce over the rear axle, and underbody vortex generator strakes all present and correct. Even the forged wheels each have a wing profile. It means the Spider produces up to 390kg of downforce at 155mph, when the most sporting Assetto Fiorano pack is added. That’s exactly the same as the coupe. The Spider laps Fiorano in 1:19.5, just half a second slower than the fixed top car.

Impressive, although that slight difference in laptime does suggest the inevitable: that a little extra weight and, we presume, a little reduction in torsional rigidity has lowered outright performance a tad. Physics are physics, after all. But if there’s a car in Ferrari’s range that’s going to be able to mask any perceivable loss in these departments, it’s the be all-wheel drive, 1,000hp hybrid one. We’ve high expectations, put it that way. As for when you can get into one, UK details for the drop-top SF90 are to be confirmed. But given that the coupe starts at £376,048, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Spider’s list is nudging the £400k mark. It'll fit right in at the bottom of our best convertibles to buy in 2020 list, then…

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