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by Tim Beissmann

The boss of Ferrari Australasia has labelled the Ferrari 458 Speciale A “the most hotly contested special edition in Ferrari’s history” after the local division had to turn away more than half of those eager to secure one of the $635,000 before on-road costs convertible supercars.

Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth told CarAdvice that Australia’s 458 Speciale A allocation was only enough to satisfy 40 per cent of demand.

Global production of the 458 Speciale A – which was unveiled at October’s Paris motor show – has been capped at 499 units, making the hardcore version of the 458 Spider just as exclusive as the LaFerrari hypercar.

Appleroth would not reveal exactly how many 458 Speciale A convertibles had been purchased by Australian customers, though he did confirm the total number was in double figures.

He said the first cars were on track to be delivered in February.

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The Ferrari 458 Speciale A (the ‘A’ stands for ‘aperta’, which means ‘open’ in Italian) is effectively a folding-roof version of the 458 Speciale hardtop.

The duo is powered by Ferrari’s most powerful naturally aspirated V8 – the 4.5-litre unit churning out 445kW and 540Nm, channelled to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Tipping the scales at 1340 kilograms (just 50kg more than the coupe), the open-air model matches the fixed-roof Speciale’s 3.0-second 0-100km/h sprint and 1 minute 23.5 second lap time around the company’s Fiorano test circuit.

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As with the 458 Speciale, the Speciale A gets louvre vents near the headlights, a more aggressive front bumper and air intakes, winged side sills, rear diffuser and five-spoke forged alloy wheels, along with lashings of carbonfibre throughout the cabin.

The retractable aluminium roof takes 14 seconds to either open or close.

Partially explaining its unprecedented popularity is the fact the 458 Speciale A appears likely to be something of the last of its kind. The naturally aspirated model is set to be succeeded at March’s Geneva motor show by an updated 458 powered by an uprated version of the twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 from the California T.

The engine produces 412kW and 755Nm in the entry-level convertible, but could reportedly be tweaked to pump out up to 500kW for the updated 458.




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