The new Ferrari 458 Spider is an obvious, and inevitable, extension of the 458 Italia sports car range. Ferrari has always offered a fresh-air alternative to the junior V8 and we all knew it was coming.
But the lack of surprise didn't stop the tongues drooling and eyes goggling when we clapped eyes on the new 458 Spider ahead of its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.
The Italia remains our favourite junior supercar, having swept the board at the 2010 Performance Car of the Year test and fought off a challenge from the McLaren MP4-12C. And we fancy now it'll sound even better, with less sound deadening between your ears and the 4499cc flat-plan crank V8 and its angry 562bhp at nine thousand rpm.
Ferrari 458 Spider: the detailsInterestingly, the 458 roadster is the first mid-engined supercar in the world to offer a folding hard top. Sadly, no photographs are available of the flop-atop roof yet - they're saving that for the Frankfurt show.
The all-aluminium roof will roll out from below the flying buttresses; we presume there will be a pop-up rear glass window too. The metal hood is 25kg lighter than a canvas roof, says Ferrari, and it'll take 14 seconds to flick between coupe and convertible.
It's said to be compact, too: Ferrari says there is a small luggage bench behind the front seats to carry a few bags.
How fast is the new Ferrari 458 Spider?Pretty rapid, as you expect. Maranello claims a top end beyond 198mph and 0-62mph in less than 3.4 seconds. Not that economy will be top of your priorities, but the combined average - thanks to stop-start - stands at 24mpg and CO2 is 275g/km.
That lightweight roof is interesting, trimming the penalty for going al fresco in a Ferrari: Ferrari says the Spider's dry weight is 1430kg, compared to 1380kg for the Italia coupe.
And the 458 Spider isn't the only new 458 on the horizon; we reported recently that a Scuderia successor will arrive in 2012.