by Deiondre van der Merwe
Which performance enthusiast doesn't remember Ferrari dropping that YouTube video in 2016? You know, the one with Sebastian Vettel cruising around the city in a drop-top LaFerrari, attracting the attention of anyone with functioning eyesight? We saw him switch from easy driving in the streets to hammering Maranello's fastest convertible around the track and having the time of his life. Well, he wasn't just putting it on for marketing. The Aperta easily switches from highway cruiser to track weapon, and there's a whole lot to love about the exclusive Italian supercar. Smashing a 0-60 mph run in well under three seconds is just one of them, and its arrogant personality is another. It snarls in the face of revered rivals like the Lamborghini Centenario Roadster and the Porsche 918 Spyder, but will it win the fight?
Debuted in 2016 at the Paris Auto Show, the limited LaFerrari made way for an even more exclusive version with an open top, and the Aperta was born. It's a Ferrari symbolic of firsts and lasts, the former being that it's the first one to experiment with a hybrid powertrain and the latter being that it's the last to host a mid-mounted V12 to get the wheels turning.
6.3-liter V12 Hybrid
7-Speed Dual Clutch
The Aperta is every bit as captivating as its fixed-roof sibling, and the only difference is that it boasts the choice between a removable carbon fiber ceiling or fabric, depending on what you choose. The LaFerrari was designed to be an aerodynamic bullet, splitting the air ahead of it with ease. The front air vent dominating its snout rids the radiator of hot air and deep indentations behind the front wheels chase heat away from the brakes. The retractable rear spoiler keeps the Ferrari's glorious posterior down, and downforce can be controlled via the 21-computer onboard system.
In keeping with similar dimensions to the Enzo, the Aperta has a total length of 185.1 inches and a short 104.3-inch wheelbase. As for width, the curvy convertible measures 78.4 inches from side to side, and a height of 43.9 inches is boasted by the hunkered-down Aperta. It increases its weight by around 100 pounds over its fixed-roof sibling and weighs in at around 3,009 pounds. Weight distribution is favored by the rear.
The screaming sub-three second run from 0-60 miles per hour is mainly attributable to its 6.3-liter V8 that hammers out a maximum 950 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque when combined with its electric motor. It's mated to a vastly capable seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that intuitively shifts regardless of the environment or situation. This is Ferrari's first attempt at a hybrid powertrain, and we think they did a smashing job. When the kinetic energy recovery system isn't hard at work, the Aperta offers 789 horses for a casual trawl through the city. It offers more horsepower than the Centenario Roadster's 759 horses, but is more torquey than its counterpart.
A pure race car at heart, the LaFerrari Aperta is built on a carbon fiber skeleton and electronically-controlled dampers aid the fight on the track. The brutal hammering needs to stop eventually, and a huge set of carbon ceramic brakes do just that in expert fashion. The steering is ridiculously precise and the car's aerodynamic design cuts through the air ahead of it with alarming ease. While all of its components come together to create an unbelievably rigid and agile demon, the sheer speed that it's capable of means that drivers simply can't afford to lose focus, even for a second.
You have no business worrying about fuel economy if you own a Ferrari in this league, and if you do, stop here. The figures are as heavy as you'd expect and Maranello's fastest returns EPA estimates of 12/15/13 mpg, so you'd best prepare for heavy fuel spends, especially if you're smashing the pedal down everywhere. It'll happen, it's inevitable.
Attesting to the ridiculous luxury and exclusivity of the LaFerrari models, if you're ever lucky enough to purchase one, Ferrari will personally sculpt the driver's seat to match the owner's profile. While we wouldn't say the cabin offers ample space, two adults can fit quite comfortably as long as they haven't played in the NBA. If you're tall enough to regularly slam dunk a basketball, you may struggle with the low roofline.
Ferrari clearly looks down on anyone who dares to go grocery shopping in their crown jewel convertible and the 1.4 cubic-foot frunk of the supercar won't fit anything but a Rolex box or a new pair of Ferragamos. It's not much better on the inside, occupants will just about be able to store phones in minuscule door pockets.
A go-fast mentality paired with the obsessive fight to reduce weight doesn't leave much room for convenience. Still, the inside is home to a steering wheel that gives a nod to F1 and you also get dual-zone climate control and cruise control, as well as leather seats. Keyless start, rain-sensing wipers and parking sensors round out the plain-Jane suite. A front splitter and rear wing do wonders for downforce and lightweight wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber for extra grip. Behind those, carbon ceramic brakes stop the Aperta in lighting speed and adaptive dampers seal the deal.
Infotainment in the Aperta is as basic as it gets, which comes as no surprise as the LaFerrari definitely wasn't made so you could mirror your phone screen on the infotainment system and forget to enjoy it. Instead, it offers a very basic system that allows for Bluetooth streaming and AM/FM radio. Audio can also be played via the USB port or the auxiliary input. The thing is, if you still want to listen to that road trip playlist on Spotify over the pure and angelic song of the V12, you simply don't deserve to be in a LaFerrari, and you'll be better off lip-syncing Journey songs in an entry-level BMW.
The LaFerrari Aperta hasn't been on the receiving end of any recalls as yet, but its fixed-roof sibling was the victim of a few recalls between 2014 and 2015 for issues including a faulty tire-pressure monitoring and a faulty driver's side airbag. That being said, with such a limited number of units being produced, Ferrari will likely keep an eye on all of its Apertas to make sure they're being treated the way they should be.
With just 210 of the Aperta in the world today, it would be truly depraved to crash one for a safety rating. You'll have to turn to its track-focused safety measures for consolation. A skilled traction control system and large brakes are all that separate you from a very expensive insurance claim.
Good isn't even five percent of what the LeFerrari is. It's a legendary and coveted supercar that is destined to be an even bigger icon in automotive history than it already is, and the Aperta cuts its production numbers by more than half of the original LaFerrari. That makes it one of the rarest and most sought after convertibles on the planet, and rightly so. Many feel that the LaFerrari may be the best Ferrari ever made, and while you may assume that guiding nearly a thousand horses is an arduous task, it just isn't in the Aperta. It handles the road with superb Italian manners and accelerates impossibly fast. The seven-speed dual-clutch box is almost telepathic in its shifts, and the inside is kept delightfully simple. It deserves its cult following, and the Aperta simply drops the top on one of the most evocative modern race cars in existence.
The numbers are important, but one doesn't simply book a flight to Maranello and write a check for a couple million dollars. As with most ultra-rare supercars from the prancing horse marque, you don't just choose Ferrari, you'll have to hope that it chooses you. Only loyal Ferrari customers and noted enthusiasts cracked the nod, and rumors suggest that most already had to own a number of Ferraris to make the cut. When it was launched, Ferrari let it go for around $2.2 million. Now, you're looking at between $6 million and $8.5 million to get your hands on the Aperta.
Every one of the 210 Apertas was snatched up the moment they launched, and each one was made to reflect the preferences of its purchaser, so your best bet is to hope that one pops up on auction at some point and that the previous owner had good taste. If we were the first to own one, we'd have opted for the exorbitant carbon fiber front end that would have cost $335,500, additionally.
Despite hosting a slightly bigger 6.5-liter V12 engine, the Aventador SVJ Roadster isn't as powerful as the LaFerrari's 6.3-liter V12 hybrid, even without its electrical assistance coming into play. The Ferrari offers a maximum of 950 horsepower in comparison to the Aventador SVJ's 759 horses. The Lamborghini also has an all-wheel-drive system in comparison to the Ferrari's RWD layout. On the inside, the Lamborghini is outrageously busy compared to the LaFerrari and this will be a win for some, but others may prefer the simple and pure cabin of the LaFerrari that stays true to its roots. We'd choose the LaFerrari.
Cool fact: there were exactly 918 Porsche 918s produced, making it less rare than the Aperta's production number that was limited to 210 units. The German supercar costs considerably less, and offers slightly less power, but the two share similar performance figures. Both allow seating for two and the ability to put the roof down on a Sunday afternoon, but the 918 Spyder isn't nearly as coveted as Ferrari's halo convertible - even if that's just purely based on limited units available. The better car usually comes down to personal preference with these kinds of vehicles. Die-hard Italian performance enthusiasts will pinch all five fingers at the top and shout angrily about how much better the Ferrari is and fans of German supercars will order another beer and pretend their feelings aren't hurt.