by Karl Furlong
There has never been a Ferrari quite like this one. The new SF90 Spider becomes the Italian marque's first hybrid supercar with a retractable hardtop. Combining ravishing good looks with a 1,000-cv (986 horsepower) plug-in hybrid powertrain, it's one of the most extreme convertibles in the world. Despite the convertible roof, the SF90 Spider can match the SF90 Stradale up to 62 mph and is only a few tenths slower to 124 mph. It may be a hybrid, but a spine-tingling V8 exhaust note comes as standard and, with the roof lowered, the SF90 Spider only serves to amplify that intoxicating noise.
4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Plug-in Hybrid
The SF90 Spider is an achingly gorgeous piece of Italian automotive design. With the roof up, it retains a similar silhouette to the SF90 Stradale, along with details like the distinctive matrix LED headlights. Behind the passenger compartment, the buttresses are a signature styling element of Ferrari spider models. With the roof stowed, the engine remains visible, while at the back, the high-mounted exhaust pipes echo those of the SF90 Stradale.
Ferrari says that a hardtop roof was chosen not only for better noise insulation but because it won't deform at the high speeds that the SF90 Spider is capable of attaining. It takes just 14 seconds to deploy the roof and this can be done on the move as well. An available Assetto Fiorano pack comes with optional two-tone livery and a carbon-fiber rear spoiler. Ferrari has managed to keep the increase in weight over the SF90 Stradale to 220 pounds.
The typically sporty cabin puts everything within easy reach of the driver, with mostly digital displays, including a 16-inch HD instrument cluster, with the central tachometer given preference. As usual for a Ferrari, the steering wheel is littered with buttons, including the Engine Start button, indicators, and the familiar Manettino controller. The steering wheel also houses touch-sensitive controls, some of which can be used to manage the digital screen.
A head-up display projects information within the driver's line of sight. To the right of the driver, a digital gearshift grille is found lower down in the middle, while keyless entry and go makes it possible to open the door and start up the engine without removing the key from your pocket.
The plug-in hybrid SF90 Spider uses a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine paired with three electric motors to produce a combined 986 horsepower. On its own, the V8 generates 769 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. With all-wheel drive and an F1 eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the SF90's performance is towering. The 0-62 mph run flies by in 2.5 seconds, it takes only seven seconds to reach 124 mph, and the top speed is pegged at 211 mph.
This astonishing acceleration is made all the more amazing considering that when in eDrive mode, the SF90 Spider can travel for 15.5 miles on electric power alone thanks to the 7.9 kWh battery. There are also Hybrid, Performance, and Qualify modes, with the latter maximizing the car's performance.
Ferrari has significantly redesigned the chassis to cope with the unique powertrain, with 30 percent increased torsional rigidity over prior platforms and no weight penalty despite this improvement. Torque vectoring on the front axle and an electronic traction control system that controls torque availability from the V8 and electric motors work together to improve grip and dynamic performance depending on the conditions.
The Ferrari SF90 Spider is set to arrive in the US in Q3 of 2021 at a price in the region of $558,000. That's around $50,000 more expensive than the SF90 Stradale. It's also about $100,000 pricier than the Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster, although the Lambo comes with a thrilling but more conventional naturally-aspirated V12 engine. The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante is a stunning drop-top, but it's neither as powerful nor as fast off the mark. Quite simply, there is nothing quite like the SF90 Spider's combination of sensational hybrid power in a drop-dead gorgeous convertible body.