Ferrari Develops Fold-Out Rear Seats That Turn 4-Seat Convertibles Into 2-Seat Sports Cars

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Two patents document a new rear-seat design that reduces weight, improves airflow, and makes convertible GTs even cooler.

Ferrari has developed a new rear-seat design for its four-seat convertible GTs like the Portofino M that can turn the car from a four-seater into a two-seater while reducing the effects of wind buffeting in the cabin with the roof down.

In two patents CarBuzz has discovered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Ferrari details the invention and its operation. The basic premise is relatively simple. Instead of relying on a clip-in wind deflector, which is clunky and cumbersome to install and store when removed, Ferrari envisages a rear seatback that can close off the rear of the cabin when the rearmost seats aren't in use.

It does this by means of actuation struts and a top-mounted thing on a portion of the backrest that can raise it from a vertical position into one inclined toward the top of the front seats, closing off the area aft of the front occupants.

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When the diffuser is not in use, or rather when the rear seats are needed, the backrest it locks into place at the bottom near the seat squabs with either a mechanical or an electrically-actuated latch.

When the latch mechanism is released, the rear backrest pivots upwards around its top-mounted hinge until it is nearly level with the car's beltline. In this mode, the rear seating area disappears just as it would with a normal wind deflector, but the backrest itself turns into the wind deflector. Judiciously-placed slots in the backrest are shaped to regulate the airflow through and around it, eliminating vibrations and reducing aerodynamic drag.

Best of all, the backrest can easily fold down again to restore the rear seating area without storing a bulky, loose wind deflector somewhere in the car.


The advantages are many with this configuration. In addition to getting rid of loose wind deflectors, this solution utilizes many of the car's existing components, reducing weight compared to additional componentry being installed. The deflector will reduce wind buffeting and backdraft when the roof is down, too, making the cabin quieter when roofless and with less cold wind disturbance when you drive with the roof down in winter.

In the second patent, Ferrari also describes a pass-through from the trunk that would allow you to store longer items into the cabin when the roof is open and the deflector deployed, with these items being safely covered by the deflector. In this same patent, Ferrari envisions the center portion of the rear seatback being manufactured from a mesh-type material for ventilation instead of the aforementioned holes in the design.


The new design has the visual benefit of the convertible looking like a genuine two-seater, which may appeal to first-time Ferrari owners who couldn't spring for the F8 Spider - which is precisely the demographic of the Portofino M.

Ferrari's patent sketches showcase the design in an odd choice of car - the SF90 Spider - but the proportions have clearly been stretched to be used merely as an example, as the sketches retain the mid-mounted engine placement. We wouldn't read anything into a four-seat, mid-engine convertible from Ferrari anytime soon, but we do expect the tech to arrive in junior GTs soon.


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