It has never been done before. The 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider is the world’s first retractable hardtop/convertible mid-engine supercar. And this new Ferrari offers … When the driver presses a button located between the seats, the hardtop gracefully retracts out of site within 14 seconds. Thus, with this Ferrari, the driver can choose between a hardtop coupe and a convertible. The 458 Italia Spider is equipped with a direct injected 4.5-liter V8 engine delivering 562 hp and 398 ft. lb. of torque. It has a Bosch sourced Formula 1 Trac traction control system. The transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch unit with shift paddles on the steering wheel. The result is super fast shifting with the engine on its full boil. This Ferrari’s 0-60 mph time is in 3.3 seconds and the quarter mile is completed in 11.24 seconds. The car’s top speed is 198 mph. The 458 Italia Spider’s wheelbase measures 104.3 inches and its curb weight is 3,150 lbs. On the exterior, as a hardtop or a convertible, this Ferrari has a different look. With the top up, the car appearance is sleek, long, and it looks ready to run. Furthermore, the curves of the front and rear fenders are readily apparent. When the top is down, however, the car’s overall look is a bit more relaxed and the two raised back buttresses are more apparent. The raised buttresses actually protect the driver and passenger’s heads in the event of the car’s rollover. The interior of the 458 Italia Spider includes rich materials that present in a modern and sporting manner. The driver sees a large central tachometer with a 9,000 rpm redline. At the right of the tachometer is the speedometer and at the far left are two smaller gauges for the oil pressure and temperature readings. And below these two gauges, is a horizontal incremental fuel reading. The dash is clean looking and curved towards the driver but it is flatter on the passenger’s side. Many of the car’s controls are placed on the steering wheel (including a red manettino switch) or on the center console. The front bucket seats are deep and offer serious side support. Additionally, they assure all day highway cruising comfort. Behind the front seats is a cargo shelf that provides 8.1 cubic feet of space. This is enough for a full size golf bag or two overnight travel bags. The brakes are vented cross-drilled carbon ceramic discs at all four corners measuring 15.7 inches at the front (6 piston calipers) and 14.2 inches at the rear (4 piston calipers). The 458 Italia Spider’s 60-0 mph stopping distance is in a short 107 feet. The tires measure 235 35 20 inch at the front and 295 35 20 inch in the back. The suspension at the front includes double-wishbones, coil springs, driver adjustable shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. At the rear the setup includes multi-links, coil springs, driver adjustable shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. Standard features on this Ferrari include 8-way power driver and passenger seats, remote power door locks, windows and mirrors, cruise control, variable intermittent rain sensing wipers, front cupholders, remote trunk release, retained accessory power, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, traction and audio controls on the steering wheel, electronic speed-proportional power steering, 12 volt power outlets, interior air filtration, dual driver and passenger climate control, front reading lights, 6-speaker AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3 playback stereo, auxiliary audio input and iPod/iPhone integration, radio data system, pre-wired for phone, Bluetooth wireless data link for hands free phone and more. Standard safety features include four-wheel ABS brakes, dual front side-mounted air bags, passenger air bag deactivation switch, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer, LED headlights, auto delay off headlights, daytime running lights, stability and traction control, electronic brake force distribution, tire pressure monitoring and more. This 458 Italia Spider allows the driver to choose (Low Grip, Sport, Race, CT, and CTS) using a red manettino switch located on the steering wheel. This changes the car’s driving dynamics. The first setting is suited to low grip driving situations with a focus on comfort and stability. Sport is good for every day driving under good grip conditions. Race is used at the track under good grip conditions. The CT setting provides active stability control but gives the driver additional freedom at the track as it allows over-steer up to the car’s limits. The CTS setting eliminates all electronic systems (traction and stability control entirely) with the exception of the E-diff3 and ABS. On the road the 458 Italia Spider delivers absolutely brutal acceleration, excellent balance, razor sharp handling and a smooth ride that is appropriate for track use but also for every day highway use. Top up or top down, this supercar is arguably the best on the road. The fuel rating for the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider is 12 city and 18 mpg highway. The warranty on the 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider is 2 years with unlimited mileage bumper to bumper plus free maintenance for 7 years or 87,500 miles. The base price of the 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider is $258,000. Does it help to remember that it is both a hardtop and a convertible or cars in one? Regarding the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider Motor Trend says, “The Spider owner [as compared to the 458 Italia hardtop driver] is a different beast; he too loves performance and racing credentials, and the swagger that comes with the prancing horse badge. He is more likely to drive his 458 daily, and his trips are longer and more often there’s someone in the passenger seat. Spider customers are also willing to pay more (roughly $60,000 more) for their steeds, and traditionally buy more of them than the coupe guys.” If you can get your hands on the wheel of the 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider for a test drive, I say why not! And if you can afford to buy one, then I say more power to you indeed!