Ferrari will be debuting the world’s first mid-rear engined berlinetta equipped with a retractable hard top at the Frankfurt show next month – the 458 Spider is set to join the 458 Italia in the company’s lineup.

Power comes courtesy of a naturally-aspirated, direct-injection 4.5 litre V8 offering 570 cheval vapeur (CV) – which works out to 562 hp – at 9,000 rpm and 540 Nm at 6,000 rpm. This is mated to a dual-clutch F1 paddle-shift seven-speed transmission with E-Diff, which integrates F1-Trac traction control and high-performance ABS.

The hard-top is made entirely of aluminium – the company says this offers a number of advantages over the traditional folding soft-top, including a reduction of 25 kg in weight and a deployment time of just 14 seconds. Fully integrated into the styling of the car, the hard-top fits neatly ahead of the engine bay without compromising aerodynamics or performance, or even space – there’s still a generous rear bench for luggage behind the seats.

Styling-wise, the rear of the car – which sits on 20-inch wheels and 235/35 front and 295/35 rear rubbers – is characterised by buttresses designed to optimise the flow of air to the engine intakes as well as the clutch and gearbox oil radiators.

For maximum comfort whilst driving top down, there’s a generously-sized adjustable electric wind stop, which slows and diffuse the air in the cockpit and allows normal conversation to be held even at speeds over 200 km/h, even though chances are you won’t be talking that much at that point.

Ferrari says that technical solutions adopted for the chassis guarantee identical levels of structural rigidity with the roof up or down, and that the engine soundtrack has been honed to ensure that the car’s occupants are completely captivated by the drop-top driving experience.

Gallery after the jump.

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