BEAUTY BEYOND COMPARE! RM2.1MIL FERRARI SF90 SPIDER DEBUTS IN MALAYSIA

KUALA LUMPUR:  The spider version of the Ferrari SF90 Stradale has arrived in Malaysia.

The SF90 Spider is available from the base price of RM 2,088,000 (before duties, customization options, taxes and insurance).

Ferrari’s first retractable hard top hybrid was unveiled to Malaysians in a digital debut.

As the Prancing Horse’s first production plug-in hybrid spider, the SF90 Spider sets new performance and innovation benchmarks not only for the marque’s range, but for the entire sports car sector.

The new convertible has the same supercar specification and record-breaking performance as the SF90 Stradale yet also adds greater driving pleasure and versatility to the mix, thanks to latest iteration of Ferrari’s signature retractable hard top architecture.

The SF90 Spider is aimed at people who demand the best of Ferrari technology, but still want the thrill of open-top driving.

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Ferrari said it chose to use a retractable hard top (RHT) rather than a soft top because it guarantees optimal noise insulation and protection from the elements when raised, does not deform at high speeds and provides exceptional occupant space and comfort. The RHT is also compact, simple and light and  can be opened or closed in 14 seconds and can be deployed when the car is on the move.

The key to the success of the Ferrari RHT, which premiered on the 458 Spider in 2011, and which has been constantly evolved in the intervening years, is that it takes up 100 litres of space rather than the 150-200 litres required by a traditional system. The use of aluminium in its construction also means that it is around 40 kg lighter than a conventional retractable hard top. Ferrari said an adjustable electric rear window ensures occupant comfort even at high speeds when the RHT is lowered.

As is the case with the SF90 Stradale, the SF90 Spider is available with an additional specification option for owners who want to use it more as a track car.

The Assetto Fiorano pack includes a list of upgrades that set it apart from the standard car, such as Multimatic shock absorbers derived from the Ferrari’s GT racing experience and optimised for track use. Others include the adoption of high-performance materials (such as carbon-fibre and titanium) that have shaved 21 kg off the car’s weight, a carbon-fibre rear spoiler and road-homologated Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres made to improve track performance in the dry, thanks to a softer compound and fewer grooves. Lastly, the Assetto Fiorano offers an optional two-tone livery for a motorsport feel.

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Performance plug-in hybrid

In a first for a Ferrari production spider, the SF90 Spider has plug-in hybrid architecture in which the internal combustion engine is integrated with two electric motors at the front, which comprise the RAC-e (Cornering Angle Regulator, Electric) system, and one at the rear derived from and named after a Prancing Horse Formula 1 innovation, the MGUK (Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic). The synergy between the internal combustion engine and the electric motors allow the car to unleash a maximum of 986hp and put the SF90 Spider not only at the very top of the Ferrari range of road cars, but also its category.

The SF90 Spider’s powertrain architecture features the V8 turbo ICE, an 8-speed DCT with E-diff, the RAC-e electric front axle with two independent electric motors that also provide all-electric propulsion, the MGUK electric motor located at the rear between the engine and the gearbox, the high voltage battery and electric motor control system (inverter).

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In addition to 769hp (and 192hp/l specific power output), the V8 also makes 59hp more than any other V8 turbo ever built by Ferrari. To acieve this result, Ferrari’s engineers completely redesigned the intake and exhaust systems. To improve internal fluid dynamics, the ducts are now all horizontally lined up at engine head height, the turbo charger assembly has been lowered, and the exhaust line is higher. This rationalisation also produced both a lower centre of gravity and a reduction in overall weight thanks to the use of Inconel instead of steel for the exhaust manifold.

The SF90 Spider sports the completely redesigned 8-speed, oil-bath, dual-clutch gearbox launched on the SF90 Stradale. An optimised layout, achieved through the adoption of a dry sump and a significantly more compact clutch assembly with a 20% smaller exterior diameter than the one in the 7-speed gearbox, has shaved 15 mm off the installed height in the car. This, in turn, lowers the centre of gravity of the running gear by the same amount.

Despite the addition of an eighth gear and the need to transmit a maximum torque of 900 Nm (an increase of more than 20% on the current 7-speed), the gearbox’s overall weight is actually 10 kg lower than its predecessor. The clutch’s performance is 35% higher than the 7-speed, transmitting up to 1,200 Nm in dynamic torque during gear shifts. Thanks to new-generation actuation hydraulics, clutch fill times are now 30% faster and total gear shift times have been slashed to 200 ms, an improvement of 30% on the previous 7-speed DTC.

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Exhaust sound quality was also increased with the use of a “hot tube system”, which transfers sound more directly to the cockpit, producing fuller, richer harmonics across the entire frequency range, improving both in-car sound quality and intensity as rev rise compared to previous Ferrari V8s.

Because of the key role hybrid system power management plays in the SF90 Spider driving experience, the traditional Manettino is now flanked by an additional steering wheel-mounted selector, dubbed the eManettino, which manages the power flows from and to the high voltage battery and the wheels (traction). It offers the driver a choice of four modes:

> eDrive: the internal combustion engine remains off and traction is entrusted entirely to the electric front axle. Starting with a fully charged battery (with a capacity of 7.9 kWh), the car can cover up to 25 km in this mode which is ideal for city-centre driving or any other situation in which the driver wishes to eliminate the sound of the Ferrari V8. The 135 kph speed limit means the car can also be used on out-of-town roads;

> Hybrid: this setting optimises the system’s overall efficiency. The control logic autonomously decides whether to keep the internal combustion engine running or turn it off. Power flow from the electric motors is limited to conserve battery power;

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> Performance: this mode keeps the ICE running because the priority is more on charging the battery than on efficiency. This guarantees that power is instantly and fully available when required. This mode is best suited to situations in which driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel are the main focus; and

> Qualify: this mode allows the system to achieve maximum power output by letting the electric motors work at their maximum potential (162kW). The control logic prioritises maximum performance over battery charging.

The downforce generated by the SF90 Spider is largely determined by the patented aero device on the car’s tail: the shut-off Gurney. In order to guarantee the same performance as the coupé, the Ferrari team had to work on the volumes and surfaces of the roof to manage the direction of the aerodynamic flow towards the car’s tail.

The shut-off Gurney is a suspended element comprising two sections: one fixed and one mobile with a wedge-shaped front area. The system is controlled by a sophisticated logic that controls parameters such as speed, acceleration, steering wheel angle and pressure on the brake pedal, hundreds of times a second in order to identify dynamic conditions requiring more downforce and then promptly activates the system.

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Exterior

When the RHT is deployed, the sides, front and tail of the SF90 Spider have the same distinctive styling as the SF90 Stradale.

The proportions of the SF90 Stradale transfer easily to the SF90 Spider even when the RHT is stowed away.

Compared to the coupe, the Spider’s cockpit has been shifted forward, the roof is 20mm lower, the A-posts are more slender and the windscreen is more raked.

The front of the car is dominated by a very pronounced profile which underscores its aggressive character. The three air intakes in this area cool the electric motors (front) and the internal combustion engine (sides). The SF90 Spider also uses matrix LED headlight technology to improve visibility in all driving conditions thanks to active beam control.

25 Ferrari SF90 pider

The rear of the car is dominated by high exhaust pipes, which are the result of optimisation of the exhaust line layout. Their competition car vibe has been cleverly exploited to underscore the SF90 Spider’s track-inspired personality. This effect is further enhanced by the low tail area. More elongated luminous rings create a more horizontal perception of the tail lights, which are a radical break from the iconic round shape normally used on Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined berlinettas.

Interior

The look and feel of the cabin was driven in large part by the complete redesign of the HMI, which marked such a major leap forward on the SF90 Stradale. The instrumentation is now predominantly digital with all the screens going completely black when the car is not running, lending the cabin a very minimalist look. However, once the Engine Start button on the steering wheel is pushed, a “ceremony” of sorts begins that sees all the digital components in the driver cockpit gradually springing to life until the whole cockpit is aglow.

The central instrument cluster comprises a single 16” HD screen, which is curved towards the driver to make it easier to read and emphasise the wraparound cockpit effect. In the default screen, everything is dominated by a large circular rev counter, framed by the battery charge indicator.

29 Ferrari SF90 Spider

The navigation screen is on one side of the rev counter with the audio controls on the other. The screen’s large dimensions mean that there is huge flexibility in terms of personalising the displays, which are also very easy to navigate using the steering wheel controls. It is, for example, possible to select a full-screen version of the navigation map.

Thanks to the introduction of the head-up display, the main information can be projected onto the section of windscreen within the driver’s field of vision.

The SF90 Spider’s steering wheel completes that transfer process from the competition world and also ushers in a new era by introducing a series of touch commands that allow the driver to control virtually every aspect of the car without ever taking their hands off the wheel.

The traditional controls include the now iconic Manettino, steering-wheel mounted headlight control, windscreen wipers, indicators. Of the new touch controls, the pad on the right-hand spoke allows the driver to navigate the central cluster screens, while voice and cruise controls are on the left-hand spoke. In the bottom left section of the central area, there are four buttons the driver uses to select the power unit mode.

The F1 bridge, a signature on the previous models, has now disappeared from the central tunnel and been replaced by a modern take on the gearshift gate, an iconic feature of Ferrari’s manual gearboxes. In the new gate, however, the gearshift grille is digital as befits an automatic transmission.

20 Ferrari SF90 Spider

At the bottom of the tunnel is the compartment for stowing the new ignition key, which is an exact replica of the Ferrari Prancing Horse badge found on the bonnet, adding an authentic finishing touch to the cabin’s styling. The key works in full keyless mode so that the driver can not only start the ignition but also open the doors without taking it out of their pocket.

All new and used Ferrari cars are covered by an extended seven-year maintenance programme.

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– CARSIFU / ANN
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