LaFerrari Aperta breezes into Paris
Ferrari snuck the world a first look at a convertible LaFerrari back in July, and now it has rolled the car out in Paris, revealing more about its design and performance, as well as its name: LaFerrari Aperta. One of the world's great hypercars can now be enjoyed with top or without – without losing a step.
"Aperta," meaning "open" in Italian, isn't quite as familiar as "Spider," but Ferrari has used it in recent times on the 458 Speciale Aperta. The new LaFerrari Aperta comes with a removable soft top or optional carbon fiber hard top, allowing the cabin to be filled with flowing air and light from above, whenever the driver so chooses.
Making a convertible version of a supercar is never an easy task for an automaker, and the process certainly doesn't get any easier when your hard-top is a 949-hp hyper-hybrid that bullets to 62 mph (100 km/h) in under 3 seconds and 124 mph in under 7. But that was the task Ferrari faced in creating the LaFerrari Aperta, a task it took very seriously.
Ferrari funneled its efforts into two primary areas: the chassis and the aerodynamics. It reinforced the lower part of the chassis to handle the different stresses inherent in a roof-less structure, promising that the car maintains the same torsional rigidity and beam stiffness as the coupe, with only a small weight gain. It doesn't list a final weight figure.
Another structural obstacle Ferrari toiled to overcome was reworking the butterfly door design. Instead of freeing the butterflies completely to rely on standard doors, Ferrari made adjustments to keep them. It says that they remain virtually unchanged, albeit with a slightly modified opening angle. Of course, they don't arc up into the roof, either.
The reworked door design also involved adding new carbon fiber inserts at the front fenders to allow the doors to rotate cleanly. The vented inserts become a distinguishing styling point of the Aperta.
On the aerodynamics side, Ferrari's engineering team set out to give the Aperta the same drag figure as the coupé, open-roof or not. Two L-shaped flaps at the top corners of the windshield help to reduce drag when the roof panel is off, keeping it consistent with the coupé. An angled wind stop on the parcel shelf diverts airflow that would otherwise flood the cabin from off the top of the windshield, keeping driver and passenger comfortable without increasing drag. Ferrari says that the occupants will be able to hold a conversation even while accelerating into high-speed territory.
Deafening, chattery fresh air flow would be bad, but getting blasted in the face with hot air flowing out of the radiator would be even worse. To prevent that scenario, Ferrari re-angled the radiators, redirecting hot airflow under the body instead of over top the hood. It also redesigned the vortex generators around the underbody hot air flow and added a new duct to channel air from the front grille up and over the bonnet. Both changes help maintain the proper amount of downforce.
In the end, Ferrari was quite successful in maintaining virtually every tick of brilliant LaFerrari performance. The sub-3-second 0-62 mph is the same. The 217-mph (350-km/h) top speed is also the same. The 7.1-second 0-124 mph (200 km/h) is a tenth or couple slower than the "under 7" of the coupé. So if we are to believe Ferrari's estimates, the switchover to convertible construction and added pounds therein don't slow the car down much at all.
The Aperta achieves that performance with the same HY-KERS powertrain as the coupe, a 789-hp 6.3-liter V12 working with a 160-hp electric motor and seven-speed DCT. The eight-module battery pack relies on the KERS system to resupply charge during braking and also siphons off energy from the V12 when it's creating more torque than needed, such as during cornering. Optimized powertrain control software helps the two power plants operate at the highest levels of efficiency and performance.
Beyond the changes necessary in carving the roof panel out, the Aperta retains the LaFerrari's look and style. Subtle model-specific graphic accents dress the exterior, and matching accents inside tie it all together. Since the car is released as a celebration of Ferrari's 70th anniversary, it includes 70th badging. The seats are upholstered in a new blend of leather and Starlite Alcantara.
Ferrari is producing the Aperta as a limited edition special series, with just 209 examples planned. All available models were already sold before it even released the first details back in July. The car debuts alongside the GTC4Lusso T at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.