Owning an open top Ferrari is perhaps one of the most common male fantasies, though with a five liter V8 providing motive force, it's infinitely more practical to have the protection and quietness of a hardtop when atmospheric conditions aren't optimum. Hence Ferrari's new 458 Spider with its automated folding aluminum hard-top solution makes infinite sense.

In all respects other than the Ferrari-patented, fully retractable hard top, the Spider is identical to the 458 Italia, with the same direct-injection 4.5 liter V8 that won a nomination for the 2011 International Engine of the Year, dual-clutch F1 paddle-shift transmission, E-Diff, F1-Trac traction control and high-performance anti-lock brakes.

The hard top though is pretty special as a piece of engineering. In comparison to the Italia's folding soft-top, it is a full 25 kg lighter, and has a deployment time of just 14 seconds. It fits ahead of the engine bay and takes up so little space that there's still room for rear bench behind the seats.

There's also an electrically-adjustable windstop designed to facilitate normal conversation at speeds up to 200 km/h.

The Ferrari 458 Spider will make its world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt International Motor Show next month.

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