Ferrari unveils hard-top convertible ahead of Frankfurt

Ferrari has unveiled a convertible hard-top model which it says is a world-first for a rear-engined car.

The first pictures of the new Ferrari 458 Spider, a convertible version of the 458 Italia, were released August 23 ahead of the vehicle's debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The model features an aluminium hard-top roof which folds back into the rear of the vehicle when not required, despite the model's V8 engine occupying most of the same area.

Ferrari says that the lightweight roof, which folds back in 14 seconds, leaves enough space for a rear luggage bench behind the two seats.

Despite the convertible's breathtaking top speed of over 320 km/h (with a 0-100km/h time of under 3.4 seconds), Ferrari says that an adjustable electric wind stop enables normal conversation in the cabin, even at speeds of over 200 km/h.

Like the 458 Italia, the 458 Spider uses an F1 paddle-shift dual-transmission, F1-Trac traction control and a 4.5-liter naturally aspirated, direct-injection V8 engine, which pumps out 275g of carbon dioxide per kilometer and manages fuel consumption of 11.8 l/100km.

Pricing hasn't been confirmed for the supercar, although it's expected to be priced at a premium to the €197,000 coupe version.

It will be unveiled, along with new models from rival names such as Maserati and Lamborghini, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which runs September 15-25 in Frankfurt, Germany.