New Ferrari SF90 Spider: same crazy performance, less roof

By topgear, 13 November 2020

Ferrari has taken the wraps off its new SF90 Spider with an online reveal straight out of Maranello. You’ll recognise the numbers from the Stradale version – 0–100kph in 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 340kph. The important dash from zero to 200kph takes 0.3secs longer in the new car – a practically glacial 7.0 seconds. 

The SF90 remains as technically interesting as before, with its PHEV powertrain that pairs an all-new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 internal combustion engine with three electric motors – two at the front of the car and one F1-style MGUK number that sits nestled between the motor and eight-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox.

There’s no soft top on the SF90 Spider – Ferrari says it favours the hard top here because it won’t deform at speed and makes for better noise insulation. Because who wants any of that Italian V8 turbo racket seeping into the cabin? Don’t worry – you’ll still hear plenty of the engine when it’s fired up, Ferrari’s built a fancy tube into the cabin that points the noise straight at you.

It’s a details game here – the Spider features the same all-new DCT auto as the SF90 Stradale, which is 15mm shorter and 10kg lighter than the seven-speed number Ferrari used before, thanks to a dry sump and more compact clutch assembly. This despite the extra gear and 900Nm of torque running through it. 

SF90 open
sf90 closed

Styling changes over the Stradale include a 20mm lower roof, thinner A-pillars and venting in the rear screen to help cool the engine. Compare the two and you’ll notice a slightly more cab-forward stance, but overall they look similar. Are you sitting down, though? Ferrari does say that the Spider’s lightly squished tail lights are a ‘radical departure’ from the usual round numbers you’ll find on its mid-rear-engined berlinettas. Vive la revolution, or however you say that in Italian. 

The drop-top SF90 also gets the optional Assetto Fiorano pack, which includes Multimatic shock absorbers optimised for track use, 21kg of weight savings thanks to extensive use of carbon-fibre and titanium, a carbon rear spoiler and road homologated Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Mmm, sticky. 

On the move, the Spider has three powertrain modes – electric, hybrid and 4WD hybrid. In electric-only running the Spider will run up to around 25km off its 7.9kWh batteries, the electric motors powering the front wheels. Gasp, this does indeed make the SF90 Spider Ferrari’s first FWD convertible. Speed is limited to 135kph in electric mode, so you can’t go too crazy.

This stealthy approach is useful if you need to make a quiet departure in a busy neighbourhood, but if you have a particularly short commute you could feasibly choose never to buy any petrol for your SF90. You shouldn’t suffer from range anxiety in this plug-in Ferrari, but just to note that the 68-litre fuel tank is a mere six litres smaller than the boot. 

You’ll want to cut loose a little at some point, and helpfully you can make use of the new steering wheel-mounted eManettino selector to choose between eDrive, Hybrid, Performance and Qualify set-ups. As the names suggest, these different modes juggle the priority between eco and performance focus. 

There are all sorts of controls on the steering wheel, including the indicators. Ferrari promotes a very sensible ‘eyes on the road, hands on the wheel’ philosophy these days, so as many functions as possible have been moved there. Now you too can pretend you’re Seb Vettel and tweak a bit of brake balance on the main straight down to the supermarket. The shift LEDs that light up on the top of the wheel are a particularly delightful touch. You’ll get all the latest and most useful information from the car via the curved 16-inch screen that replaces the dials and a head-up display on the windscreen. 

What hasn’t changed from the coupe is the downforce – it still generates the same levels of aero grip thanks to F1-style strakes that direct air under the car (the underbody here generates more downforce than any Ferrari road car ever) and details such as fancy wheel rims that direct air used for cooling the brakes seamlessly into the streams of air running up the side of the car to minimise nasty turbulence. 

Another carryover from the Stradale, sadly, is the key. It is an ‘exact replica’ of the Ferrari badge found on the bonnet, but thanks to keyless entry you fortunately won’t have to take it out of your pocket. 

In Italy, the SF90 Spider is set to go on sale for €473,000 - a healthy premium over the €430,000 Stradale which retails from RM1.9m before taxes in Malaysia. So we're easily looking at a Prancing Horse that will cost you well over RM2 million, even if you have it registered in Langkawi. 

Walkaround: Ferrari SF90 Stradale (Assetto Fiorano)

sf90 malaysia
The 986bhp Ferrari SF90 Stradale is the latest PHEV on sale in Malaysia