6 December 2004

Ferrari has revealed its latest drop-top, the 575-based Superamerica. But unlike on current convertibles, the roof doesn’t fold, it flips. The Superamerica is equipped with a revolutionary glass roof dubbed Revocromico that rotates rather than folds in the conventional manner. This convertible is based on the 575 coupé, but also gets new rear-end styling.

The Superamerica will be launched at the Detroit Motor Show in January and built as a limited production run. Although Ferrari says it has yet to confirm the exact number, expect it to hover around the 500 mark. This would make the Superamerica almost as exclusive as the Enzo, of which Ferrari built 399 examples.

Power from the 575’s 5.7-litre V12 is up by 25bhp to 533bhp, although any performance gains are negated by the increased weight of the roof mechanism, which lifts the kerbweight by 60kg. Even so, the Italians claim the car will be one of the world’s fastest-ever convertibles, with a top speed of 199mph.

Most of the new cars will head for the United States, although the order book is now open for a limited number of UK cars ahead of summer 2005 delivery. Prices haven’t yet been set, but expect a hefty rise over the 575’s £154,350 to around £185k. The £16,450 Handling GTC Pack that transforms the 575 will also be offered.

Two transmissions will be available: a six-speed manual or six-speed F1-style paddle-shift gearbox.

Retracting to lie across the rear deck in 10 seconds, the roof doesn’t impact on boot space. In fact, the redesigned rear means the Superamerica actually offers greater luggage capacity than the 575 coupé, at 185 litres.

For the roof, Ferrari is making use of technology developed and patented by a small Italian design house called Fioravanti, which unveiled the system on its 2001 LF concept car. The lid incorporates a five-way tint that can turn the glass from dark to light in under a minute, using electrochromic technology developed in conjunction with glass experts Saint-Gobain.

The name Superamerica dates back to two Ferrari models launched in 1956 and 1960, the 400 and 410 Superamerica. Both were developed specifically for the American market, with bespoke power upgrades.

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