Laying to rest the question of whether the new convertible would feature a soft or hard top, the 458 Spider does away with its predecessor's fabric arrangement in favour of an aluminium shell.
Unlike the entry-level California's folding roof, the 458 Spider features a one-piece retractable roof that slides back beneath the buttressed rear tonneau cover. (see video below)
Surprisingly, the aluminium roof weighs 25kg less than the soft-top its predecessor packed, and locks into place 14 seconds quicker than the old folding system.
Ferrari says that the smaller overall dimensions of the roof and its mechanical elements also allows for greater storage options behind the seats.
As expected, power for the 458 Spider is provided by the same 425kW 4.5 litre V8 engine, mated to a dual-clutch paddle-shifted transmission and E-Differential system.
The Spider isn't without its own tweaks however, with new accelerator mapping, revised suspension damping and a modified exhaust have been developed to optimise the open-air driving experience.
Australian Ferrari distributor Ateco has confirmed that the 458 Spider will make its local debut at the end of 2012, with pricing to be announced closer to launch.