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By Jim Flammang
May 6, 2005
Vehicle Overview At the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ferrari unveiled its new Superamerica. It's the first production car with a rotating roof that transforms the car from a closed coupe to a convertible in a matter of seconds.
Derived from the company's 575M Maranello coupe, the Superamerica can be equipped with either a conventional manual gearbox or a transmission set up for Formula One-style gear changes. During the Detroit presentation, renowned designer Sergio Pininfarina called the Superamerica a combination of traditional design and innovation.
Ferrari's first Superamerica model gained considerable fame in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, only six examples were open cars.
Maurizio Parlato, president of Ferrari North America, announced at the 2005 New York Auto Show that 750 Superamericas would be built � 175 of them will be destined for the United States. Already, all 175 are sold out.
Exterior Rather than a metal roof, the Superamerica features a movable top that's made entirely of glass. After releasing a catch, the Superamerica's roof opens or closes in less than 10 seconds. The electrically powered roof flip-folds rearward; it blends neatly into twin side buttresses that suggest classic Ferrari models. When opened, the roof rests flush with the trunk lid and the rear window doubles as a wind deflector. Operation of the top doesn't diminish cargo capacity.
In addition to serving as a design element, the buttresses add structural strength and provide rollover protection. The rear firewall has been strengthened, with bracing added around the transaxle area. An active-damping configuration uses four proportional-valve shock absorbers and six accelerometers. This system senses road surfaces and adapts damping accordingly when the driver has selected Sport or Comfort mode.
The roof glass is electrochromatic, so the driver can control the tint level at will using a five-position switch on the central tunnel. When the engine is turned off, the glass automatically reverts to its darkest setting.
An all-weather tonneau cover is available for drivers who plan to do a lot of roof-down driving. Split-rim wheels are shod with 19-inch tires. An optional GTC Handling package includes a more-sporting suspension and a lightweight sports exhaust with a deeper rumble.
Built on a 98.4-inch wheelbase, the Superamerica measures 179.1 inches long overall, is 76.2 inches wide and stands 50.3 inches tall.
Interior Ferrari's two-passenger cockpit is a mix of handcrafted leather trim and carbon-fiber detailing that's unique to the Superamerica. A storage compartment is found behind the seats. The tachometer's face is available in red or yellow.
Under the Hood Operating with four valves per cylinder, the Superamerica's 5.8-liter V-12 develops 540 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 434 pounds-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm. That's 25 hp more than the 575M Maranello's V-12 engine. Ferrari's six-speed-manual transmission can be set up to operate with Formula One-style gear selection.
Ferrari claims the Superamerica can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds and reach 199 mph.
Safety Safety features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and traction control. Side-impact airbags are not available.