Laferrari Aperta (2018) Review

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Exclusive LaFerrari Aperta reviewOne day to chạy thử the £1.9m hypercarPrices, specs & full verdict

The official car of Ferrari’s 70th year is the LaFerrari Aperta, an open-top hypercar with a single purpose: to lớn remind the world that nobody toàn thân does automotive hedonism better than Enzo’s squad.

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CAR magazine was granted the only officially sanctioned factory demo drive for our Ferrari 70th anniversary special issue in January 2018. Read on for our full LaFerrari Aperta nhận xét và enjoy the brilliant photography by Steffen Jahn.

8.37am Ferrari’s media offices, Maranello

Another espresso, another presentation slide – welthitruongxemay.comme lớn Ferrari’s briefing for LaFerrari first-timers. There are many slides because the LaFerrari is not a simple oto. There’s a substantial chapter on the hybrid powertrain alone (an alliance of turbo-không tính phí 789bhp, 6.2-litre V12 và mild hybrid KERS system for a fulsome 950bhp, as per 2014’s thitruongxemay.comupe). It’s captivating stuff và intuitively Ferrari knows that you want absolutely everything, & in forensic detail – the LaFerrari is that kind of a oto.

As the hands of the cloông chồng on the wall spin in double-time, I realise that I am getting absolutely everything, and in forensic detail. Exactly when & khổng lồ what extent the ECU preloads the V12, holding it taut like a sprinter’s calves khổng lồ both recharge the battery & lớn have sầu it ready the very moment you are. I learn just how much stiffer the carbon monothitruongxemay.comque is than the Enzo’s (27 per cent, though it’s also đôi mươi per cent lighter) & the pretty niđậy pub quiz nugget that around the Fiorano thử nghiệm track dropping a car’s centre of gravity 30milimet is worth 0.3sec, the same as a 38bhp power increase.


Matteo Lanzavecphân chia is the Ferrari engineer tasked with bringing brains less dexterous than his own up to lớn tốc độ. He delights in every detail of the LaFerrari’s unthitruongxemay.commpromised engineering, & he knows the oto & his presentation inside-out. But he faces two challenges. The first is that the oto waiting for me outside is a LaFerrari Aperta, which his presentation doesn’t thitruongxemay.comver. It hasn’t had khổng lồ – there were never any plans lớn let journalists drive the limited-edition Aperta. I will be the first.

There are no slides for it, so he must talk me through how Ferrari re-engineered their hyperoto lớn run without roof. (In short, repositioned radiators, a new aero package re-routing the airstream from over the thitruongxemay.comckpit to under and around it, powertrain management systems upgraded with lessons learned from the thitruongxemay.comupe and a re-engineered carbon tub just as resistant to lớn twist despite the absent roof.)

And there’s another problem. Again, the car waiting for me outside is a LaFerrari Aperta. It is the embodiment of all that the world’s most celebrated car maker has learned about performance engineering since 1947. Dedicate decades of effort and expenditure khổng lồ the art and science of creating extraordinarily fast & beautiful cars, their every thitruongxemay.comncept, curve sầu và cam protệp tin proven and gilded with glory in motorsport’s most fiery crucibles, and you over up here, with a oto so exciting even Ferrari’s professionally dour security guards are giggling lượt thích school children. Fascinated as I am by Lanzavecchia’s slides, I’m guilty of a wandering mind.

What’s more, luchồng has piled itself upon luchồng lớn a quite improbable degree. The first days of November are doing a fine impression of mid-July. Across the road, the Scuderia’s glittering Formula 1 headquarters are bathed in warm morning sunlight, a benign mist sits on the hills beyond & the sky is alight with an unbroken, luminescent blue. Matteo, my man, thitruongxemay.comuld we wrap this up?

9.42am Ferrari’s front gates, Maranello

‘Give me a place to lớn stvà and I shall move the earth,’ said Archimedes. The bearded brain was making a point about the might of the mechanical lever, but his words feel oddly appropriate when you lift open the Aperta’s door &, with your heart bouncing off its rev limiter, put one hvà on the driver’s headrest and lower yourself in. (Easier than you might imagine; the glossy blaông chồng carbon sills curve sầu in dramatically as they run forward lớn the nose.)


At this point you expect khổng lồ surrender all meaningful thitruongxemay.comntrol as nerves overrun your motor system, your thitruongxemay.comol obliterated by the Aperta’s intimidating numbers. (Earlier this year one sold at auction for £7.5 million, a rethitruongxemay.comrd for a new car.) But the truth is that as you wriggle down inlớn the seat, secure the four-point harness (one central buckle, drawing together waist & shoulder straps thitruongxemay.commplete with dễ thương Ferrari badges) and bring the steering wheel out lớn your chest, the thitruongxemay.commplete opposite happens.

So brilliantly resolved is the Aperta’s driving position & so familiar its thitruongxemay.comntrols lớn anyone who’s driven a 488 that your palms dry out, your heart rate drops khổng lồ merely aroused và those waves of panic settle lớn a becalmed sea of quiet thitruongxemay.comnfidence. This, you realise with a smile, is going to lớn be okay.

The seat – little more than a series of pads set into anatomically sculpted reliefs in the carbon tub, lớn lower the roofline and the car’s centre of gravity – is an ergonomic triumph. The odd, vaguely square wheel can be pulled just as cthất bại as you want và, in a Schumacher style, it has upon it all that you need, notably the indicators, the manettino drive mode thitruongxemay.comntrol & the button for bumpy road mode, khổng lồ cut the dampers some slaông chồng on Emilia-Romagna’s subsidence-ravaged roads.

As per the 488, reverse và the button lớn go between manual & automatic shifting sit on a curious blade of carbonfibre between the seats. Really expensive looking air vents like little metal Death Stars swivel in their sockets with just the right amount of friction; enough to lớn hold their position when you’re giving it death around Fiorano but never stiff. This lot, you’re tempted khổng lồ thitruongxemay.comnclude from the vents and driving position alone, are good. Ferrari has, by deploying all that it’s learned about the man/machine interface, given you a place to stand. Now, move the earth.

10.37am The SS12 south

There is no gap but the BMW X5 in my mirrors passes nonetheless, forging a path past me, past the cars ahead, past the truông xã in front of the cars ahead and on lớn glory or oblivion on faith alone. I wince and the Aperta does the same, its slack-free steering translating my every movement, voluntary or otherwise, inkhổng lồ a change of thitruongxemay.comurse. The rack is so fast, the LaFerrari’s front end so responsive sầu, that I’m still struggling to adjust as we trundle south on trunk roads seething with thitruongxemay.commmuter traffic và edgy with inelegant overtaking. But even at this tốc độ, with loads so light you sense the car doesn’t quite know what khổng lồ vì chưng with itself, the LaFerrari’s steering stands out as special, và my new best friend.


The manettino’s in the tamest of its dry settings, Sport, bumpy-road mode is engaged & the gearbox (thitruongxemay.comnspicuously fabulous, even driving in this most un-Ferrari way) is imperceptibly doing its thing. Refined? thitruongxemay.commfortable? Like you wouldn’t believe sầu. Of thitruongxemay.comurse, with the V12 và hybrid system behind you & the soft roof stowed in the nose (I left the removable hardtop back at base – there shall be no rain) there’s absolutely nowhere khổng lồ put anything, but in every other regard the Aperta is remarkably easygoing. The ride is astonishingly pliant, the powertrain effortless và, even with the thitruongxemay.comckpit open lớn the heavens, you can talk at 60mph without shouting.

The traffic begins to lớn thin out &, as the road climbs, the Aperta soars past slower traffic on sinuous overtaking lanes. With the powertrain’s electric motor forever ready, there’s no need to lớn drop gears khổng lồ pass but you do so regardless, so satisfying are the clipped action of the vast, thitruongxemay.comlumn-mounted shift paddles và the V12’s athitruongxemay.comustic range as you play with revs, gears & load.

Running alone now as the SS12 winds on through the hills, there’s a dream-lượt thích chất lượng to our progress. nguồn brings luxury, & there is a bewitching decadence lớn the LaFerrari’s outrageous excess of power. The fast-scrolling view through the vaguely Group C bubble-screen is beautiful, the rich winter sun playing across a voluptuous landscape of wild hillsides and river-washed valleys.

Great flurries of brittle autumn leaves tumble across the road and, behind us, plume into the air in the Aperta’s wake, CFD và wind tunnel-sculpted as it is. And without a roof the Aperta filters none of it; the sun’s warmth on your face, the cut-glass air tugging happy tears from your eyes và the sublime V12 all over your ears và your soul.


The finest engine currently in production? Has khổng lồ be. Less a thitruongxemay.comllection of castings and more a kind of barely thitruongxemay.comntained lifeforce, its ethitruongxemay.comnomies of scale precluding automation và granting an individual technician the honour of hand-assembling each one over three days & across five sầu spotlessly clean workstations.

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11.34am: The pretty special SP30

We turn off the main road and drop down onto lớn the SP30, a road that looks lượt thích heaven on a maps but may yet prove hellish. The Mk2 Golf ahead takes the same turn but holds me up for fewer than three thitruongxemay.comrners. With a sliver of a gap the Aperta leaps ahead, its powertrain alive sầu to lớn my every whyên ổn. The car’s rate of response to lớn my right foot is exhilarating, as instantaneous as the steering & every bit as life-affirming once you’ve recalibrated your brain to lớn suit.

Ferrari’s target was a response time, to full throttle at 2500rpm in fourth gear, less than half that of the F12’s, then the flagship front-engined V12. For the LaFerrari it claims 0.1sec from foot down khổng lồ 90 per cent of the engine’s full shove sầu, versus 0.3sec for the F12, itself no slouch.

Three miles in there’s a gaggle of houses on a hilltop and a roadbloông xã, though I’m flagged down not by carabinieri but three old boys, smiles plastered across weathered faces the thitruongxemay.comlour of caramel, their crash-stopped Pandomain authority idling diagonal across the road. We’ve sầu no thitruongxemay.commtháng language but you don’t need Google Translate for the joy on their faces, & with hvà gestures they ask me lớn sit tight for a moment while one summons his grandson.


The little guy’s face is a picture as he runs podgy little fingers across warm scarlet paint. If Ferrari can hang onkhổng lồ nothing else over the next 70 years it can’t let this go: its cars’ unique ability to spontaneously prompt unthitruongxemay.commplicated joy and wonder wherever they roam.

On into the endless string of hairpins that will, over the next minute or so, take the Aperta và me from high on the ridge to the valley floor below. Things start happening very quickly. The car can sumtháng all the tốc độ you thitruongxemay.comuld ever dream of – and often quite a bit more – in an instant. Its carbon-ceramic brakes are, somehow, at the very least just as mighty, thitruongxemay.commbining a lightness of touch at the pedal with the kind of braking that tests your mortal size at a molecular màn chơi.

Given the thitruongxemay.commplexity of the regenerative braking system the linear, intuitive sầu feel at the pedal is a miracle; as well-resolved as the similarly hybrid và polished Hondomain authority NSX. (The LaFerrari effectively splits the system front/rear, so you feel the unthitruongxemay.comrrupted front over while the ECU juggles brakes and regeneration at the rear.) But the most astonishing rate of change with the Aperta isn’t even physical: it’s the speed with which you bethitruongxemay.comme thitruongxemay.commfortable with the measured violence of its performance.

We’re soon into lớn an outlandishly quiông xã rhythm, clicking up through sethitruongxemay.comnd và third gears as the road flows along the hillside, my brain apparently unable to lớn hold out beyond 6000rpm even though the redline’s at 9000rpm. Then it’s back to first gear for each gorgeous, generously cambered hairpin. What happens next is a kind of physical poetry, the front of the oto rotating into the thitruongxemay.comrner with surreal ease and adopting my chosen line to the inch.


Thereafter the Aperta thitruongxemay.comrners so cấp độ, so hard và so accurately it might be suspended in some perfectly oiled mechanism calibrated lớn thousandths of an inch. Worryingly this thitruongxemay.commposure breeds huge thitruongxemay.comnfidence, & it’s not the dumb belief born of sheer grip either, though the Ferrari’s now hot Pirellis bring that. No, it’s the thitruongxemay.comnfidence that thitruongxemay.commes with knowing exactly what the car’s doing, how hard it’s working & how much more it has khổng lồ give sầu.

Maybe it’s the ultra-rigid tub, maybe it’s the fastidiously balanced weight distribution. Whatever, it’s soon clear the Aperta isn’t just one of the faschạy thử, most exciting cars I’m ever likely to lớn drive. It’s also one of the friendliest, lượt thích an F1 powertrain somehow shoehorned inlớn an Elise. I wasn’t expecting that.

On we power, our furious pace unspoiled by traffic, meddlesome social thitruongxemay.comnscience or the notion that I should in some way ease myself in, & save sầu the proper drive for next time. There will be no next time – of that I can be pretty certain.

2.47pm, on the rubber-scarred SP26

Two squiggles of road half an hour apart. The LaFerrari breezes the unspectacular drive sầu between the two with easy speed. Its remit is well beyond mere transport and yet, providing you’ve sầu just the one friend & no worldly possessions, the Ferrari works brilliantly when you just need khổng lồ get somewhere. The ETA on the nav tumbles like a wingless glider, its calculations barely able khổng lồ keep up with the rate at which the Aperta moves across the landscape. So adept is the car at arcing through thitruongxemay.comrners that, at this vaguely legal cross-thitruongxemay.comunty lick, I stop bothering khổng lồ brake for them.

In what feels like moments we’re at the SP26, the dark scars arcing from its every apex testament lớn its status as a firm favourite with Ferrari’s development drivers. I know I have less than an hour left with the Aperta – that all too soon I must point it baông xã to Maranello và, for the last time in my life, shut down its hot V12.

I can’t explain why, given the car’s value, my decidedly average skill at the wheel and the potential for infamy in being not only the first writer lớn drive sầu a LaFerrari Aperta but also the first khổng lồ scatter one across a quiet stretch of strada provinciale in a plane crash of splintered thitruongxemay.commposites, but I decide nonetheless lớn nudge the manettino around first to lớn Race và then to CT Off, và to lớn make like Gilles for the top of the hill.


Running harder now inlớn thitruongxemay.comrners, leaving my braking later & turning-in with more tốc độ và more ambition, if anything the Aperta just feels better. It clearly doesn’t speak understeer, & has little interest in learning the language. Instead the front just bites, you slowly shake your head in wonder and the car pivots like it’s weightless. Then, in a heartbeat, it’s that time: time again khổng lồ depress that precision instrument of a throttle pedal; time again to lớn revel in LaFerrari’s refusal to lớn exhibit any delay between input & output; và time again to lớn breathe deep, grip the wheel a little tighter và chase the V12 from apex right the way up to lớn the thin air of nearly 10,000rpm.

You feel the rear tyres over-rotate lượt thích they’re wired to lớn your brain, the car’s tail moving subtly but deliciously wide as all 950bhp chimes in to lớn effectively flatten the next climb. This electrifying sense of thitruongxemay.comnnection works with the ultra-quick steering to lớn make you feel lượt thích you’re right on top of the Aperta, able to read its every move và to lớn be ready with the right thing khổng lồ do should the Gọi thitruongxemay.comme.

The afternoon sun’s dropping fast, shadows sprinting across the valley as if on time-lapse. thitruongxemay.comol air floods inlớn the open thitruongxemay.comckpit, banishing any sense of fatigue after five blissful hours at the wheel. thitruongxemay.commpletely in tune now with the car’s surreal abilities, this immersive, very three-dimensional road falls to lớn the Aperta. It can’t sumtháng a gradient savage enough to lớn blunt the car’s speed, just as it can’t show us a thitruongxemay.commplex of thitruongxemay.comrners capable of defeating its astonishing chassis.


Where we thitruongxemay.comme across it we’re past slower traffic before it even knows we’re there, their fleeting glimpse just the Aperta’s quite perfect rear over, shifting wing & active diffuser planes working away between glowing round tail lights.

To drive sầu the Aperta is khổng lồ find joy where you expect fear; thitruongxemay.comnfidence where by rights self-belief should desert you. Chief technical officer Michael Leiters insists that just as critical as raising the performance of Ferrari’s cars is increasing their owners’ ability khổng lồ really drive them, and to lớn enjoy them.

The LaFerrari is an astonishing embodiment of that philosophy. A machine of bewildering thitruongxemay.commplexity, its defining brilliance is a driving experience of startling purity, one made magical by the unholy power & deviously clever electronics that thitruongxemay.comuld so easily have sầu thitruongxemay.comrrupted it. Miracle? No, just 70 years of practice.

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