By Joseph Moss – International Banker
Don’t ever, ever call the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta a roadster. If you do, all the Ferrari purists will lose their minds. What you could call it instead is beautiful, because it is. Look at it. Every shape, crease and edge a young boy can imagine is on it. In fact, it is just like the normal LaFerrari, only without the roof—or to say it more accurately, with a carbon fiber or a soft cloth roof. But with a V12 screaming at the back, few would bother to drive it with it on.
It is expensive, but we do not know how much. It is also limited, but we do not know to how many units. And it is all sold out, but we do not know to whom. What we do know is that Ferrari did a good job matching the lunacy and extremism of the Aperta to the Ferrari LaFerrari coupe.
They wanted to do something logical—keep all the technical characteristics of the LaFerrari on the Aperta as well. That required a lot of scientific work. The aerodynamics, for example, had to be altered. For that matter, the wind restrictor acts out two roles. It is, well, a wind restrictor but also an aerodynamic feature improving the overall aero efficiency. Actually, Ferrari engineers almost fully succeeded in keeping the lower part of the car aesthetically unchanged. The only changes visible are above the waistline. The windshield frame and the part behind the seats are slightly altered. However, a keen eye may spot redesigned vortex generators, small L-shaped surfaces on the windscreen and a slightly changed front end. As a result, the LaFerrari Aperta has the same aero efficiency as the LaFerrari.
The next challenge was to keep the torsional rigidity and the stiffness at the same level of the LaFerrari. They made significant modifications to the chassis. More or less, Ferrari integrated a bit more support on the lower end of the car. After all, some of the stress and absorption during drive was taken through the roof, so a new supporting structure compensates the lack of it. Despite gaining a few pounds, the LaFerrari Aperta manages to be as stiff and rigid as its closed brother. And it surely continues to be as fast as the hybrid system with 963 hp, enough to push it above 218 mph. Even more impressive is the fact that the LaFerrari Aperta can catch 62 mph in less than three seconds and 124 mph in 7.1 seconds. Quite a machine, isn’t it? As expected, Ferrari engineers did not tinker with the hybrid system at all. It continues to use a powerful 800 hp 6.3 liter V12 and 120kW electric motor. A small e motor is seamlessly integrated with the F1 DCT transmission and is the one responsible for delivering high torque at low ICE rpms. Look again at the performance; it works.
While this Ferrari is a masterpiece of design and a representation of all that can be achieved when money is not a factor, the Paris Motor Show saw yet another fantastic sports cabriolet. Yes, Ferrari wowed the Paris crowds at the same time as the Mercedes-AMG revealed their stunning GT C Roadster. You can call the AMG car a roadster! They are calling it that, and no one will be cross even if you say it’s a convertible. It is expensive at $150,000, but that is more than 10 times less than what one would pay for the LaFerrari. It is not limited—
everyone who wants one can have one. And the people who are buying it are not that important for us to Google their names. So the AMG GT Roadster and the AMG GT C Roadster are not actually in the same ballpark as the LaFerrari Aperta, but make no mistake—this car is perfect.
Mercedes-AMG revealed two: one with 469 hp, and the other with 549 hp. It is quite remarkable how much of a car one can get for a 10th, or a 20th, of the price of the most expensive Ferrari. The AMG GT Roadster is not a soft car. It may have a soft top, but it is a performer and in the GT C Roadster guise, quite an angry performer. The best way to differentiate these two is to say that the GT Roadster is perfect for cruising the Mediterranean coastal roads, while the GT C Roadster is perfect for “cruising” round the Nürburgring.
But first things first! Mercedes-AMG also needed to rework the GT as Ferrari needed to rework the LaFerrari. The soft top, which by the way looks fantastic, consists of three layers of fabric. The construction holding it together consists of aluminum, magnesium and steel frame. This is a light roof. So light, in fact, it can open or close in 11 seconds. This is seriously fast. True, by the time the roof opens or closes, the AMG GT C Roadster would be only a few feet away from crossing the quarter-of-a-mile mark. But no one would do a drag race while opening the roof, would they?
Apart from making the roof structure extremely light, Mercedes-AMG did keep the weight down with the composite boot lid, aluminum wishbones and light wheels. That, however, was enough to keep the AMG GT Roadster only 110 pounds heavier than the AMG GT. The AMG GT C Roadster, on the other hand, is a whopping 220 pounds heavier compared to the AMG GT S. Why?
Well, the AMG GT C Roadster had its fair share of tech installed. Apart from the more powerful engine even compared with the AMG GT S, the GT C Roadster sourced the tech from the AMG GT R. The body kit is quite different compared to the AMG GT Roadster. Large front intakes, wider fenders, wider rear track and a massive rear diffuser point in one direction—the track. The car even has AMG performance exhaust, electronic diff and four-wheel steering. All of it from the daddy: the AMG GT R. All this incorporated makes the AMG GT C Roadster quite a monster. 62 mph in 3.7 seconds, and top speed of 196 mph. Lesser cars can do 62 mph in four seconds flat and 188 mph. Not bad, either.
All in all, these two beauties, although from different price and market segments, share a few things in common—beauty, rebel character and courage not many other cars can have. Enjoy them.