Ferrari 575M Superamerica

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Limited Edition 575M Superamerica

The Pininfarina-designed Ferrari Superamerica combines Ferrari 12-cylinder berlinetta power with a highly original, innovative take on the convertible concept. The Superamerica is the first production car to employ an innovative rotating roof movement in combination with electrochromic technology developed exclusively for glass surfaces of these dimensions with Saint Gobain.

The Fioravanti-patented electric rotating roof movement allows the Superamerica driver to drop the top in 10 seconds flat, making it the world’s fastest convertible berlinetta (200 mph top speed).

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Derived from the 575M Maranello, the Superamerica is available with either an F1-style or manual gearbox. Its big 12-cylinder engine has been boosted to deliver 540 bhp too. The new car can also be fitted with the GTC Handling package which offers Ferrari’s very latest high-tech features including carbon ceramic brakes.

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The Superamerica’s unusual electric roof has been dubbed Revocromico to highlight the unique combination of its rearward rotation movement and electrochromic technology. It has a carbon-fibre structure and the boot capacity remains unchanged whether the roof is open or closed too. The glass rear window also acts as a highly effective wind deflector when the roof is open.

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The use of electrochromic glass means that the driver can completely control the level of light entering the cockpit. There are five tint levels available and the glass can go from dark to light in under a minute, at the touch of a button.

What at first might seem to be the gimmicky gilding of an aged lily turns out to be just the right flourish for a car that has aged like a good malt whisky. The point may be infinitely arguable, but we’d assert that the 575 Maranello is the most enjoyable current Ferrari, more relaxed than the F430 yet more svelte than the 612 Scaglietti. The Superamerica’s flashy top, as well as its other, lesser modifications, makes it even more of a pleasure-mobile than the standard 575.

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We drove the Superamerica in Monaco, which, like most locales in which Ferraris gather in number, is a place where seeing and being seen are major pastimes. In the Superamerica, the fun starts after just seven seconds, which is the time it takes the electrochromatic, laminated-glass roof to fling itself back onto the deck lid (after a quick yank of the parking brake and a release of the handle on the windshield header).

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Not only is the fancy flip top fast-acting, but its integrated rear window, which pivots around but remains in place, acts as a wind blocker, protecting your artfully mussed hair from the ignominy of natural mussing. Because the open top lies on top of the carbon-fiber deck lid (without interfering with its operation), trunk space is undiminished. When the top is up and it’s shade rather than sun that you seek, a dial on the console turns the glass from pale green to dark blue, thereby blocking 99.5 percent of the heat and much of the light. The car also does this automatically when shut off, to keep the interior from baking.

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It would be a shame to let the sun roast the acres of soft leather lining this lovely cabin. Ours had a tiny T-bar on the console, for engaging reverse with Ferrari’s F1A transmission. A button alongside selects the much-improved auto mode, which is just the thing for slogging through the prerace madness in Monte Carlo. Only a handful of the 559 cars to be built will be equipped with the manual six-speed.

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Scribbled on December 20th 2007 in Ferrari, Ferrari 575M
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