2005 Ferrari 575M Superamerica
By James Riswick
Ferrari introduces a new supercar and the biggest story isÖthe roof? Thatís right, like the Sistine Chapel or SkyDome before it, the Ferrari Superamerica distinguishes itself with an innovative design overhead that takes most of the attention away from its other commendable attributes. And considering this is a V12-powered Ferrari Iím talking about, thatís got to be one hell of a ceiling.
The reason for the Superamericaís roofly goodness can be summed up in one word: Revocromico. In case you donít speak Italian marketing jargon, that describes the inverted L-shaped glass panel that transforms the Superamerica from a coupe into a convertible in 10 seconds. Attached to buttress-style B pillars, the glass targa panel rotates backwards and literally flips its lid to rest flushly atop the trunklid. What was once the coupeís rear window becomes the convertibleís glass wind deflector. The whole set up is an ingenious way to cut down on complexity, weight, space and the time it would normally take to drop a conventional hard or soft top.
The innovation doesnít end there, though. The glass roof panel is layered with sheets of electrochromic film that when charged with different amounts of electricity can differ the amount of tint provided overhead. The five tint settings range from just-about-black to just-about-transparent. When parked, the darkest setting is automatically activated.
The only downsides to the Revocromico arise when itís stowed atop the trunklid. The dark panel looks a little odd set against lighter colors (like the Maranello Red or Ferrari Yellow it will most likely be found in). Also, the dirt and dust that collect after a dayís worth of top-down motoring will end up inside the interior and on the driverís head when the roof is re-closed. Nothing a good Swiffer wonít fix, though.
Besides the roof, the Superamerica is a near-twin of the 575M, which is set to be replaced very soon by the breathtaking new 599 GTB. That means the Superamerica is a little behind the times considering the 575M is based on the 550 Maranello introduced in 1996. It lacks many of the ride, handling and stability control improvements developed by Ferrari for its current crop of F430s and 612 Scagliettis. Although not as sophisticated as its younger brothers, the Superamerica nonetheless exhibits excellent steering precision and a handling balance that encourages oversteer.
Georg Kacher of Britainís CAR magazine described the Superamerica as driving ďlike Ferraris used to drive, totally dedicated but always a little raw, challenging and rewarding all the way to the limit.Ē Unlike the F430 or Scaglietti, thereís no electronic nanny looking over your shoulder.
Power is derived from a 532-hp version of the 575Mís 5.75-litre V12 (versus the 512 horsepower of its fixed-roof sister car) and makes an identical 434 lb-ft of torque. Ferrari quotes an estimated 0-62 mph time of 4.2 seconds. Needless to say, itís fast and youíll revel in the raucous exhaust note coming up and over the Revocromico.
There are two transmission choices: the 6-speed manual or the F1 paddle-shift 6-speed. Even if I could afford the $305,000 needed to place myself in a Superamerica, Iíd still put up with the manualís quaint Italian gated shifter in lieu of throwing down an obscene $10,000 for the paddles. Do I really need to make gear changes in 180 milliseconds?
Although looking a little advanced in years compared to the forthcoming 599 GTB, the Superamerica is still a car that will get you noticed cruising even in the richest haunts like Rodeo Drive or Paris Hiltonís favorite, the Cote díAzur. And as Miss Hilton has shown time and time again, nothing grabs attention like flipping your lid and taking your top off.
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Pictures of the Ferrari 575M Superamerica
Click pictures to enlarge
Posted February 28, 2006
Photos courtesy of
Rsportscars and James Riswick