What Makes the Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M So Timeless?

Scuderia Spider 16M 7 photos
Photo: Fusion Luxury Motors
The iPod Touch docking station makes for great audioForm over function, but what more do you need?Aggressive and still more attractive than the 458Almost all 16M were ordered with the Tricolore stripeBig carbon ceramics were standard equipmentThis diffuser is straight from the racetrack
Brutal, uncompromising, and loud are usually derogatory descriptions of normal cars, but Ferrari chose to exemplify such aspects of this limited-edition supercar.
Instead of simply removing content to build a street legal race car, this one changed the world. Built to honor Ferrari’s 16th Constructor’s Championship in Formula 1, only 499 examples of the 16M were offered. Each one should come with a warning, because they are not for the timid. It all begins when you open the door.

Those sills and rocker panels are made of RTM, a sturdy plastic that is also paper thin. This race-weight composite is also used for the front and rear bumpers, something that wouldn’t pass today’s stringent impact laws. Once inside, you are exposed to aluminum floors that are welded directly to the frame rails. In fact, Alcoa welded the seams and reinforced the chassis to such a degree that the car is quite confident over broken pavement. If you want carpet, you chose the wrong machine. Carbon fiber makes up most of the interior, which is not insulated for heat or sound. While the 458 Speciale A might have more power, it isn’t as raw as this car.

Form over function, but what more do you need\?
Photo: Fusion Luxury Motors
This becomes evident when you awaken the 4.3-liter V8. It makes use of a 11.9:1 compression ratio to offer 503 horsepower and 346 lb-ft (470 Nm). It all starts with a carbon fiber airbox that feeds a tunnel ram. Each cylinder has its own intake trumpet that is polished by hand, a skill largely forgotten in this automated world. In order to craft the perfect exhaust note, engineers eliminated the first pair of catalytic converters. A benefit of having such a high compression ratio is that the exhaust is much cleaner. The next step was eliminating all the baffles in the mufflers to offer 20% better flow than the base model. Not only is the 16M more vocal than the 458 Speciale, the solid engine mounts make sure your body resonates along with it.

You honestly don’t need an audio system, so that’s why Ferrari included a 16GB iPod Touch where the radio should be. It even came loaded with clips of classic Ferraris, so you can enjoy the revs without scaring your neighbors. When you are ready for a drive, you can lower Ferrari’s last soft top. It offers a lower center of gravity compared to a folding hard top, and unlike the 458 you can see your engine 24/7 thanks to the acrylic window on the deck lid. This pristine example headlines the collection at Fusion Luxury Motors, and it could be yours!

Once you are ready for a drive, adjust your mirrors because the seat height is fixed. A thin layer of Alcantara over carbon fiber shells has cut-outs for your racing harness, and they're a great way to keep strangers from getting comfortable behind the wheel.

Big carbon ceramics were standard equipment
Photo: Fusion Luxury Motors
Getting out on the road, you will notice the transmission has one mode: Winning! Their last single-clutch automatic used F1 internals to shift in 60 ms, something the 458 could never replicate. Known as SuperFast2, no Ferrari since has been as quick between gears.

Should you want to hang it out, the 16M took a page from big brother 599. The C/T mode disables traction control while keeping the stability system active. It isn’t as intrusive as the Side Slip Control that arrived on the 458, just another reason why this car demands respect at all times. Newer cars have magnetic suspension that reacts instantly, but it will never feel as confident as the 16M’s track-ready shocks.

This is where Ferrari collectors are sharply divided. On paper, the 458 is faster, stops better, and it has all the latest technology. There is nothing wrong with being all things to all people, but in doing so the 458 series is unremarkable. Having driven both, they each have a target audience on opposite ends of the spectrum, but the 16M’s character along with its rarity have cemented its place in automotive history.

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