For 2004, the Spyder utilises Maserati’s electronic variable-rate damping, called Skyhook, as standard. The settings of the aluminium dampers is modified in real time based on driving conditions. Adjustment is in real time thanks to the Skyhook automatic damping control system using special proportional solenoids. Skyhook comprises a system of accelerometers, and a control unit that processes the data and governs the adjustable dampers. There are six acceleration sensors: three record the movements of the car body and are positioned in the front and right rear damper struts, two are inside the hubs of the front wheels and a lateral acceleration sensor is in the front part of the chassis.
The information from the various accelerometers makes it possible to establish the movement of the wheels and the car body precisely and to calculate the ideal setting for each damper instantly by acting on the proportional valve of the damper. When one of the sensors on the front wheels detects the presence of an obstacle it sends a signal to the control unit which compares it with the movements of the car body and adapts the suspension damping accordingly.
The Skyhook system, developed with Mannesmann-Sachs and fine tuned by Maserati, is 10 times faster than other systems available to date. It dramatically improves drive quality by adjusting suspension response – and hence the car's response – ideally and actively in all circumstances, resulting in optimal body control and outstanding comfort. In addition to this type of automatic adjustment, the driver can also decide at any time to select different performance parameters. The basic damper setting can be set to two different levels, Normal and Sport, by using the switch on the dash.
One of the most important innovations in the Spyder 2004 range is the introduction of the Maserati Stability Programme (MSP), which is now fitted as standard on all models. The MSP integrates the ABS, ASR, MSR and EBD functions by acting on the brakes and the engine to help the driver control the vehicle even in the most extreme conditions. When the Cambiocorsa system is fitted, the system is also connected to the transmission in order to adapt gear change strategy to driving style. The driver can deactivate the MSP system using a special button on the centre console. For maximum safety, MSP is engaged automatically every time the engine is started.
The MSP system has two different levels of intervention, Normal and Sport, which are selected by the same button that controls the operating level of the suspension and the Cambiocorsa transmission:
- Normal enhances stability in relation to road surface conditions
- Sport focuses on performance, the traction control management moderating engine output less intensively
Spyder 2004 models also enjoy more refined dynamic characteristics which give the car even sportier handling on the road. New calibrations for the Skyhook suspension system, together with recalibrated dampers, springs and anti-roll bars, plus more direct, precise steering and new tyres push the car even flatter onto the road, improve lateral grip and make the driving experience even more accurate and enjoyable.
The Spyder's standard wheels are light alloy with a 15-spoke design (8.0J x 18 inch at the front, 9.5J x 18 inch rear) with 235/40 Z 18 tyres at the front and 265/35 Z 18 rear.