Meet the new Ferrari 488 Spider; the beating heart of this top-of-the-line convertible may be hidden beneath its sleek, methallic exteriors, but it’s never far from you when you are behind the wheel. You always feel it, you always hear it.
Designed by Ferrari Style Center, the 488’s sculptural forms are radically new, accentuating the car’s sportiness yet retaining the classically clean, pure lines typical of Ferrari’s legendary styling. The styling is honed around its aerodynamic requirements, reflecting the drop-top driving pleasure focus of its sportiness and performance. The supercar has classic Ferrari mid-rear-engined sports car proportions: a short muscular front wing into which the bumper is wedged, which lends the whole front of the car a sense of power and speed, and immediately draws the eye to flanks, featuring new side air intakes for the intercoolers.
The Ferrari 488 Spider marks a formidable return to the classic Ferrari model designation with the 488 in its moniker indicating the engine’s unitary displacement.
But before we even begin talking about the 488 Spider, we need to talk about the 488 GTB. Released forty years after the manufacturer’s first ever mid-rear-engined v8 berlinetta (the 308 GTB), the 488 GTB is a new chapter in Ferrari’s 8-cylinder history. It is at the top of its class in terms of power output, torque and response times and is a new benchmark for this kind of architecture, thanks in part to innovative work carried out on the turbine to reduce friction and inertia.
Historically, there have been always been performance and structural reasons to go with the GTB over the Spider. It would seem that weight penalty, loss that classic Ferrari roof line and of course no peekaboo engine porthole through which one can gaze at this beautiful piece of engineering, were reasonable compromises for an open-air motoring pleasure in a high-performance sports car. But not anymore. It really does seem Ferrari engineering has advanced to the point where the Spider versions are pretty much equal to the Coupe versions. With 95% of the tortional rigidity of the GTB and losing only 0.4 seconds off the 1/4 mile, the Spider is very bit a match for its elder brother. With the added bonus of a retractable hard roof that folds, even when on the move, in less than 14 seconds.
This 2-seater roadster is only 50 kg heavier than its coupe sibling whilst matching the 0-62 mph sprint at three seconds. Beneath the engine cover throbs the 3902 cc turbo-charged V8 that debuted on the 488 GTB. Its performance levels are nothing short of extraordinary: a maximum power output of 670 CV combined with maximum torque of 760 Nm at 3000 rpm send the 488 Spider sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h in three seconds flat and from 0 to 200 km/h in 8.7 seconds. This is also an exceptionally efficient engine as it is not only 100 CV more powerful than the previous naturally-aspirated V8 but also has lower CO2 emissions.
A small glass rear window operates independently of the top and can be lowered to three separate positions to either let more exhaust music in with the top up or, more usefully, to act as a wind blocker with the top down. This is worth it because Ferrari’s engineers dedicated great attention and resources to perfecting the car’s sound, creating a new soundtrack that is full, clear, progressive and totally distinctive.
The Ferrari 488 Spider delivers blistering performance combined with high revs, razor-sharp responsiveness, powerful acceleration at all speeds and an exhilarating soundtrack.
The 488 Spider’s cockpit was designed to underscore Ferrari’s Formula 1-inspired philosophy of creating a seamless relationship between driver and car: the commands not clustered on the steering wheel are on the wraparound satellite pods which are angled directly towards the driver. The new lighter, horizontally more compact dashboard also curves around the cockpit and features ultra-sporty air vents.
The side slip angle control system both monitors and adjusts the car’s handling and control, which includes the adaptive dampers, differential and stability control, making for flawless handling on every type of rode and in every kind of mode. Further contributing to the smooth and controlled acceleration is the fact that the turbos react differently depending on which gear you are in and how hard you are on the go pedal. Light and responsive, the Spider’s dynamic behaviour is effortless on even the most challenging routes.
It’s the kind of the supercar that begs the question (and in every sense of the phrase) – Where do we go from here?