RE: Ferrari 458 Spider: Review

RE: Ferrari 458 Spider: Review

Thursday 22nd January 2015

Ferrari 458 Spider: Review

So, where's your money going - Maranello or Woking? Ferrari vs McLaren continues...



We tried. With a loan for the 458 Spider long in the diary and the offer of a McLaren 650SSpider around the same time we sniffed a chance to have the two in at the same time and do a bit of a cheeky head to head. We couldn't quite pull it off though. So here's a head to head of sorts, just separated in the actual driving by a couple of weeks.

Prancing horses on your headrests? £720 extra...
Prancing horses on your headrests? £720 extra...
Close enough for the Ferrari to be fresh in our minds on driving the McLaren though and close enough to compare how these ostensibly very similar cars differ more significantly from an emotional perspective.

For all the supposed differences, both companies have reached a remarkably consistent answer to the question of making a convertible mid-engined supercar. They've even settled on the same name. So like the McLaren the 458 Spider retracts its multi-piece targa-style roof panel behind a flat rear deck to leave two free-standing buttresses reminiscent of F1 airboxes. And, again likewise, you've got the appealing halfway house option of keeping the roof up but retracting the rear screen for coupe looks but a dose of Spider soundtrack. In both cases the weight penalty for the topless option is modest too - 40kg for the McLaren and 50kg for the Ferrari.

But we know all that already. Question is, can a 'cooking' 458 Spider still feel special in this age of the Speciale version?

Course it can.

Roof up or down it's a stunning looking machine
Roof up or down it's a stunning looking machine
Non speciale
Any Ferrari is about showing off, the Spider is just completely unashamed about it. Why fight it? And from beginning to end this car is entirely devoted to making you feel good about yourself. Short of offering you a happy ending at the conclusion of each drive its sole purpose is to bolster your self esteem and ego almost to the extent of parody.

Fundamentally it's a really, really good car too. From the second bum hits seat it feels sorted in every respect - the driving position is low-slung and perfect, the seat firm and supportive, the cockpit stylish and driver focused. Some bizarre ergonomics and over-complicated double sided infotainment controls are about the one remaining 'character feature' but forget tales of doubled over Italian driving positions, offset pedals and poor visibility. Genuinely, it has an air of daily usability to match a 911 or R8 without any dilution of the drama or glamour you'd expect of a Ferrari. Seems churlish at this point to mention pricing but, if you fancy a giggle, check out the options prices below. Like the colour? £15,360 to you sir.

Like the colour? That's £15,360 extra please
Like the colour? That's £15,360 extra please
Setting that aside it is, as you'd hope, spectacular to drive. Much has been said of the darty steering of modern Ferraris but though light and pointy at least the front end is consistent and predictable, unlike the oddly mushy and synthetic Lamborghini Huracan. It's quick and easy around town but still precise and positive when pushing on and, like the rest of the car, fills you with confidence about the integrity of the whole package. So what if its structure is sufficiently compromised roof down to send surprising levels of wobble through the steering column? Listen to it!

Points not ban
Special mention for the transmission too, which slurs and purrs its way around town like a torque converter auto yet delivers whip-crack shifts from the paddles with just enough of a jolt to set your pulse racing as you progress to Race on the Manettino and rev it out to 9,000rpm. Do this in anything beyond second gear and you'll be well beyond 'points not ban' territory on most UK roads but such is the sheer visceral thrill it's hard to resist. Especially for the effect it has on passengers.

And after all, isn't that what it should all be about? If an open top Ferrari can't provoke screams of pure excitement from its occupants there's something wrong with the world but, unspeciale or not, the 458 Spider nails its primary objectives.

Sit here and you feel like a hero - job done
Sit here and you feel like a hero - job done
The biggest of which is to make you look like a complete hero. And here's just the hint of a problem with the 458. It makes absolutely no demands of you as a driver, reinforces your sense of entitlement and invincibility and, unchecked, could quickly let arrogance take charge. Philosophical complaints perhaps but, at a more objective level, the competence of the thing is such that without some very serious numbers on the dials it's just all too easy. Even when you do reach the limits the balance and calibration of the controls is such that a slip-road slide is so easily caught and contained - the rotation so perfectly matched with the corrective lock - it's hard to escape the feeling you've been gifted deity levels of driver ability purely by sitting behind a prancing horse. Which is, of course, the Ferrari dream.

Criticising a car for being too good seems odd but your choices with the Spider are either taking massive liberties or opting for a more theatrical style involving lots of attention seeking gearshifts and unnecessarily high revs. Fun in itself, if unlikely to endear you to onlookers.

So. Woking or Maranello? The 458 has always been the more emotive choice, removal of the roof only bolstering the more charismatic attraction of the Ferrari's fabulous normally aspirated engine. And yet, as a driving tool, it seems the 650S survives the loss of its roof with more of its dynamic ability intact, weighs at least 60kg less and achieves the Top Trumps feat of being a genuine 200mph-plus car where the Ferrari tops out just shy of that figure. Numbers though. Ultimately the choice is still going to be an emotional one based on brand loyalties and image. What a dilemma to have, eh?


FERRARI 458 SPIDER
Engine:
4,499cc V8
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 570@9,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 398@6,000rpm
0-62mph: 3.4 sec
Top speed: 199mph
Weight: 1,430kg (dry and fitted with optional forged wheels and 'racing' seats)
MPG: 23.9 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 275g/km
Price: £198,971 (Before options; £244,025 as tested comprising AFS lights £1,239.60, Grigio Silverstone brake calipers £879.60, cruise control £655.20, leather lower zone upholstery £723.60, 'Sabbia' colour matched central tunnel £465.60, 'Daytona style' seats £2,376, front axle lift £2,894.40, prancing horse logos in headrests £720, sport exhaust £432, leather inner grilles £207.60, HELE High Emotion Low Emission £984, iPod integration £579.60, Scuderia shields £1,012.80, sat-nav £2,169.60, rear parking camera £2,274, parking sensors £1,447, Bordeaux seat piping £570, full electric seats £4,030.80, Sabbia leather headlining £672, premium hi-fi system £3,410, Bordeaux colour matched stitching £296.40, tyre pressure warning system £930, Sabbia colour matched trim for upper section of cabin £723.60 and Rosso Maranello ExtraCampionaro paint £15,360)

 

   
 

 

 

 

   
Author
Discussion

nicfaz

Original Poster:

210 posts

160 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
9000 RPM in second or above in a 458 is probably "Ban not points" rather than "Points not ban". Otherwise enjoyable article! I'd have the 650S, but it's a close call...

V8A*ndy

3,565 posts

121 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
Jaysus the paint job is a bit pricey!

Wouldn't like to be touching that up.

Rosso Maranello ExtraCampionaro just sounds wonderful though.

Edited by V8A*ndy on Thursday 22 January 13:33

Ex Boy Racer

1,028 posts

122 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
NA always beats turbocharged. Which is why I went Ferrari!

Mogul

2,327 posts

153 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
http://www.dragtimes.com/2012-Ferrari-458-gear-rat...

Speeds in gear at the above link.

2nd @ 9,000rpm = 66.91mph
3rd @ 9,000rpm = 89.9mph (equates to 143.8km/h and if you're a Swiss, it could mean a years' free accommodation (the prescribed minimum sentence for >60km/h on top of the national 80km/h limit).

Davey S2

11,741 posts

184 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
Ex Boy Racer said:
NA always beats turbocharged. Which is why I went Ferrari!
Agreed.

Although you can use either of these everyday they are still most likely to be used for high days and holidays and for sub 5000 miles a year. That means it has to feel really special every time you drive it and as good as the McLaren is I think I'd be more excited seeing the 458 when I opened the garage door.

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MIP1983

179 posts

135 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
Pretty much automotive perfection.

kultsch88

70 posts

96 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
I would be genuinely interested to know how they work out the prices they're going to charge for the optional extras.

Do they just pluck a number from the air and multiply by cost of purchase/manufacture?

Baffled

161BMW

1,545 posts

95 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
Automotive perfection!

This should be used everyday as a daily. That's what I call living the life!

:-)

k-ink

9,070 posts

109 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
As much as I like to support British companies, I'd have to take the Ferrari. The looks and sound just seem far more sexy.

The Crack Fox

12,938 posts

122 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
No video of Harris doing massive skids in one?

griffdude

1,434 posts

178 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
Whats this option about???

HELE High Emotion Low Emission £984

Schnellmann

1,893 posts

134 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
kultsch88 said:
I would be genuinely interested to know how they work out the prices they're going to charge for the optional extras.

Do they just pluck a number from the air and multiply by cost of purchase/manufacture?

Baffled
Price is based on how much customers are willing to pay and not cost of supply. The very high price is likely to make the special colours rare and exclusive and that is what the buyers are paying for.

mwstewart

5,093 posts

118 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
This is really interesting. The F430 Spider was praised as being within a near indistinguishable level of rigidity to the coupe. There is zero scuttle shake or column wobble in mine.

I find it really hard to believe that Ferrari would go backwards like that!

Schnellmann

1,893 posts

134 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
Mogul said:
http://www.dragtimes.com/2012-Ferrari-458-gear-rat...

Speeds in gear at the above link.

2nd @ 9,000rpm = 66.91mph
3rd @ 9,000rpm = 89.9mph (equates to 143.8km/h and if you're a Swiss, it could mean a years' free accommodation (the prescribed minimum sentence for >60km/h on top of the national 80km/h limit).
Had a test drive of a 458 coupe in Switzerland. Most annoying drive of my life. About one to two seconds on the loud pedal followed by a healthy shove on the brakes to avoid speeding.

V8A*ndy

3,565 posts

121 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
griffdude said:
Whats this option about???

HELE High Emotion Low Emission £984
Stop start.



mark3man

238 posts

141 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
I put the price with all those options into the 'apply for a loan' box below the article. Am just back on-line. Ought to be good for that sort of money......

Amirhussain

10,493 posts

93 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
Beautiful. I'd have mine in yellow..

Centurion07

6,819 posts

177 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
nicfaz said:
9000 RPM in second or above in a 458 is probably "Ban not points" rather than "Points not ban". Otherwise enjoyable article! I'd have the 650S, but it's a close call...
article said:
Do this in anything beyond second gear and you'll be well beyond 'points not ban' territory on most UK roads

supercampeao

196 posts

97 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
mwstewart said:
This is really interesting. The F430 Spider was praised as being within a near indistinguishable level of rigidity to the coupe. There is zero scuttle shake or column wobble in mine.

I find it really hard to believe that Ferrari would go backwards like that!
I thought that too. No wobble in my 430 either. Would be v surprised if 458 suffers from this...

cayman-black

6,779 posts

146 months

Thursday 22nd January 2015
quotequote all
Nearly £50k in options! crazy. My Modena new in 2003 had £5k of options.