RE: Ferrari 488 Spider: Driven

RE: Ferrari 488 Spider: Driven

Tuesday 13th October 2015

Ferrari 488 Spider: Driven

The best of both worlds or a Ferrari for posers not PHers? Time to find out!



Would you ever consider buying a Ferrari Spider? If you care about driving - chances are you do as a PHer - then probably not, because all too often the glorious looks (or otherwise) are at the expense of dynamics. 550 Barchetta over a Maranello? 360 Spider over a coupe? Exactly. Something like a 275 GTS would make a lovely classic roadster, but for actual driving the coupe is always preferable, right?


The 488 should change that. Really. Torsional stiffness is identical to the GTB and 23 per cent improved over the 458. Weight is only up 50kg over the coupe. So confident is Ferrari in the structural integrity of the Spider that the spring and damper rates are carried over unchanged from the GTB. This should be - cliche alert - the best of both worlds, a roadster with open-top thrills and hardtop dynamics. The dream scenario so often promised and seldom delivered. The high with no comedown. The gain without pain. The Ferrari Spider that drives like a Ferrari Berlinetta. With something like the 488 as a base car, that's a tantalising prospect.

Direct, back to back comparisons with the coupe will have to wait for an opportunity to do exactly that. For now though, it can be said the 488 Spider is exceptional, truly exceptional. Its composure, precision and resolve are phenomenal, remaining unflustered over some terrible Italian roads. These were deliberately chosen by Ferrari to demonstrate just how capable the 488 is and how the structure really can cope. Bar a very slight shimmy or two through the steering column over a few really abrasive imperfections at, er, some speed, it's unflappable. And damn impressive.


Bigger window
Knowing that allowances don't have to be made as a Spider, the 488's myriad talents can really be exploited and enjoyed. The damping is exquisite; fluid and relaxed but with flawless body control. I fell asleep in the passenger seat for 30km, so settled is the ride. With the roof down. The brakes too are gorgeous, with huge performance and absolute faith in the response from the top of the pedal. Before even 3,000rpm is breached, the 488 is already seducing with huge dynamic talent and charm.

And beyond 3,000rpm? Hold on. Really tight. The 488 is obscenely fast, from comfortably below those revs in fact. Lag is genuinely imperceptible, the 3.9-litre V8 immediately reacting to the smallest inputs at very few revs. But the way it builds speed leaves you in no doubt as to its turbocharged roots, the onslaught of speed quite shocking. But it still goes so hard all the way to 8,000rpm, getting faster and faster until all those shift lights illuminate and you thwack into the limiter. If you're feeling brave the Spider can comfortably, almost nonchalantly accommodate. What on earth must a LaFerrari be like?


We knew a 488 was fast though. And responsive. But what about the noise? A huge concern for both buyers and Ferrari, because what's a Spider without a soundtrack? Flat-plane crank, two turbos, ever stricter drive-by regulations... everything is stacked against the 488 Spider. It's certainly loud, and the turbo whooshes and gargles add another dimension, but it's hard to describe it as a thrilling noise. Where the old V8s howl, this one blares. Nape very much unprickled, sadly. Perhaps a churlish complaint given what Ferrari has to work with - and other journalists will disagree - but it's an inescapable point. The Lamborghini Huracan Spyder will surely hold an advantage here. Sorry.

No bull?
But will that carry over to the dynamics? Here the Huracan may face a tougher task. Climbing up endless hairpins in the Italian countryside, the Spider is joyous; the gearbox is impeccable, so you brake as late as you dare and know the gear will be selected. Turn-in is quick but feels entirely natural, the car never caught out by the steering's fast response. Then out of the bend the traction is magnificent, all the electronics collaborating to make the driver feel like an absolute hero. Race mode permits a little wiggle even for when 670hp and slackened traction control don't feel wise. Wonderful.


It's even good with the roof - apologies, Retractable Hard Top - up. The interior suddenly feels very dark but the refinement is superb and the engine sound is improved too, less shouty and allowing the intake noise a more prominent role. It's a very, very hard car to find fault with, the 488, and a very easy one to be completely beguiled by. Arguably a McLaren 650S has a more attractive interior and more pleasant steering, but the Ferrari is a stunningly complete package.

The best of both worlds then? It could well be. The 488 Spider may still face the stigma of being a convertible Ferrari, but it is no longer encumbered by the dynamic compromises of being a convertible Ferrari. Those who have driven both cite barely any difference, something that can hopefully be proven with a direct comparison. Until then, the 90 per cent of Ferrari Spider customers who have never had a coupe and use it mainly for trips out with their partner (yes they do, the Ferrari research says so) will adore the 488. And those who have never considered a Spider may well want to think about changing their minds.


FERRARI 488 SPIDER
Engine
: 3,902cc V8, twin-turbo
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 670@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 560@3,000rpm
0-62mph: 3.0sec
Top Speed: 203mph
Weight: 1,420kg (with "lightweight options")
MPG: 24.8mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 260g/km
Price: £204,400













Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

794 posts

152 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Ooh yes. Now this is a car I'd love to own. To all who would accuse one of being a poser I'd simply reply "I enjoy my life, hope you enjoy yours"!

epom

5,879 posts

95 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Wow, very Enzo-esque smile

DeltaEvo2

701 posts

126 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
The WANT is too big to describe it. smile

mnx42

199 posts

97 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
That is simply gorgeous.

ecs0set

2,049 posts

218 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
The suggestion at the top of the article is that PHers prioritise driving dynamics above all else and would never consider a convertible over the hardtop version as a result. That seems a little disrespectful to the diversity of PHers. Perhaps PH Towers should spend a little more time sampling wind-in-the-hair motoring to appreciate that sometimes, sacrifices are appropriate?
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smilo996

1,428 posts

104 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Yar but the Porschar 911 Targa looks much better and it has 4 seats.

That is quite an article. There seems to be no downside at all. Tweeked exhaust would sort the noise.

Beautiful and avoids having much too large an arse like the Testrossa and 911.

LankyLegoHead

745 posts

66 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Lovely car, but unfortunately the image of this sector of "Supercar" has been tarnished.


Coming to a "Rental Car crash" thread near you, expect some moderate racist remarks.

MitchT

12,101 posts

143 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
ecs0set said:
The suggestion at the top of the article is that PHers prioritise driving dynamics above all else and would never consider a convertible over the hardtop version as a result. That seems a little disrespectful to the diversity of PHers. Perhaps PH Towers should spend a little more time sampling wind-in-the-hair motoring to appreciate that sometimes, sacrifices are appropriate?
I agree. PHers love a good exhaust note and you can hear it so much better from the cockpit of an open car. As far as driving dynamics are concerned ... How often do you get to drive at the extreme where the tiny margin of variance in driving dynamics between the hard top and convertible come into play anyway?

burningdinos

122 posts

55 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
smilo996 said:
Yar but the Porschar 911 Targa looks much better and it has 4 seats some space in the back for things.
Fixed it for you wink
Seat two average-sized people in the front, and even a child will struggle to fit the legs back there.

crostonian

2,427 posts

106 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Bloody hell Mr Bird I've never read an article with so many superlatives! We have; flawless, exquisite, exceptional, phenomenal, unflappable, impressive, gorgeous, joyous, impeccable, magnificent, wonderful and superb - all in one article!

oldtimer2

632 posts

67 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
An impressive review. But how many will get owners who will drive them as intended by Ferrari`s engineers and how many will be tucked away by owners under a dust sheet to appreciate in value as intended by Ferrari`s shareholders?

crostonian

2,427 posts

106 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
oldtimer2 said:
An impressive review. But how many will get owners who will drive them as intended by Ferrari`s engineers and how many will be tucked away by owners under a dust sheet to appreciate in value as intended by Ferrari`s shareholders?
Don't think they'll be appreciating in value for a long while and what difference does that make to Ferrari shareholders?

Jex

404 posts

62 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
There are other reasons for having a convertible or a targa - I can't get out of a coupe in my garage - I have to take the roof off!
Jex

bencollins

3,071 posts

139 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Old git mode: modern ferraris look great until you see someone sitting in them and then you realise they are scaled wrongly, spray on 25% shrinking spray and they would be nice again.

nightflight

782 posts

151 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
I've got one friend who has ordered one, and another who says he's going to order one. I'm looking forward to this.

soad

29,149 posts

110 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Perfect for wind in the hair thrills, more sound too.

russy01

3,995 posts

115 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
nightflight said:
I've got one friend who has ordered one, and another who says he's going to order one. I'm looking forward to this.
Ive got a friend too wink

RamboLambo

4,843 posts

104 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Want a supercar spider then there is only one choice - McLaren 650S spider. Once you have driven a carbon tubbed car anything else is simply inferior no matter how much stiffening they attempt.

There is zero compromise between a McLaren coupe and spider, the rigidity and build quality is simply awesome in comparison to any Ferrari.

Huracan spider sounds nice but to have a cloth roof in todays retractable hard top market place is seriously behind the times and compromises the roof up look.

McLaren 650S spider is undoubtedly the best all rounder car with carbon tub for rigidity, active aero for handling/performance and hydraulic suspension for sublime handling. Its the complete supercar unlike its seriously flawed Italian rivals

Flashmurder

38 posts

79 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Oh my gosh that thing is simply stunning. If I could afford a Ferrari it would 100% be a spider. Less metal between myself and that filthy noise.

mwstewart

5,182 posts

122 months

Tuesday 13th October 2015
quotequote all
Author must have a short memory: the 360 and F430 Spiders were nearly indistinguishable from their Berlinetta counterparts, hence praised as such and selling in greater numbers than models before.

The floppy 458 Spider went back on the development of the prior platform, so I'm slightly suspicious of the 488 spider model due to it being based on the compromised (for a Spider) 458.