RE: Ferrari 488 Spider: UK Review

RE: Ferrari 488 Spider: UK Review

Sunday 30th October 2016

Ferrari 488 Spider: UK Review

Italian sunshine gone and British autumn in, how does the 488 fare?



Perhaps more than any other brand, the experience of a Ferrari is about so much more than the driving. A curious point to make given the current calibre of cars maybe, but you don't need to go fast in a Ferrari - or indeed drive at all - to adore the car and the fanfare that comes with it.

Pretty car. Very pretty car.
Pretty car. Very pretty car.
In our weekend with the 488 Spider we had chats in traffic jams, at petrol stations and at a Sunday Service; a man in a van wanted it revved up in a services; a Qashqai driver beamed after hearing it through Holmesdale tunnel and a lady kissed the car, wishing it good luck on Fulham high street. Kids sprint over to see it and even stoic middle-aged men can't help but raise a smile. For making you feel good, for showing that cars can still make people happy, just being in the presence of a 488 Spider works a treat.

Part of that will come from how it looks - it really is a beautiful car. The £7,104 optional Blu Corsa paint will contribute, but there's enough LaFerrari influence in this new look to make people stop and stare at the 488. Previous modern Ferraris have arguably been too much about the science at the expense of true style; here Maranello appears to have struck the perfect balance.

However what if you're the kind of Ferrari customer who wants to actually drive your 488 Spider, rather than just admire it? Signs from last year's launch were encouraging, the car apparently eradicating the dreaded shake that has afflicted so many drop-top Ferraris. But the British B-road has been the undoing of many a fast car in the past, including one notable Italian recently...

Welcome aboard...
Welcome aboard...
Shut up and drive
Sadly enough, the 488 Spider isn't quite as dazzling on the B1117 just outside Framlingham as it was in Emilia-Romagna. The creaks, tremors and wobbles that were so tricky to uncover back then rear their ugly heads at much lower commitment levels now, the steering column in particular suffering for a lack of rigidity. It's bizarre given how convincing the car felt then, plus Ferrari's claim that the car has identical torsional stiffness to the GTB. Smaller bumps are typically dealt with by the very clever magneto-rheological dampers, but larger imperfections or successive bumps see you backing off as the body doesn't feel able to keep pace.

Which is a shame, because it undermines both confidence and fun in what is largely a fabulous car. Predominantly this is due to what's been carried over from the Berlinetta, a point we'll return to. The twin-turbo V8 - 2016 Engine of the Year, no less - is even more astonishing after greater exposure, its effervescence, razor sharp response and staggering performance without rival in this world of new-school turbos. It's very nearly the perfect turbo installation, offering huge low-down torque but also, thanks to Ferrari's Variable Torque Management and an 8,000rpm power peak, an incentive to chase every last rev and every last shift light. Perhaps that last percentile of feral energy from the old V8s may have been lost, but if this is how Ferrari V8s now have to be then you'll find no complaints from us.

Worried about Ferrari turbo V8s? Don't be!
Worried about Ferrari turbo V8s? Don't be!
And what of the noise? Away from the isolated bubble of a launch event (where comparisons will inevitably be made to its predecessor) and in the real world of diesel Transits and hybrid Priuses, the 488 sounds fantastic. Again it's a case of spending more time with the car, hearing the odd crack from the exhaust and the turbos spooling, that make it seem more thrilling than on first experience. A few tunnels may have helped too. Put it this way: while a Huracan V10 may still be more exciting, Ferrari's integration of turbos for its V8 is more successful in terms of retaining the naturally aspirated sound than the efforts of M Power, Honda, and perhaps even Aston Martin.

Wibble wobble
Certainly with the roof down and the sun coming up, the exhaust howling with each downshift and the outrageous speed, it's hard to think of many better four-wheeled experiences. Until you hit a mid-corner bump. Any large bump, in fact. Despite the flex issues though, what Ferrari has done so well with both the 488 Spider and GTB is to make 670hp not only approachable, but exploitable and enjoyable as well. The way the manettino settings, Side Slip Control 2, F1-Trac and E-Diff are all calibrated and integrated to allow you to push the car and yourself as far as you feel comfortable is a mighty achievement. Traction is huge given the power output, but Race mode allows a degree of slip that works fantastically on the road. It challenges you but keeps you safe, massages your ego but never lets you get complacent. It's stunning, in fact.

Ferrari the master of configurable settings
Ferrari the master of configurable settings
The brakes are excellent, whether you're going for a confidence dab or trying to imitate a Ferrari Challenge driver. And it's geared sensibly too - third in this runs to the same speed as second in a Cayman - meaning you can be up and down gears on a B-road and having an absolute riot. The 488 Spider is as engaging, as involving and as exhilarating as any sports car you care to mention, only with 670 flippin' horsepower.

Two's company
But Ferrari will tell you that Spiders are not made for early morning solo drives; that's what the GTB is for. The drop-tops are for more sedate drives with company which, wouldn't you know, the 488 excels at. As my dear mother so neatly opined on a 70mph cruise: "It don't mess your hair up much, do it?" a credit to the air management when the Retractable Hard Top is lowered. The seats are comfortable, the stereo is great and passengers can even keep an eye on your speed with the display similar to that seen in the GTC4 Lusso. The roof raises or lowers swiftly on the move, making it a very refined cruiser one way or ultimate poser's choice the other without having to slow to a crawl. Also handy if your Nan wants to go out and it starts raining. The sense of occasion and theatre is fantastic - as you might reasonably expect for an as tested price of £282,728 - and when driving at lower commitment levels the Spider is pretty damn convincing and very easy to love.

Not perfect, but extremely good nontheless
Not perfect, but extremely good nontheless
Which, let's be honest, is what the car will be used for. Arguably the 488 Spider is already better than it needs to be, despite the dynamic gap between it and the GTB being greater than first appeared. As a convertible for turning heads, attracting attention and flooding the driver with adrenaline, the 488 might just be the best around. But for a drop-top super sports car that more closely retains the dynamic integrity of the coupe, McLaren's carbon-tubbed McLaren 650S is a more convincing effort. And for perhaps the best car that £200,000 or so has ever bought, the 488 GTB remains totally compelling. What a decision to have to make.


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: 24.8 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 260g/km
Price: £204,400 (£282,728 as tested, comprising Apple CarPlay £2,400; Adaptive Frontlight System £1,440; Aluminium brake calipers £864; carbon fibre engine compartment £4,512, carbon fibre B-pillar trim £2,112; carbon fibre diffuser £5,472; carbon fibre sill cover £4,896; carbon fibre driving zone inc. LEDs £4,320; carbon fibre 'tunnel bridge' £1,632; carbon fibre door panels £3,396; carbon fibre kick plates £1,152; carbon fibre upper tunnel £2,304; carbon fibre dash inserts £3,840; embroidered headrests £720; titanium exhaust £1,440; carbon fibre front spoiler £4,320; floormats with embroidered logo £768; Scuderia Ferrari wing shields £1,056; electrochromic mirrors £960; parking cameras £3,456; passenger display £2,592; special colour £7,104; 20-inch chromed forged wheels £3,552; aluminium rev counter £557; Daytona carbon fibre race seats £6,144; sport seat lifter £1,440; premium hi-fi system £3,552; colour on request for seat stitching £432; interior colour for upper part of passegener compartment £1,344)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images: Chris Teagles

 

Author
Discussion

E65Ross

Original Poster:

20,056 posts

140 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
I'd probably take the McLaren given the choice. Can't believe that had £80k of options on....mind you, most of that is carbon fibre tat you don't really need.

GranCab

1,085 posts

74 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Price: £204,400 (£282,728 as tested, comprising Apple CarPay £2,400 ... deliberate typo ? wink

Raudus42

132 posts

61 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Nice - but as mentioned already...£78k for make-up??? That's leg-lifting of the highest order.

I'd love to walk into a dealership and place an order for one with no options just to see the salesman's face. And ask for a discount. Then ask them to supply all those bits non fitted to the car so you can get them dipped for about £400.

Edited by Raudus42 on Wednesday 26th October 14:41

BlackPorker

266 posts

103 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
GranCab said:
Price: £204,400 (£282,728 as tested, comprising Apple CarPay £2,400 ... deliberate typo ? wink
Nope, it's a new system developed by Apple. You simply drive past a car you like and hit the CarPay button. It will then be automatically purchased and delivered to your mansion ready for you when you get home.

Cold

4,108 posts

18 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Is it worthwhile for an aftermarket tuner to begin their research into a bulkhead repair solution right now or should they wait a few years?
Advertisement

TaylotS2K

1,010 posts

135 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
It's certainly no Huracan in the looks department is it?

Europa1

6,051 posts

116 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
I have to take issue with the caption of the second photo - from that angle, to my eyes, it is anything but a "pretty car".

DeltaEvo2

698 posts

120 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Awesome machine.
This above anything else.

V10Ace

223 posts

21 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
"In our weekend with the 488 Spider we had chats in traffic jams, at petrol stations and at a Sunday Service; a man in a van wanted it revved up in a services; a Qashqai driver beamed after hearing it through Holmesdale tunnel and a lady kissed the car, wishing it good luck on Fulham high street. Kids sprint over to see it and even stoic middle-aged men can't help but raise a smile. For making you feel good, for showing that cars can still make people happy, just being in the presence of a 488 Spider works a treat"

For those in there mx5's, 135!'s and diseasles etc. who will never understand the supercar experience.
shoot


DonkeyApple

29,149 posts

97 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Europa1 said:
I have to take issue with the caption of the second photo - from that angle, to my eyes, it is anything but a "pretty car".
Agreed. In the first image the modern trend of painting the bottom part of the car between the wheels black so that it looks thinner just looks more and more like a builder sucking it in when a girl walks past the site. It's done to deceive but doesn't fool anyone.

Crankie Shaft

60 posts

82 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Are they really charging £2,400 for Apple Car Play? Apple Car Play prep for BMW/Audi is what, £200-300 so, even in Ferrari terms, how can they justify whacking a couple of grand on? Does that include a different media unit or something?


Edited by Crankie Shaft on Wednesday 26th October 16:25

RamboLambo

4,383 posts

98 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Wibble wobble wibble wobble jelly on a plate.

If you want a convertible supercar there is only 1 choice - the carbon tubbed McLaren 650s spider where there is simply no compromise from the coupe for the open topped motoring experience.
Add on top of that the McLarens hydraulic suspension, active aero, brake steer, air brake and polycarbonate panels and you can see why the McLaren is the superior engineering feat. Other small features like the single wiper blade, sculpted wing mirrors, air brake and those beautiful dihedral doors really make the McLaren 650S spider a WOW supercar in comparison.

I always prefer 2nd generation Ferari's ( F355 over 348, F430 over 360 etc.. )and I prefer the 488 over the 458 in the looks department but less than the N/a V8 engine now its all going turbo charged.

Bottom line is I would have a 488 coupe over a 458 but I would have a McLaren 650S spider over a 488 spider ( Not to mention about £100k spare cash in my pocket versus a nearly new 650s )

Ferrari and Lamborghini will only catch McLaren up on the convertible front by going carbon tubbed. The Huracan still even retains a cloth roof ?! WTF
Come on guys you need to up your game - England 1 - 0 Italy


Edited by RamboLambo on Wednesday 26th October 17:12

GranCab

1,085 posts

74 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
RamboLambo said:
Wibble wobble wibble wobble jelly on a plate.

If you want a convertible supercar there is only 1 choice - the carbon tubbed McLaren 650s spider where there is simply no compromise from the coupe for the open topped motoring experience.
Add on top of that the McLarens hydraulic suspension, active aero, brake steer, air brake and polycarbonate panels and you can see why the McLaren is the superior engineering feat. Other small features like the single wiper blades, wing mirrors, air brake and dihedral doors really make the McLaren 650S spider a WOW supercar in comparison.

I always prefer 2nd generation Ferari's ( F355 over 348, F430 over 360 etc.. )and I prefer the 488 over the 458 in the looks department but less than the N/a V8 engine now its all going turbo charged.

Bottom line is I would have a 488 coupe over a 458 but I would have a McLaren 650S spider over a 488 spider ( Not to mention about £100k spare cash in my pocket versus a nearly new 650s )

Ferrari and Lamborghini will only catch McLaren up on the convertible front by going carbon tubbed. The Huracan still even retains a cloth roof ?! WTF
Come on guys you need to up your game - England 1 - 0 Italy
Give it a rest Rambo ...

Guvernator

8,101 posts

93 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Lovely looking car, still not as pretty as a 355 but then what is?

As for the scuttle shake, you'd really have thought they'd have eliminated that kind of thing by now, surely the dynamics of lopping the top off a car are fully understood by now and most cars are designed with a drop top model in mind from the off?

As for our UK roads, are they REALLY that poor compared to everywhere else in Europe? I've read countless articles where a car seems to come undone over here when it's been fine elsewhere, is this just more journalistic hyperbole or we really the laughing stock of Europe when it comes to our road infrastructure?

Davey S2

11,697 posts

182 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
GranCab said:
RamboLambo said:
Wibble wobble wibble wobble jelly on a plate.

If you want a convertible supercar there is only 1 choice - the carbon tubbed McLaren 650s spider where there is simply no compromise from the coupe for the open topped motoring experience.
Add on top of that the McLarens hydraulic suspension, active aero, brake steer, air brake and polycarbonate panels and you can see why the McLaren is the superior engineering feat. Other small features like the single wiper blades, wing mirrors, air brake and dihedral doors really make the McLaren 650S spider a WOW supercar in comparison.

I always prefer 2nd generation Ferari's ( F355 over 348, F430 over 360 etc.. )and I prefer the 488 over the 458 in the looks department but less than the N/a V8 engine now its all going turbo charged.

Bottom line is I would have a 488 coupe over a 458 but I would have a McLaren 650S spider over a 488 spider ( Not to mention about £100k spare cash in my pocket versus a nearly new 650s )

Ferrari and Lamborghini will only catch McLaren up on the convertible front by going carbon tubbed. The Huracan still even retains a cloth roof ?! WTF
Come on guys you need to up your game - England 1 - 0 Italy
Give it a rest Rambo ...
Predictable but he is right. In terms of spiders there is nothing to rival the McLaren's tub.

I know someone picking up a new 488 spider today.

RamboLambo

4,383 posts

98 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
Davey S2 said:
Predictable but he is right. In terms of spiders there is nothing to rival the McLaren's tub.

I know someone picking up a new 488 spider today.
Thank you. I know I can be repetitive at times but for me the whole carbon tub thing is McLarens biggest selling point but is hardly ever referred to.
On a 20 minute test drive where you are all excited etc..scuttle shake is probably not that high on your list of priorities but when you are in the car for anytime and have to live with it, it is a real day in day out issue that needn't be with the carbon technology

I love the looks of the 488 spider and don't doubt it drives superbly but having been spoilt with the McLaren 650S spider I know ever single creak, rattle, shake and wobble would drive me completely mad.
It did on the 458 and F430 spiders but I kind of live with it on my F355 GTS because that's a truly beautiful thing and nowhere near as sophisticated and refined as these new modern cars

Carl_Manchester

4,569 posts

190 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
I would have one of these in a heartbeat.

Its a real shame that Ferrari need to rip-off their customers if they do really charge £2,400 for carplay. Most of the core logic is inside the phone/device.

I am really interested to see how this £250k F car lines up against the forthcoming 540c Spider (which should weigh in at £140k fully optioned) on UK roads.

Time for a carbon tubbed dino with 6 cylinders ?



Edited by Carl_Manchester on Wednesday 26th October 17:50

big_rob_sydney

2,015 posts

122 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
If there was a particular stty road that made my drive crap, then I have a simple solution that doesn't cost anything; don't drive on that road.

E65Ross

Original Poster:

20,056 posts

140 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
big_rob_sydney said:
If there was a particular stty road that made my drive crap, then I have a simple solution that doesn't cost anything; don't drive on that road.
When spending over £200k on a car, I'd want that car to be bloody good and to be able to cope with those roads as well as the other cars it's in competition with.

br d

6,022 posts

154 months

Wednesday 26th October 2016
quotequote all
It's too awkward looking, perhaps it will get better with age but it just doesn't seem to fit together right.