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2016 Ferrari 488 Spider Review

There’s one thing absolutely clear from the look of the 488 Spider: This thing means business. The curves have purpose, the trailing edges have depth, the cutaways have ferocity. Really, the designers at Ferrari have done a fantastic job: The 488 is clearly related to its predecessor, the 458, but it’s clearly not derivative. The design also includes one noteworthy aerodynamic element: a patent-pending blown rear spoiler, the kind of thing only a manufacturer involved in Formula One could get away with.

The interior is more familiar, a minor evolution of the 458 with its F1-inspired steering wheel, vibrant and customisable gauge set (faster and with improved graphics) and driver-focused controls. The seats were covered in slick leather, which wasn’t ideal, and the seat bottom was a bit short for my liking, but these are minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things. This is because the interior of any modern Ferrari is an inspired blend of racy functionality and top-flight craftsmanship. For a true motorsport fanatic, it does not get any better than sitting in the driver’s seat of a car such as the 488 Spider.

A few more words about the exterior/interior: The thing that blends these two aspects of the Ferrari together (and draws the outside world in), the foldable hardtop roof, is a slick piece of work, similar to that used on the 458 Spider. The top can open or close at speeds of up to 45km/h. In the act of closing, the elements of the roof split, turn 90 degrees and slot into a 100-litre space behind the passenger compartment. The penalty for this cool parlour trick: a 50kg weight gain over the 488 GTB.

This final point is what has the engineers and marketers at Ferrari suggesting that the 488 Spider is better suited to relaxed touring rather than outright speed.

The 488 Spider can accelerate to 100km/h in three seconds flat, the exact time quoted for the 488 GTB. In the run to 200km/h, the GTB stretches a lead, reaching that mark in 8.3 seconds, compared with 8.7 seconds for the convertible version. Still, 8.7s to reach 200km/h!? The Ferrari 488 Spider is not a car for relaxed cruising… unless you happen to be using only about 30 per cent of the available accelerator pedal travel.

Published: Thursday, October 29, 2015

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