The Ferrari 488 Spider
Gorgeous And Fast — What’s Not To Like?
The old Ferrari (until the late 1970s) was heavily focused on front-engine V-12 power in a svelte body. But they (horrors to some) then let smaller engines into the tent, typically V-8 and even V-6 transverse sideways-mounted mid-engined cars (mid-engined since the power was in front of the rear wheels). Some were aghast since anything less than a V-12 meant it wasn’t a “real” Ferrari. In fact, maybe the company shared that belief since the very first Dinos (in the late 1960s, with V-6 motors) weren’t badged as Ferraris but simply as “Dinos”. But that orientation has long since ended since the Ferrari V-8s of today put out prodigious power and awesome performance. No, they don’t sound like a V-12 but they sound terrific in their own right. And since Dinos at auction now are approaching $1 million, I guess that the world agrees.
Taking up the mantle as the newest fast Ferrari without a V12 engine is the 488, a twin-turbo V8 blaster with about 660 horsepower and 560 pounds of torque, capable of reaching 0-60 in about three seconds and rocketing along to a top speed of over 200 MPH, all by way of a seven-speed dual clutch paddle shifter trans. Pack all of that wallop in a 3,360-pound package and you’ve got yourself a real people mover. In fact, this car can hang with the terrific outgoing stormer V12 Ferrari F12berlinetta around the Ferrari test track.
Of course it’s good looking as it’s from Italy and it’s made in Maranello, where only beautiful things are created. A car which looks terrific from all angles is a thing of beauty and the 488 Spider (convertible) is just that. Interestingly, Ferrari says that this car is the most aerodynamic spider they’ve ever built, but that’s not too surprising as it looks to be related to a river rock which has been smoothed by the rush of water over the millennia.
The base price of this beauty is $280,900 but, luckily for me, someone had done me a solid at the order desk since “mine” had a bundle of joys included, such as the horse stitched headrests, special “Blu Corsa” paint, “Ferrari telemetry” (a performance-monitoring system), electric seats and about a dozen more upgrades. Therefore, “my” sticker price was close to $400,000. However, especially as the one-off Ferrari 488 “Green Jewel” was auctioned off for $1.3 million in 2017, this car seems very well-priced.
Driving any Ferrari is a joyful experience and the 488 Spider certainly kept up that reputation. With the top down for my entire loan (living in Southern California does have its advantages), I was even able to experience the exhaust note which, especially as the car approaches the 8,000 RPM redline, always brought a thrill. With terrific ergonomics, comfortable yet purpose-built seating, informative gauges, extremely responsiveness and the Song of the Angels, the 488 Spider was hard to give back. Do I sound smitten? I get to drive a lot of amazing cars but the Ferraris always have a special place in my heart and to that space the 488 Spider is a terrific addition.