£198,856 Price range
The Spider’s cabin is identical to the one you get in the Italia, so there isn’t really that much wrong with it – you get the same high quality and driver focused dashboard, built to the standards you’d expect from a Ferrari. The only real niggle is that the ergonomics of the steering wheel’s button layout is initially a bit daunting!
The 458 Spider is also quite practical by supercar standards – there’s plenty of leg and head room (especially with the latter once the roof is stowed away…) for you and your very lucky passenger, and there’s a surprisingly useful amount of storage space on offer, thanks to the shelf behind the seats and the relatively deep boot up front.
Despite the slight weight and rigidity penalties over the coupe, the general consensus is that the 458 Spider is still incredible to drive. Apart from a few complaints regarding the steering, which a handful thought was a bit too quick for their tastes, most of the reports state that, bar the tiniest amount of body flex and scuttle shake over really rough roads, the handling is virtually identical. Which is certainly no bad thing…
The reviews also seem to state that it’s surprisingly capable when you’re not pushing it to the absolute limit. It’s by no means as cosseting as the 458’s baby brother, the California, but it’s still a fairly comfortable car that would make mincemeat out of longer journeys. Some even say that there’s hardly any hassle when it’s being driven in towns and cities, other than the poor rear visibility.
Ferrari are rightfully proud of the 458 Spider’s roof – not only is it the world’s first folding hard top on a mid-engined supercar, but it also retracts in a fairly brisk 14 seconds and the clever design means it doesn’t take up much space at all when it’s stowed away. However, annoyingly perhaps, the roof can’t be raised or lowered when you’re on the move.
Ferrari has made the task of choosing which engine and gearbox to go for in the 458 Spider quite easy – there’s only a 4.5 V8 on offer, paired up to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Thankfully, just as with the hard top, neither the motor nor the ‘box have been met with any criticism – the testers all agree that the gearbox is smooth and refined yet intuitive and engaging when you’re shifting the cogs with the paddles, and the engine is seen by many to be a masterpiece.
Ferrari won’t be offering the ECU and gearbox upgrades to the Spider, as they’re so far exclusive to the Italia – Ferrari’s reasoning is that the people who buy the convertible won’t necessarily be that focused on lap times or driving on the limit as those who’ll opt for the Spider.
You can’t really call a £200,000 supercar ‘good value for money’, but in some cases the 458 Spider does elevate itself above quite a few of its main rivals. Though most buyers are expected to pile on the expensive options, those who can’t quite afford such extras will be pleased to know that you get carbon ceramic brakes and some of the most hi-tech electrical systems ever fitted to a road car as standard.
It’s also worth pointing out that, until maybe when the McLaren MP4-12C convertible arrives, quite a few critics suggest that hardly any other drop-top supercar comes close to beating the 458 Spider.
Overall, much like the Italia, there is very little that is actually wrong with the 458 Spider. Not only can it claim to be quite ‘innovative’ in the world of supercar cabriolets, but it’s also hugely fast, is loaded with some of the most advanced race-inspired technology ever to appear on a road car and is sensational to drive.
Yes, there are a few slight niggles here and there once you start nit-picking. However, it’s impossible to deny that the 458 Spider is just as capable as the coupe, and some would say the appeal of the drop-top configuration makes it even more desirable.
Simply put, you’d be hard pressed to find any comparable car that’s better than the Ferrari, and it should easily be on the top of your shortlist list if you’re in the market for such a car.