LAZY ROADS AND SPEED DEMONS

MEET THE NEW FER­RARI 488 SPIDER; THE BEAT­ING HEART OF THIS TOPOF-THE-LINE CON­VERT­IBLE MAY BE HID­DEN BE­NEATH ITS SLEEK, METAL­LIC EX­TE­RIOR, BUT IT’S NEVER FAR FROM YOU WHEN YOU ARE BE­HIND THE WHEEL. YOU AL­WAYS FEEL IT, YOU AL­WAYS HEAR IT.

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De­signed by Fer­rari Style Cen­tre, the 488's sculp­tural forms are rad­i­cally new, ac­cen­tu­at­ing the car's sporti­ness yet re­tain­ing the clas­si­cally clean, pure lines typ­i­cal of Fer­rari's leg­endary styling. The styling is honed around its aero­dy­namic re­quire­ments, re­flect­ing the drop-top driv­ing plea­sure fo­cus of its sporti­ness and per­for­mance. The su­per­car has clas­sic Fer­rari mid-rear-en­gined sports car pro­por­tions: a short mus­cu­lar front wing into which the bumper is wedged, which lends the whole front of the car a sense of power and speed, and im­me­di­ately draws the eye to the flanks, fea­tur­ing new side air in­takes for the in­ter­cool­ers.

But be­fore we even be­gin talk­ing about the 488 Spider, we need to talk about the 488 GTB. Re­leased forty years af­ter the man­u­fac­turer's first-ever mid-rear-en­gined V8 ber­linetta (the 308 GTB), the 488 GTB is a new chap­ter in Fer­rari's 8-cylin­der his­tory. It is at the top of its class in terms of power out­put, torque and re­sponse times and is a new bench­mark for this kind of ar­chi­tec­ture, thanks in part to in­no­va­tive work car­ried out on the tur­bine to re­duce fric­tion and in­er­tia.

His­tor­i­cally, there have al­ways been per­for­mance and struc­tural rea­sons to go with the GTB over the Spider. It would seem that a weight penalty, the loss of that clas­sic Fer­rari roof line and of course no peek­a­boo en­gine porthole through which one can gaze at this beau­ti­ful piece of en­gi­neer­ing, were rea­son­able com­pro­mises for open-air mo­tor­ing plea­sure in a high-per­for­mance sports car. But not any­more. It re­ally does seem Fer­rari en­gi­neer­ing has ad­vanced to the point where the Spider ver­sions are pretty much equal to the Coupé ver­sions. With 95% of the tor­tional rigid­ity of the GTB and los­ing only 0.4 sec­onds off the 1/4 mile, the Spider is ev­ery bit a match for its elder brother and with the added bonus of a re­tractable hard roof that folds, even when on the move, in less than 14 sec­onds.

This 2-seater road­ster is only 50 kg heav­ier than its coupe sib­ling whilst match­ing the 0-62 mph sprint at three sec­onds. Be­neath the en­gine cover throbs the 3902 cc tur­bocharged V8 that de­buted on the 488 GTB. Its per­for­mance lev­els are noth­ing short of ex­tra­or­di­nary: a max­i­mum power out­put of 670 CV com­bined with max­i­mum torque of 760 Nm at 3,000 rpm sends the 488 Spider sprint­ing from 0 to 100 km/ h in three sec­onds flat and from 0 to 200 km/ h in 8.7 sec­onds. This is also an ex­cep­tion­ally ef­fi­cient en­gine as it is not only 100 CV more pow­er­ful than the pre­vi­ous nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 but also has lower CO emis­sions.

A small glass rear win­dow op­er­ates in­de­pen­dently of the top and can be low­ered to three sep­a­rate po­si­tions to ei­ther let more ex­haust mu­sic in with the top up or, more use­fully, to act as a wind blocker with the top down. This is worth it be­cause Fer­rari's en­gi­neers ded­i­cated great at­ten­tion and re­sources to per­fect­ing the car's sound, creat­ing a new sound­track that is full, clear, pro­gres­sive and to­tally dis­tinc­tive.

The 488 Spider's cock­pit was de­signed to un­der­score Fer­rari's For­mula 1-in­spired

THE FER­RARI 488 SPIDER MARKS A FOR­MI­DA­BLE RE­TURN TO THE CLAS­SIC FER­RARI MODEL DES­IG­NA­TION WITH THE 488 IN ITS MONIKER IN­DI­CAT­ING THE EN­GINE’S UNI­TARY DIS­PLACE­MENT.

phi­los­o­phy of creat­ing a seam­less re­la­tion­ship be­tween driver and car: the com­mands are not clus­tered on the steer­ing wheel but are on the wrap-around satel­lite pods which are an­gled di­rectly to­wards the driver. The new lighter, hor­i­zon­tally more com­pact dash­board also curves around the cock­pit and fea­tures ul­tra-sporty air vents.

The side slip an­gle con­trol sys­tem both mon­i­tors and ad­justs the car's han­dling and con­trol, which in­cludes the adap­tive dam­pers, dif­fer­en­tial and sta­bil­ity con­trol, mak­ing for flaw­less han­dling on ev­ery type of road and in ev­ery kind of mode. Fur­ther con­tribut­ing to the smooth and con­trolled ac­cel­er­a­tion is the fact that the tur­bos re­act dif­fer­ently de­pend­ing on which gear you are in and how hard you are on the go pedal. Light and re­spon­sive, the Spider's dy­namic be­hav­iour is ef­fort­less on even the most chal­leng­ing routes.

It's the kind of the su­per­car that begs the ques­tion (and in ev­ery sense of the phrase) – Where do we go from here?

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