Lifestyle

Drop-top with bite: Ferrari 488 Spider road test and review

OPEN SEASON: Spider’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 offers 492kW and 760Nm, but with the options fitted to our test car it will set you back over $650,000. It’s still worth it.
OPEN SEASON: Spider’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 offers 492kW and 760Nm, but with the options fitted to our test car it will set you back over $650,000. It’s still worth it. Iain Curry

YOU can't beat a Prancing Horse badge for scoring attention, so what have we here?

Rather beautiful, yes? It's the Ferrari 488 Spider, the folding hardtop version of the equally delicious 488 GTB coupe.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

I think I'm in love...

Me too. The one we Aussie journos get to drive is dressed in special Blu Corsa paint, mixed especially for the 488 Spider and adding an extra $22,000 to your bill.  

Okay, hit me with the figures.

Since we're talking money the 488 Spider will set you back $526,888 plus on-road costs and that's before you start draining funds on the cost options. But value is to be had.   

For starters, a 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 delivers 492kW of power and 760Nm of torque, helping you hit 100kmh in three seconds flat and on to 325kmh if you ever get the chance.  

Such performance allied to a devastatingly talented chassis and those good looks somehow make this thing seem worth its considerable sticker price.  

Yet even if you win lotto or sold your successful hedge fund managing business, you'll still have to join a two-year waiting list to buy one.  

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

Quite desirable then?

Indeed, which makes it quite a special opportunity to pilot one.  

Give me this car and the choice of any destination on the planet and I'd choose (in summertime) an early morning pose around Monte Carlo, a blast north to the hairpin-fest of the Col De Turini Monte Carlo Rally stage, then across the Alps into Italy and I could be in Modena for a late lunch.   

A leisurely cruise to Florence for an alfresco dinner date would follow, with the 488 Spider parked in sight to enjoy its sexy lines as the sun set while we enjoyed a glass of overpriced Chianti.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

And how was the reality?

Well, beggars can't be choosers so you snare what chances you can. I was handed keys to the 488 Spider during the Bathurst 12 Hour race weekend and given a two-hour window to enjoy it.   

My cruise was down-town Bathurst (traffic and roadworks), my Monte Carlo stage was about a kilometre of twisties near Wattle Flat (the town's general store stood in for Modena) and my destination, the gold rush town of Sofala, did its best to mimic Florence.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

Right. Still enjoyable though?

If you can't enjoy driving this thing no matter the road you must be dead inside. It is a full assault on the senses, from the Prancing Horse-embossed leather cabin to the sound from a wailing turbocharged V8 through to the quite epic acceleration in any gear from practically any part of the rev range.

Was it top down all the way?

Too right. The retractable hard top goes up or down in 14 seconds (it's a lovely thing to watch fold away behind your ear) and the sculpted and very racy blue-striped seats snugly grip your rear in position ready for the ride.  

A few quick adjustments and I instantly felt the Ferrari was bespoke tailored just for me.

The seat, steering wheel and driver-focused dashboard, switches and dials make for a totally driver-centred experience.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

And all is at your fingertips.

My carbon fibre and leather steering wheel had start button, lights, drive mode selector, "bumpy road" damper button and indicators within a thumb swing away. Good. It meant two hands could always be kept on the wheel with the up and down-shift paddles an easy squeeze behind.  

And firing that engine up?

Let's wake the neighbours. What a brutal yet glorious singing howl this V8 makes and from more than 3000rpm it all gets even more shouty and delicious.   

Yet it's an engine that's come in for criticism from purists. It's those two turbos, you see. The 488's predecessor - the 458 - used a naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 with that pure non-turbo sound and instant throttle response.  

Yet the 488 Spider's 3.9-litre twin turbo brings an extra 67kW and 120Nm, better fuel economy and less harmful emissions. And look, I may not be Kimi Raikkonen but my right foot/brain combo could report zero turbo lag issues here.  

With roof stowed and especially when dropping a cog or three through the sublime seven-speed auto box, the turbocharged V8 soundtrack which bothered the local wildlife in rural NSW felt heavenly and highly emotive to me.

Yes, you know it's a turbo in both sound and the way the smash of torque pulls your face skin back to expose half of your eyeballs but it remains glorious.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

It's quite quick then?

Blisteringly fast. And it's blessed with a chassis to control that speed. Point the Spider at any corner, at any speed and the balance, grip and communication is simply mega. You can really only explore a fraction of its potential on the road.  

Switch between drive modes (Race, quite pleasingly, is your default setting, keeping driver aids on and exhaust note rorty) and Magnaride magnetic dampers adjust to suit. It's quite incredible how flat the Spider sits in the turns, then flick it into "bumpy road" mode and it'll handle some pretty crummy surfaces in a way a supercar has no right to.   

Everyday driver? I'd say so ... until you inevitably lose your licence.  

The brakes are also epic. The Spider comes with carbon ceramic stoppers as standard - a great addition for performance road or track use, but almost surprising considering the optional extras you do have to pay extra for.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

The costs add up then?

Oh yes. My test car had a rather comical $140,000 of options included - you could buy a Porsche Cayman S for that price alone. As tested, this blue delight sets you back more than $650,000.  

I can accept the titanium sports exhausts costing an extra $4080 (seems good value actually) but $5000 for a rear parking camera? $6800 for Apple CarPlay? Hell, the floor mats with Ferrari logos cost $2155. For floor mats.  

Going carbon fibre options crazy on this car (front spoiler, side air splitter, rear air ducts, racing seat Drivers Zone area and tunnel bridge) totalled an additional $60k. Gulp.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

Should I buy one?

If you have the means how could you be disappointed? You can get the 488 GTB hardtop for $57k cheaper but for the truly ideal blend of performance and boulevard posing this Spider properly reveals your sun-kissed grin to the world.

And that can be in Barcelona, Bologna or even the back roads of Bathurst.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

Vital statistics

MODEL: Ferrari 488 Spider  

PRICE: $526,888 before on roads. Car as tested $656,513 before on-roads.   

DETAILS: Two-seat mid-engined rear-wheel drive convertible supercar roadster.   

ENGINE: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 492kW/760Nm.  

TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shift.   

THIRST: 11.4 litres/100km.   

PERFORMANCE: 0-100kmh in 3.0-seconds, top speed of 325kmh.  

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

What matters most

WHAT WE LIKED: Brutal acceleration, quite incredible balance, feel and feedback, achingly beautiful design.  

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE: Price of some of those options, waiting list.  

WARRANTY AND SERVICING: Three-year/unlimited kilometres with complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first seven years of the vehicle's life.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider
2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Iain Curry

Topics:  488 spider cars editors picks ferrari motoring performance review road test supercar


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Stranded truck driver survives 14 hours in floodwater

The truck driver, 47, stranded on the roof of the vehicle as RACQ LifeFlight prepares to winch him to safety.

'He’s suffering sunburn, it could have been a hell of a lot worse'

Storm destruction: Violent weather destroys homes

Kylee and Chris Lee had part of the roof of their Goombungee home ripped off during the storm.

The clean-up is continuing after a “cyclone-like” supercell hit

Why Toowoomba needs 3000 more disability workers

OPPORTUNITY: Fraser Coast businesses are invited to attend the Conversations C

Toowoomba needs thousands more disability support workers with NDIS

Local Partners

GAS PROJECT: Hundreds of jobs secured in boost to region

UPDATE: The Palaszczuk Government has welcomed the announcement of QGC’s new program for gas field development in the Surat Basin.

CMC Rocks is just the ticket for Eric Paslay

HAPPY TO BE HERE: American country singer Eric Paslay will play CMC Rocks 2017.

Country music singer is touring overseas for the first time.

Daredevils of Nitro Circus to thrill Lismore

Oakes Oval in Lismore will host the sell-out, worldwide phenomenon that is Nitro Circus Live during its 15-city Australian tour in April.

The (in)famous 55-foot high Nitro Giganta ramp is the centrepiece

CHOOSING LIFE: Emu Park veteran leads way out of PTSD

WINNING THE FIGHT: Andrea Josephs with her daughter Kyla (10) at the Emu Park Anzac Memorial ahead of her official Matilda Poppy launch this weekend.

Andrea Josephs will officially launch Matilda Poppy in new hometown

Morgan Evans opens up about his CMC love story

SINGER returns from Nashville to host tonight's CMC Music Awards, which he co-hosted last year with his now fiance Kelsea Ballerini.

What's on the big screen this week

OLD TALE: Emma Watson brings to life the character of Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

DISNEY'S remake of Beauty and the Beast opens to rave reviews.

MKR recap: Josh and Amy figure out how to get along

Josh and Amy have figured out how to get along and cook well. Stay away from each other.

THEY’RE the couple we love to hate, but something changed tonight.

Mariah’s making a movie we probably don’t need

Mariah Carey and her dog Jack are prepping for a Christmas movie.

Mariah Carey is making animated movie ready for Christmas.

CMC Rocks is just the ticket for Eric Paslay

HAPPY TO BE HERE: American country singer Eric Paslay will play CMC Rocks 2017.

Country music singer is touring overseas for the first time.

MOVIE REVIEW: Disney remake a beauty-ful story

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens star in the movie Beauty and the Beast.

Emma Watson stars as Belle in classic tale of finding unlikely love

MOVIE REVIEW: Peppa Pig's Aussie adventure will delight fans

A scene from My First Cinema Experience: Peppa Pig's Australian Holiday.

Peppa visits Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef in feature film debut

'Dangerous precedent': Beachfront tree clearing rejected

WHAT A VIEW: A Google Earth aerial view of the strip of houses and sand dunes at Shelly Beach which could be set for changes.

BREAKING: Beachfront residents' bold bid to improve views fails

Couple ditch Springfield for $350 million rural lifestyle

Sales consultant Rachel Hargreaves (left) of Oliver Hume Waterlea at Wallon with new land owner Rebecca Mallett.

“To purchase a block the same size would be double the price here"

It's official: Byron Bay unaffordable

MILLIONAIRES ROW: The Housing Commission house in Keats St, Byron Bay which sold at auction on Saturday for $1.65 million.

Buying a home in Bay Bay is a dream too far for some

Coast home luring interstate buyers sold

PRIZED POSITION: Blue clip location, peaceful surroundings, spacious living with swimming pool, tennis court on 4562sq
m

The property was described as a 'Queenslander with Hamptons style'

Stylish Coast home lures buyers from four states

PRIZED POSITION: The six-bedroom house with swimming pool and floodlit tennis court is on 4562sq
m.

Expansive property boasts serious space

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!