Ferrari has produced some fantastically memorable open-top V8 sports cars since, but the outgoing 458 Spider was a thunderous best-yet effort. Its shadow has only lengthened since we learnt that its replacement would have to have turbochargers mated to a slightly smaller flat-plane crank 90-degree V.
The weight of the new roof though is less significant than the impact of its removal as a load-bearing element on the car’s space frame. Unlike its direct rival, the McLaren 650S Spider, the 488 has no carbonfibre tub to stick everything too; instead Ferrari has again had to bolster it the old fashioned way – with additional structural reinforcement at either end – and with a reworking of the aluminum alloys used in the chassis.
The latter helps save weight; the former does not, and is predominately the reason for a 50kg weight penalty versus the GTB; the same difference previously experienced by 458 Spider owners compared with the Italia.
The 488’s cabin, essentially the same as the coupe, isn’t much of a departure from its predecessor either. The sleek dashboard remains intensely driver-focused – your attention rarely moves beyond the oversized rev counter and the Manettino dial on the steering wheel. Several things have moved with the times: keyless start means the starter switch is now a effectively an on/off button, while the infotainment system has become functional at last with extra processing grunt and a menu rethink.
The seats, their positioning, the view out and the general milieu are all nigh on perfect. The Spider puts a lot of bodywork directly around you, but the ideal exposure to the air is never in question: windows up, it’ll playfully ruffles the fringe; windows down, it looks doubly sensational and practically insists you drop a louche limb onto the door.