The majority of the cars that have rolled out of the gates at Maranello can be described as varying degrees of spectacular. Still, until you settle in behind the wheel, you wonder if a real Ferrari can live up to the hype. The first thing I took note of in the Ferrari 488 Spider was the immense and nearly instantaneous acceleration into questionable speeds. It should have been obvious from the start, but the rate that this car builds speeds still managed to surprise me, like the cold wind on a January morning. You've checked the weather on your phone and you know it's going to be cold, but you still wince with that first sharp breeze on your cheek. It's a totally different sensation than something like the Dodge Viper. The Viper requires deliberate effort for everything. Getting in and out is a pain in the ass. The clutch is long and heavy and the pedal box is tiny. The hefty steering requires some strength, especially at low speeds. The shifter wholly mechanical thing that requires a little more motivation than you would expect. It's not easy and it's not trying to be, just so you're not tempted to underestimate it. By comparison, the Ferrari is cake. The doors open wide allowing easy access, made even easier with the retractable hardtop stowed away. The cabin, while completely covered in black leather, is open enough to not feel claustrophobic. The steering is light but doesn't feel loose and the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission can be left in automatic to make things easier. In sport mode, the exhaust is relatively subdued, allowing you to actually enjoy the stereo should you choose to. But goose the gas and a wave of panic and exhilaration momentarily wash away any other thoughts. The 488 Spider packs a mid-mounted 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 making 661 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque. It's not quite the screamer of past Ferrari V8s, but what it lacks in aural excitement it makes up for in brute force. The old 4.5-liter V8 in the Ferrari 458 was powerful, but most of that power was at the top of the rev range. On the other hand, the 488 feels strong in any gear at any RPM. Boost is limited in lower gears, changing the power band in an effort to dull the turbo lag somer. While there isn't a big kick when boost comes on, it doesn't feel quite like a naturally-aspirated engine either. Once you're in boost, complaints seem to fall by the wayside. It's amazing just how quickly the engine reaches that 8,000 rpm redline; That at least hasn't been lost to with the move to forced induction. The rise and fall of the needle in that beautiful blue center-mounted tachometer seems weightless, as the slightest tip of your toe sends the whole thing spinning onward and upward. The engineers at Maranello have crafted a love letter to the internal combustion engine using lightweight components and a flat-plane crank, and …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||15 City / 22 Hwy|
|Transmission||7-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||660 @ 8000 rpm|
Get a surprisingly great rate
It's like a new car for the price of a clunker. Switch & save an average of $587* on car insurance.