Ahead of next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the Prancing Horse unveils the droptop version of its brand new 488 GTB supercar.
This spring we saw Ferrari finally unveil the hyper-anticipated follow-up to its beloved 458 Italia, a car widely considered one of the best supercars on the market. Now Maranello chops off the GTB’s roof, and shows us what a 203-mph hair plug remover looks like.
Ferrari’s V8-powered, mid-engined supercars have always been one of the brand’s most important vehicles — the high-performance hemoglobin of its vaunted bloodline. The last generation of the family tree, the 458 Italia (or Spider in convertible form), was so superlative we included it as one of the greatest Ferraris of all time. Ferrari/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne even called it “the best car that God ever created.” Needless to say, expectations are sky high for its replacement.
That replacement arrived in March with the 488 GTB, and today Ferrari removed the sheets on the convertible version, the 488 Spider. Naturally, the Spider is powered by the same engine as the GTB — a high revving, twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 that generates a bruising 661 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. The flat-plane crank V8 is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, channeling all the power to the rear wheels.
While convertibles add the pleasures of open-air travel they also inevitably slow a vehicle down, as well as compromise its rigidity. That is, they do except when it comes to the 488 — the Spider hardly suffers from its baldness. You can still slingshot from 0-62 mph in a blinding three seconds flat, same as the coupé.
Thanks to its new aluminum spaceframe chassis (made of 11 different alloys, magnesium and other noble metals), the Spider boasts the same torsional rigidity as the fixed roof — a startling achievement for a convertible. Its even 23% more rigid than its 458 predecessor. Only the Spider’s top speed is nicked, shaved down from 205 to 203 mph from the GTB — a peak velocity that won’t be challenged often.
As for that roof, the 458 was the first mid-engine car to offer a retractable hardtop (RHT), so Ferrari improves on the design for the 488. The setup features an electric glass rear wind stop that can now be set between three positions to nuance between engine noise, wind levels and general comfort.
Should the weather demand the roof stays up, you can still fully lower the glass to take in the bellowing glory of the V8 — even over the sound of clapping thunder. Should the weather clear, drop the top in 14 seconds. Just make sure to hold on tight to that hairpiece — there’s not a glue on Earth that’ll keep it from launching airborne.
With merciless competition from the likes of the McLaren 650S and Lamborghini Huracan, can the 488 Spider stay in the hunt?
The 488 is the most aerodynamically efficient convertible Ferrari has ever built. Incorporating numerous innovations (e.g. blown spoiler, flying buttresses, engine cover ribbing, aerodynamic underbody with vortex generators, etc.), Maranello has managed to optimize downforce while still reducing drag — two objectives that normally oppose one another.
oasting a throttle response time of just 0.8 seconds, Ferrari engineers have nearly eliminated dreaded “turbo lag” from the 488 — it offers increasing power across the entire rev range