The Ferrari 488 Spider is the most powerful mid-engined convertible that the company has yet made. Its turbocharged V8 engine delivers 660bhp at 8000rpm.
The Spider uses a similar folding hard-top to that of its predecessor, the 458 Spider. Ferrari says the hard-top is 25kg lighter than a cloth roof and takes just 14 seconds to fold up or down. When folded down, the roof lies flat on top of the engine.
Despite the removal of a fixed roof, the 488 Spider is claimed by Ferrari to have the same torsional rigidity as the 488 GTB, thanks to its spaceframe chassis. It is made of 11 different aluminium alloys in conjunction with other metals, such as magnesium. These gains have led to a claimed 23% improvement in chassis rigidity compared with the 458 Spider.
The 488 Spider is marginally heavier than the 488 GTB. With a 1420kg dry weight when fitted with optional lightweight equipment, the open-topped 488 is only 50kg heavier than the coupé and is 10kg lighter than the 458 Spider.
The 488 is the most aerodynamic drop-top that Ferrari has made and has several major visual changes from the coupé. The most notable ones are the large flying buttresses, which sit behind the two seats. They are designed to send airflow to the engine cover and into the air intakes.
The rear spoiler, which channels air through a gap on the rear lip, remains unchanged from the coupé. The Spider also gets the GTB’s adjustable rear diffuser, which varies its position depending on speed and throttle input.
To improve in-cabin comfort, the 488 Spider has an adjustable rear wind stopper in the form of an electric glass window. It can be placed in three different positions to increase protection as desired. It can also be dropped while the roof is in place to increase the sound of the engine in the cabin even in poor weather conditions.
Ferrari has tweaked the 488’s suspension for the Spider, increasing compliance to make it a little more comfortable than the GTB, because Ferrari reckons the convertible model is more likely to be used on the road than on circuits. The exhaust noise has also been slightly detuned, so the noise at speed is less overpowering with the roof off.
The engine itself is identical to that of the GTB and gives the Spider the same claimed 0-62mph time of 3.0sec, although 0-124mph takes marginally longer, at 8.7sec to the fixed-head car’s 8.4sec. The top speed is 203mph. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are unchanged from the GTB’s, though, at a combined 24.8mpg and 260g/km.
Pricing has not yet been confirmed - although the 488 is expected to follow a similar pricing pattern to the 458 Italia and Spider, with the convertible 488 model attracting a £20,000 premium over the coupé. With the coupé starting at £183,974, a price of between £200,000 and £205,000 is most likely.
The Spider is set to come with the same equipment and options as the GTB. Right-hand-drive cars are due to go on sale in late spring next year.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: