The Ferrari 488 GTB Spider officially made its debut in South Africa on May 19 and is the latest chapter in Maranello’s ongoing history with open-top V8 sports cars.
The 488 Spider is Ferrari’s most high performance Spider ever built, says the automaker, and is powered by the 488 coupé’s 3902cc turbo-charged V8, which punches out a maximum of 492kW at 8000rpm and a maximum of 760Nm at 3000rpm.
This sports car boasts with swift acceleration times: 0 to 100km/h in 3 seconds and to 200km/h in 8.7sec! Even more significantly, a razor-sharp throttle response time of just 0.8sec essentially eliminates the turbo lag typical of this kind of engine.
The Scaglietti centre of excellence produced a light, high performance spaceframe chassis made of 11 different 6000 series aluminium alloys containing varying percentages of magnesium and with specific characteristics to meet the demands of the different areas of application.
This yields the same torsional rigidity and beam stiffness figures as the coupé, in which the roof is a structural element, improving the chassis’ performance by 23% over that of the 458 Spider.
The 488 Spider uses the RHT (Retractable Hard Top) which debuted on the 458 Spider as world-first for such a solution on a mid-rear engined car. The RHT is not only lighter (-25kg), but also provides better protection from noise and elements even when lowered courtesy of a glass wind-stop adjustable to three different positions, claims Ferrari.
The RHT can be raised or lowered in 14sec; even when the car is moving.
Promise of Ferrari zing
The car’s mechanical set-up and dynamic vehicle controls make a pivotal contribution to its sporty behaviour on the road with Manettino settings chosen for its mission. Specifically, the technicians worked on the magnetorheological dampers to guarantee maximum sportiness without compromising on comfort. The new SSC2 Side Slip Angle Control system also makes it easier for non-professional drivers to reach the limit.
Additionally, to ensure superb fun behind the wheel on more challenging routes, the 488 Spider responds virtually instantaneously to steering wheel inputs (0.06sec– 9% faster than the previous Spider).
The Ferrari Design Centre has also brought a sculptural beauty to the modifications made to accommodate the RHT and meet the aerodynamic demands of the car. Cases in point are the flying buttresses which optimally channel air flows to the engine cover, the ribbing on the engine cover and the air intakes with sculpted mesh grilles which lend that area of the car a sense of incredible dynamism, says the automaker.
The 488 Spider also debuts the new Blu Corsa livery; designed to enhance its form. The metallic particles suspended in the paint give the bodywork a gloss that underscores its sculptural volumes. Its unusual shimmering effect is created by the two-layer paintwork.
Harmonically still a Ferrari
In line with Ferrari tradition and drawing on the harmonics typical of Prancing Horse cars with this kind of architecture, Ferrari claims this 8-cylinder has its own distinctive soundtrack, thanks to exhaust headers with longer, equal-length piping and the flat-plane crankshaft.
The sound was crafted to be seductive but never invasive when the top is dropped, with both volume and clarity increasing in signature Ferrari fashion as the engine instantly responds to the accelerator pedal and revs rise, underscoring the car’s performance.
Price: From R5.5-million
Type 90° V8, turbo-charged, dry sump
Total displacement 3902cm3
Bore and stroke 86.5x83mm
Maximum power 492kW at 8000rpm
Maximum torque 760Nm at 3000rpm
Dimensions and weight
Front track 1679mm
Rear track 1647mm
Kerb weight** 1525kg
Dry weight** 1420kg
Weight distribution 41.5% front – 58.5% rear
Boot capacity 230L
Fuel tank capacity 78L
Transmission and gearbox
7-speed F1 dual-clutch transmission
Maximum speed >325 km/h