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Looking Back: The Ferrari 458 Spider -- Bucket List Worthy

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On: Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 2:30PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Looking Back:  The Ferrari 458 Spider -- Bucket List Worthy

If you have never had the good fortune to sit inside of a Ferrari while its driver rips off a couple redline shifts down an open freeway onramp, you seriously need to add that little soul-stirring experience to your bucket list. If you don't have a bucket list, may we suggest you go get a pen, some paper, and jot down at least one item on that list. There is simply nothing quite like it. There are few sounds in this world that can actually reach through you and excite your soul, but for an automotive enthusiast of any level, the banshee-like shriek of 40 valves fluttering wildly in a short-stroke V8 masterpiece at 9000 rpm is unparalleled in the physical realm.

The only thing that comes close to hearing a Prancing Horse at full song is, well, hearing it sing louder. Enter the 458 Spider. For all intents and purposes, the 458 Spider is actually an inferior model, compared to its fixed-roof brethren. Although it is powered by the same magnificent 4.5-liter V8 pumping out 562 heaven-sent horsepower at 9000 rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at 6000 rpm funneled through the same 7-speed dual-clutch tranny, the Spider is 110 pounds heavier at 3450 pounds, which negatively affects all aspects of performance. That being said, the topless version is slower by a tenth or two as speed increases. 0–60 mph comes up a tenth slower at 3.1 seconds, as does the quarter mile in 11.1 seconds. Even on the top end, the Spider does only an even 200 mph, which is a couple miles per hour off of the standard 458 Italia. On top of everything else, the Spider commands a price tag roughly 12 percent higher than the standard 458, coming in just shy of $260,000.

Beyond all of the performance issues, the Spider is also aesthetically different from the coupe in that there is no engine-under-glass motif that most Ferraris are given these days because the folding top has to go somewhere when it is down, and there is only so much space in the 458 to begin with. In response to the design change, Ferrari had to make ducts on the rear of the deck lid to help supply the engine with enough air to breathe. So with all of these downsides, why bother with the Spider? Well, the only thing better than hearing a Ferrari at redline is hearing a Ferrari at redline with the top down. Though the 'vert is admittedly less of a performer than the coupe, with the push of a button, the tonneau cover behind the seats opens up, the metal roof folds and slides in, and the cover closes, leaving the nothing but a clear view of the entire world for 360 degrees, and there is even less between that wonderful motor and your ears.

So, sure, the Spider is a bit off the mark when it comes to a head-to-head competition with the coupe, but, honestly, for potential buyers who are not the type to run their $250,000 piece of artwork around an autocross event every weekend and just want the most enjoyable Ferrari experience possible that doesn't involve beating the hell out of it, the Spider might just be the car they've been looking for in order to cross off one more item on their bucket list. With any luck, that lucky guy or girl will be willing to have a passenger once in a while, because with the advent of the 458 Spider, Ferrari has just added to a lot more bucket lists around the world.


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