Ferrari 458 Spider convertible (2012-2016)
"The Ferrari 458 Spider is the brand's fastest-ever convertible, capable of 198mph."
- Glorious engine noise
- Stunning performance
- Incredible looks and design
- Hefty price tag
- Steep running costs
- Limited luggage space
The Ferrari 458 Spider is the latest in a long line of exclusive convertible sports cars created by the legendary Italian manufacturer. It uses the same high-revving 562bhp 4.5-litre V8 engine as the sensational 458 Italia coupe and hurtles from 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds before reaching an incredible top speed of 198mph. The two-part aluminium roof folds in only 14 seconds, slotting beneath a panel that rises up ahead of the engine cover.
Inside, the Spider features the same Formula One-inspired steering wheel and high-class cabin as the coupe, while the glass rear screen doubles as a windbreak to keep buffeting to a minimum. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox shifts in the blink of an eye, while the standard ceramic brakes deliver astonishing stopping power.
Outside, the Spider looks every bit as stunning as the coupe. The bulges in the snug-fitting roof blend into sharp buttresses, while the 458 looks even more glamorous with the roof down.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The 458 Spider can be specified with an optional HELE (High Emotion Low Emission) stop-start system for £980. This drops CO2 emissions from 307g/km to 275g/km and improves fuel consumption. Your annual tax will still cost £505, although the service interval is a fairly normal 12,500 miles or 12 months and all servicing is free for the first seven years. All Ferrari owners also get a four-year warranty.
Engines, drive & performance
It isn't just the attraction of open-air motoring that makes the 458 Spider such a tantalising prospect. Body strengthening makes it 50kg heavier than the coupe, but it feels every bit as fast, while impressive rigidity means it corners with the same agility and responsiveness.
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There's huge grip and loads of feel through the controls, while you can tailor the accelerator response, gearshift and suspension settings to your taste using the 'manettino' dial on the steering wheel. Plus, with the roof folded down, the sensational V8 engine sounds even more glorious.
Interior & comfort
A large percentage of Ferrari 458 Spider customers use their car every day (far more than the 458 Italia coupe). So it’s a good job the Spider is more comfortable than most supercars. Adaptive dampers deliver a surprisingly compliant ride, while the clever glass rear screen keeps cabin buffeting to a minimum. A fantastic driving position, plus supportive and comfortable seats are other big plus points.
Practicality & boot space
Practicality isn't a big priority in open-topped supercars, but Ferrari has made sure the 458 Spider is somewhat useable from day to day. There's a small but deep boot in the nose and a useful luggage shelf behind the rear seats. This is actually bigger than in the coupe's, and Ferrari sells custom-made luggage kits to fit both areas. A smartly laid-out cabin and easy-to-use stereo and heater controls complete the experience, and better still, the fully automatic roof folds in just 14 seconds at the touch of a button.
Reliability & safety
The 458 Italia has been a huge hit and its robust build quality and Formula One-inspired technology mean it feels like an exceptionally well engineered machine. The Spider is no different and its roof mechanism is beautifully designed. Only very rough road surfaces cause the body to flex, and even then the effect is negligible. Solid and beautifully finished, the 458 Spider features side airbags for crash safety, while a clever differential and adjustable electronic stability control ensure it feels reassuring in all conditions.
Price, value for money & options
The 458 Spider is a very expensive car, but with an 18-month waiting list, it's clearly worth every penny to those lucky enough to afford one. The Spider costs £25,675 more than the Italia coupe, but still accounts for 60% of all UK 458 sales. There's a huge range of personalisation options and most customers specify several thousand pounds' worth of bespoke trim, alloy wheels and details. The ceramic brakes, dual-clutch transmission and adaptive dampers are all standard, though.