The Italian Stallion’s much anticipated 458 replacement finally broke cover this February before making its official world premiere at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Taking over as the new backbone of the Ferrari stable, the mid-engined 488 GTB sent out all the right signals at its glittering debut, impressing with an unmistakable air of Maranello chic in the design department and 661bhp of V8 grunt in the engine room.
Now, ahead of the next big stop-off on the European Motor Show Calendar in Frankfurt, attention shifts to the 488 GTB’s drop-top variant. Today, Maranello has ended speculation by releasing the first official images and video of the 488 Spider, its most powerful mid-engined V8 convertible ever.
Clad in eye-catching blue livery, the Spider looks every bit as seductive as its coupé sibling. Retaining the coupé’s chiselled front end and characteristic side-mounted air intakes, the 488 Spider benefits from cutting edge technological enhancements in every department – starting with the engine.
Like the GTB, the 488 Spider will dance to the tune of Ferrari’s twin-turbocharged 3.9 litre V8. This 661bhp engine will underpin the whole 488 range and, in the case of the Spider, propels the car from a standing start to 62mph in 3 seconds dead. 125mph is vanquished in under 8.7 seconds, with maximum torque topping 560lb/ft.
Of course, no Ferrari is about brute force alone and the 488 Spider is certainly no exception.
Indeed, the never-ending war to reconcile optimum aerodynamic performance with the physical necessities of drop-top design has played a key role in the conception and construction of the 488 Spider. This particular model lays claim to being the Prancing Horse’s most aerodynamically efficient spider ever, thanks to a complex aero package that optimises downforce whilst reducing drag. This paradox is made possible by the application of some very clever engineering indeed. Several innovative devices, such as a blown spoiler and an aerodynamic underbody featuring vortex generators, work in tandem to enhance airflow.
The chassis itself is forged from lightweight aluminium, as is the 488 Spider’s heavily sculpted body. For you number crunchers out there, Ferrari claim that this spider’s chassis performance is as much as 23% improved compared to the outgoing 458 equivalent. Handling response times are now 9% faster and acceleration out of corners is precisely 12% more rapid courtesy of closely integrated electronic and mechanical handling systems. Overall throttle response time now stands at a lightning 0.8 seconds, essentially banishing any trace of turbo lag.
Even if the numbers don’t grab your attention, the majestic V8 roar certainly will. In proud Ferrari tradition, the 488 Spider is specially tuned to belt out its own unique soundtrack. Within 14 seconds you can have the roof down and be enjoying the ultimate twin-turbocharged open air concert, the pitch rising and falling to the rhythm of your foot.
The new Ferrari 488 Spider is due to premiere in September at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show where we will be able to gauge how Maranello’s next-generation drop-top measures up in the flesh.
Watch the 488 Spider make its grand entrance below.