Best of the Best 2012: Convertibles: Ferrari 458 Spider

  • Ferrari 458 Spider
  • Ferrari 458 Spider

Ferrari purists seldom are followers of soft-top fashion, preferring the marque’s rigid berlinettas and their beautiful flowing forms to the canvas-roofed spiders. However, Ferrari’s latest mid-engine marvel, the 458 Italia, has morphed into a convertible without the fussy fabric flying buttresses of its predecessors. The 458 Spider features a folding aluminum hard top that transforms the convertible into a civilized coupe. When raised, the top cuts an elegant profile, but it disappears completely when the 458 sets out in full Spider mode. The aluminum top weighs about 50 pounds less than a conventional folding soft top.

The 458 Italia set the bar for modern sports cars, and the 458 Spider compares well to its berlinetta brother when it comes to performance and torsional rigidity. Ferrari engineers have maintained the same exquisite handling characteristics and steering feedback bordering on telepathy that make the Italia such a thrill to drive.

Of course, the real thrill of the 458 Spider is situated aft of the driver, where eight stampeding pistons spool up to a fevered 9,000 rpm redline, tempting the driver with every gear change. The 4.5-liter V-8 develops 562 hp and 398 ft lbs of torque and enables the Spider to nudge the 200 mph mark when the top is up. When the top is down, the engine’s induction roar and exhaust note delight driver and passenger with a soul-stirring scream that accompanies every high-rpm shift. Gear changes with the 7-speed, dual-clutch, paddle-shift gearbox are lightning fast and butter smooth. With a dry weight of less than 3,200 pounds, the 458 Spider is relatively light and shoots from zero to 60 mph in about 3.3 seconds.

The interior is impeccably detailed Italian modern. Leather and carbon fiber are plentiful, as are space and comfort, making the 458 Spider a true grand-touring convertible for two.

Ferrari, www.ferrari.com

From Around the Web...
The 1950 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta that will be available at the RM Sotheby's Amelia Island sale.
From a provenance-rich roadster to a rare Rolls-Royce, each car is any collector’s dream…
Porsche 550 Spyder
The Seduction Motorsports 550 Spyder offers alluring retro details and mandatory modern upgrades…
Inside the Bugatti Atelier in Molsheim, France.
With assembly done by hand, the Chiron’s construction is the only slow aspect of the automobile…
The Ferrari 812 Superfast
The marque’s cutting-edge coupe carries a 789 hp, 6.5-liter V-12 that allows a top speed of 211 mph…
Indian Roadmaster Classic
Vintage design elements distinguish the Roadmaster Classic, a variant of the acclaimed Roadmaster…
Faraday Future Dragon Racing competes in Formula E.
The premier publishing brand brings added voltage to the hard-charging electric-vehicle race team…
A Woodill Wildfire from the 1954 film Johnny Dark with Tony Curtis.
From McQueen’s racer in Le Mans to Presley’s Corvette in Clambake, these machines made movie magic…
The Chevrolet Camaro 1LE performance package makes the legendary muscle car more agile on the...
Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic
Shorter than the SVAutobiography, the new SUV handles better and is just as refined…
Copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Photo by Mathieu Heurtault.
Two Aston Martin coupes and a roadster from Lancia are among the favorites to fall under the hammer…