Friday, October 21, 2011

458 Spider launch

There's always a fear that when a coupe becomes a convertible that the tight, bulletproof feel of the former fails to translate to the latter - fear not, Ferrari fans, the 458 has lost little of its strong-bodied feel. Only sporadically will a shimmy be sparked by a shocking road surface, but it is rare and doesn't adversely effect the ride (which is very good given its abilities) or the drive experience, which is stupendous. The 0-100km/h claim remains near three seconds and the top speed claim is 320km/h - nothing about the road drive suggests those figures are optimistic.

The snarling V8 is maniacal as it heads for the 9000rpm redline - yes, 9000rpm - and it's a soundtrack that overloads the nervous system. Instant changes from the seven-speed twin-clutch briefly change the orchestra's pitch and straights are obliterated. Tipping the Spider into the bends is child's play, the steering is quick and there's no misinformation - just a corner completed with considerable speed and little fuss, unless you have backed the electronics off and have the skills to play with the tail.

The engineering team say the suspension and throttle mapping have been wound back a little for the Spider, which is more likely to be driven daily and with a passenger - it's a little less frenetic than the coupe in a good way. This is really a superb driving machine in every way.