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The Ferrari 488 Spider is a 203mph, 661bhp, turbo super-cabrio

Unveiled in Frankfurt, Maranello's drop-top V8 will do 0-62mph in three seconds flat. Hold onto your trilby

As surely as night follows day, an open-top Ferrari V8 has arrived a scant few months after the coupe. Yet while there’s no great surprise about the new 488 Spider – a 488 GTB for the sun-seekers, unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show – there’s plenty of fanfare.
Being a modern Ferrari, the 488 Spider’s key boasts all centre, somewhat unromantically, around maths and science. Like this one: it’s as structurally stiff as the coupe it’s spun from, giving it a full 23 per cent more torsional rigidity than the 458 Spider it supersedes. Be still your beating heart.
We’d bet our house on the car itself being heart-stoppingly entertaining, though. Driving its rear wheels is the same 661bhp, 560lb ft twin-turbocharged V8 as the 488 GTB, and while the Spider’s kerbweight is 50kg chunkier, at 1525kg, Ferrari claims it’s not enough to dent the coupe’s 3.0sec 0-62mph time.

It’ll also hit 124mph from standstill in 8.7sec, not letting up steam until 203mph.
The power is channelled via Ferrari’s suite of driver-flattering electronics, with the second-gen Side Slip Angle Control the headline act. Ferrari’s cold-hearted number-crunching declares 12 per cent faster acceleration out of corners; perhaps more importantly it’ll help you carve silly slides, regardless whether your first name’s Ken, Seb or otherwise.
The only bodywork carried over from the 458 Spider is the retractable roof, which remains a two-part, electronically folding hard-top. Aerodynamic improvements abound, though, with underbody vortex generators helping stick the car to the road, while the rear glass window can adopt any of three different positions to help optimise comfort around your head. You’ll want to crank it all the way down, though, for as much noise as the blown V8 can throw at your eardrums.

Wondering why it’s been introduced so soon after the GTB model? Apparently the buyers are very different people, so if Ferrari introduces a GTB and makes people wait for the Spider, that might mean lost sales.

The Ferrari marketing people say that GTB buyers are ‘egoists who drive alone’ whereas the Spider crowd are more sociable: ‘They carry a passenger and share the experience.’

So although the engineers claim the Spider is equally capable a supercar as the GTB, the GTB buyers would never be happy with a Spider. That’s despite the fact the Spider actually has a retractable hard top.
Prices haven’t been confirmed yet, but apply the 458 Spider’s 20-grand price premium over the coupe, and you wind up with a £204,000 car before options. It’s a lot, but if we had a second home, we’d bet that too on the 488 being worth most of those pounds…

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