Open-top motoring just got more savage with the arrival of the Ferrari F8 Spider
Who doesn’t love convertibles? The feeling of the wind racing through your hair, the sounds of the engine reverberating through the air and the feeling of the sun kissing the back of your neck – drop-top vehicles provide a visceral experience that coupes just can’t match.
And there are few brands that can match the visceral experience of Ferrari – breakneck speeds, screaming engines and undeniable style make the Prancing Horse arguably the last word in an emotional driving experience.
The brand has a strong history of gorgeous and potent convertible models, the latest chapter of which is dedicated to the F8 Spider.
The convertible counterpart to the F8 Tributo, the F8 Spider replaces the 488 in Ferrari’s range, and has landed in Australia priced from a hefty $536,888 plus on-road costs.
Securing the privilege of owning the drop-top Ferrari will cost buyers an additional $52,000 over the base price of the F8 Tributo, while the move from the 488 Spider to F8 Spider has seen an even $10,000 increase in asking price.
With a sticker price of over half a million dollars, the F8 Spider is in exclusive company, with competition coming from the likes of the McLaren 720S Spider ($556,000), Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder ($532,635) and Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate Volante. Rarefied air, indeed.
While the connection between convertibles and arachnids is unclear, what is clear is the staggering performance of the F8 Spider, made possible with the use of the multi Engine of the Year award-winning 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8, mounted mid-ship and tuned to produce a fearsome 530kW at 8000rpm and 770Nm at 3250rpm.
Representing an improvement of 38kW/10Nm over the 488 Spider, power is channelled exclusively to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with buyers naturally being able to take over shifting duties with a set of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
All that power allows the F8 Spider to rocket from standstill to 100km/h in just 2.9 seconds – the same time as the Tributo despite a 70kg weight penalty.
Reaching 200km/h takes 8.2s – slightly adrift of the Tributo – while the top speed is a dizzying 340km/h. Just make sure your wig is glued down before attempting.
Obviously, the main drawcard of the F8 Spider is its retractable hard-top roof, which can be opened or closed in 14 seconds at speeds of up to 45km/h.
Despite the 70kg weight penalty, the F8 Spider is nevertheless 20kg trimmer than the 488 Spider, while also being more aerodynamic.
Ferrari has ensured the Spider is every bit as dynamic as the Tributo thanks to features such as the brand’s Side Slip Angle Control (SSC) 6.1 traction control system, which has been calibrated to allow for consistent drifting when entering corners and stable exits on the way out.
Casual observers may struggle to tell the difference between the 488 and F8 Spider, with a largely evolutionary design including its slim, swooping LED headlights that taper upwards towards the front wheelarches.
A wide lower air intake gives the F8 Spider a flat, purposeful look, while at the rear the signature four circular LED tail-lights provide a sense of symmetry along with the dual-exit exhaust pipes.
Ferrari has also ensured new aerodynamic enhancements have been fitted to the F8 Spider, including rear-facing front radiators that make it 10 per cent more slippery than its predecessor.
Inside, Ferrari’s Formula 1 heritage is clearly apparent, with the new-generation steering wheel housing all controls and buttons for the HMI touchscreen infotainment system, while owners can also option a second 7.0-inch display screen for the passenger’s side.
The F8 Tributo is the latest in a storied history of drop-top models from the Prancing Horse, that first started in 1947 with the 125 S – the brand’s first-ever model.
Named after the famous Mille Miglia race, the 166 MM followed the next year, and spawned a line of MM models that ran through the 1950s.
The 50s also saw the debut of a number of legendary drop-top Ferrari nameplates – the 250 California, the 250 Testa Rossa and the Dino 296.
More classics kept coming in the 1960s, such as the 365 California and 330 GTS, while the transition to the 1970s saw the arrival of the stunning Targa-style Dino 246 GTS.
The 308 GTS replaced the Dino in the mid-70s, while the arrival of the 1980s saw a stylistic change to more angular models like the 308 GTS Quattrovalvole, 328 GTS and Mondial Cabriolet, which continued into the 90s with the 348 Spider.
One of the most brutal and exclusive open-top Ferraris arrived in the 90s to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary – the F50, which at the time was the closest thing to a road-going F1 car the brand had built.
The turn of the century saw the introduction of the 360 Spider, F430 Spider, Superamerica and California, with open-top Ferraris essentially walking themselves out of dealerships.
More recent drop-top highlights from the brand include the LaFerrari Aperta, 488 Pista Spider and 812 GTS – clear evidence that the convertible Ferrari is as popular as ever.