2020 Ferrari F8 Spider first drive review: The perfect summer fling

Matthew N. Henry

The breadth of versatility in fashionable supercars is staggering. A 710-horsepower Ferrari F8 Spider will make you snicker maniacally when you launch it and rip your encounter off with its cornering power. But it will also run errands with the docility of a Honda Accord. A very loud, very flashy Honda Accord.

Every single new Ferrari has to be engineered to lap the hell out of Fiorano or Monza, even if most will never ever even see so a great deal as the parking whole lot of a race circuit. That will make a car like the F8 Spider amazingly quick to stay with and enjoy each individual working day — primarily on a heat summer afternoon in Southern California. But make no mistake, that does not mean it really is any less thrilling. 

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You’ve already fulfilled the F8 Tributo, the very worthy successor to the unbelievable Ferrari 488. The F8 packs more electric power, its interior is more lavish and its exterior design will make a much better statement — for better or worse. I am going to be genuine, my personal descriptors of this car’s styling are not specifically good — “a very little a great deal” is what is prepared down in my notebook — but it undoubtedly would not be a Ferrari if it failed to flip heads. I are unable to believe of a further car that nearly triggered so numerous gawking-induced wrecks above the course of 24 hours.

When you clear away the roof, which usually takes just fourteen seconds, the Spider does away with just one of the F8 Tributo’s most controversial functions: the rear window. On the Tributo, this is manufactured of Lexan, and sliced three periods for visible interest. Does it glance great? Guaranteed. Does it absolutely destroy rearward visibility? You betcha. Instead, the Spider has a system-coloured rear panel, beneath which is wherever the roof is stowed when folded back. This signifies you are unable to truly see that monstrous V8 from exterior the car. But it signifies you can see what is driving you by the rearview mirror. Type of tricky to make a decision which is more crucial with a Ferrari.

Following all, that motor is just one hell of a showpiece. As in the F8 Tributo, the Spider’s three.nine-liter twin-turbo V8 will make 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, and thanks to a lighter crankshaft and flywheel, the motor weighs about forty kilos less than the just one in the 488. Massive side intakes feed great air into the turbochargers, and the massive inset tailpipes belt out a track that is just not very as intoxicating as a obviously aspirated V8 rasp, but it will however wake the neighbors two blocks away on a chilly commence.

Setting off in Los Angeles traffic, I located the F8 Spider experienced a very temporary studying curve. Drive a button for reverse, pull the ideal paddle to place the 7-speed automatic transmission into initial equipment. Use the toggles on the steering wheel to activate the flip alerts (I loathe this, by the way). Strike the suspension button on the left side of the wheel to place the F8 in Bumpy Street method, giggle at the cuteness of the identify and then enjoy the out of the blue smoother ride excellent. Never hassle with anything at all but the default Activity method in city streets or on the freeway. And you should not hassle wanting for any driver aid functions. There are not any.

Even just before you get to a fantastic driving highway, the F8 Spider plainly communicates its intentions. The steering is borderline darty with its quickness, but provides you plenty of element about what is taking place wherever your tires meet up with the pavement. The brakes are a very little tricky to modulate, but offer you a reassuringly sturdy bite, letting you know they are going to be there to carry you back to actuality should really you get carried away. The V8 has a massive reserve of electric power, but it does not feel like a dam which is about to burst. You can roll on to the throttle and speed up up to freeway speeds swiftly, but not overwhelmingly so.

But when you get off the freeway and stage that homely nose up a canyon highway, holy cannoli, does the F8 rip. Ferrari quotations a -to-sixty-mph acceleration time of 2.nine seconds, matching that of the hardtop F8 Tributo, the shift lights on the steering wheel flashing red just just before you pull the paddle and slap into the up coming equipment. The rear-wheel-drive Spider has no difficulties clawing into the highway and placing the full brunt of its electric power by all those 305-area tires. The entrance finish lifts somewhat as you launch ahead. The V8 wails. The planet flies by. Do not let go, and be confident your hat’s on tight.

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This is wherever you discover the other finish of the F8’s capability spectrum. Every single flip is satisfying. Every single electric power-on minute out of a hairpin will make me smile. Every single motion in the F8 is so great that it starts to feel effortless after a though. And just when I believe I’m not offering the car my all, digging even deeper into the throttle reveals a whole ‘nother amount of aggression I hadn’t but found.

I could do this all working day extensive.

That’s primarily genuine specified how relaxed the F8 Spider is, even with the — gulp — $nine,112 carbon fiber racing seats (which of course then signifies incorporating the $2,531 racing seat lifter, as effectively as the $one,266 prancing horse emblems on the headrests, and you should really absolutely have them completed up in blue like my tester). With its shallow middle tunnel and trim row of weather controls on the decrease element of the dashboard, what seems to be a smaller cockpit is truly very roomy, primarily with the Spider’s endless headroom. There is just not specifically a great deal in the way of storage area, on the other hand, even in the entrance trunk, which is huge more than enough for a pair of backpacks and not a great deal more.

Should really your co-driver get bored (trace: drive speedier), the $4,556 7-inch touchscreen passenger show has more functions than it did in the 488, demonstrating issues like multimedia and navigation data, as effectively as performance metrics like acceleration and cornering forces so they can back up the expertise with real info.

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Speaking of in-car tech, effectively, there is just not a great deal to converse of. A rudimentary infotainment procedure is housed in a smaller monitor in the gauge cluster, controlled by a knob and some buttons to the ideal of the steering wheel. The expertise is just not all that wonderful, so I advise just performing by Apple CarPlay, assuming you’re an Apple iphone consumer, and assuming you you should not head paying a wholly absurd $4,129 for the privilege of utilizing your possess tech.

Not that dollars truly issues when you’re speaking about a Ferrari. Following all, the $302,500 starting up cost — which incorporates $three,950 for spot and a $one,three hundred fuel guzzler tax — is truly just the beginning. As soon as you option it up to your ideal spec, you’ll be shelling out a boatload of added funds. The Giallo Modena car you see here? It can be received $94,494 in insert-ons, including titanium exhaust pipes, carbon fiber pieces and a top quality audio procedure. At $396,994 as tested, this Ferrari is more highly-priced than any residence I’ve ever lived in. Neat.

The real figure to care about is $23,000, mainly because which is how a great deal more the Spider prices than the F8 Tributo coupe, which is essentially chump transform if you can now afford to pay for to park a Ferrari or three in the driveway of just one of your numerous residences. That huge caveat out of the way, I say stay a very little and go for the Spider. It seems to be just as fantastic (so I’m advised) and performs each individual bit as admirably, whether or not you’re managing by canyons or just managing errands.

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