For those with petrol coursing in their veins in place of blood, to shear the roof off a coupe is akin to mixing 7 Up into a bottle of 1982 Chateau Lafite. It destroys the purity of the drive by adding heft; additional structures have to be bolted on to compensate for, but never quite overcoming, the loss in rigidity.
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Which is why Ferrari tells us that its customers are cleanly split 50:50 into two categories: those who would buy only a fixed-roof model, and those who won’t consider anything but a Spider (the moniker for its retractable hard-top cars).
But Prancing Horse’s latest 488 Spider might just change that. For the first time, Ferrari has created a drop top – its fastest ever – that isn’t hobbled by any performance handicap over the equivalent fixed-roof version, the 488 GTB. None that anyone except those armed with a laboratory full of scientific instruments can discern, anyway.
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Both cars accelerate to 100kmh in three seconds flat. With the roof up, the Spider shares the same torsional rigidity of the coupe, thanks to the use of 11 types of alloy. There’s so little difference between the two 488 variants that, when Ferrari tried to tune the suspension for the Spider, it found that the Spider worked best with the exact same settings as the coupe.
This car is remarkable feat of engineering by Ferrari. Perhaps, one day, ordering a Spider would be as prosaic as ticking off the option box for a sunroof?