It’s a pleasure to watch the red horse trotting along Jumeirah beach, pausing at signals or parking itself by the little malls for admiring eyes to feast on. Those strolling along The Walk at JBR could find their walk worthwhile if they get a fill of a Ferrari moving at the same pace as they are. But I have never envied the itching limbs of a driver stuck inside a 488 cabin in slow traffic – coz you haven’t tested a Ferrari until you have flogged it on a proper racetrack. And that’s how I ended up behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 Spider on the Yas Marina Circuit.

Top secured; not rolled down. In Blu Corsa livery; not red.

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The Drive

The insightful drive with Nemo, the driver from Ferrari Corsa highlighted the exceptional traction control. As clearly felt during the road test of the 488 GTB, the new Brembo Extreme Design ceramic brakes are truly amazing – unobtrusive, sure and reducing stopping distances by 9%!

The Spider has been specified in the same fashion as the 488 GTB, including the options available within the cabin, and in the race mode. The power train is exactly the same with a 660 hp output – 169 hp for every litre of engine output – delivered through the 7-speed F1 dual clutch gearbox. More importantly, the drag co-efficient and down force have been maintained exceptionally low.

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While the 488 Spider has a reinforced structure that makes it 50 kg heavier than the GTB, Ferrari figures show a 0 – 100 that is the same for the coupe and the drop-top, even though the top speed is slower by around 5 kmph (330 kmph for the GTB and 325 for the Spider). By the time the speedo touches the 200 kmph mark, the difference on the stopwatch is perceptible – from 8.3 seconds for the GTB to 8.7 sec for the Spider.

As Nimo gives me a quick tour of the circuit in the 488 Spider, his comment on the car’s ease of handling at high speeds is telling. Watch the video.

Driving the Ferrari 488 on track not only urged me to sharpen my racing line (I promptly booked three experiences at Yas Marina to hone those skills!) but all the more highlighted the ability of the 488 to make up for the driver’s lapses. Including the late turn-ins, overzealous acceleration and ill-balanced braking. Even a novice can drive this car without the fear of losing it!

With race ready tyres and minimal tuning, it can straightaway line up behind the Ferarri Challenge cars! This one is after all the forerunner of the Ferrari 488 Challenge car that will join the race next year, replacing the 458 challenge car. The reassuring racing fact is that the turbo lag hardly made a difference to the 488 even on the track, on my climb to its rather lofty peaks.

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The 488 Spider gave me a taste of the renewed reassurance of a family legacy, marking another great era of road car racing.

The cabin

The cabin is more ergonomic in its layout of buttons while small details like a covered space for odds and ends have also been taken care of – a handy feature when parking with the top down. The new seats have fixed headrests, and they contain you in a very comfortable way: thanks to new profiles and padding. So, if you wish to take your Ferrari on your trip to Fujairah or Abu Dhabi, you’ll still arrive smiling!

The Convertible

The retractable hard top, or RHT, was employed in a mid-rear engine car for the first time when it debuted on the 458 Spider. It was 25 kilograms lighter than a conventional soft-top and offered better protection from the noise and the elements.

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The Aero

The 488 Spider is the most aerodynamically efficient Ferrari drop-top ever. The aero solutions are rather innovative in that it integrates optimal downforce even as it reduces drag (two normally mutually-exclusive objectives). This is achieved through several innovative devices, including a blown spoiler and an aerodynamic underbody incorporating vortex generators. The mechanical and electronic systems, including Side Slip Control 2 or SSC2, improve vehicle response time by 9% compared with the previous Spider. The 488 shows 12% faster longitudinal acceleration out of corners than the 458 Spider. Specific gear ratios match the engine’s huge torque output and, combined with Variable Torque Management, deliver progressively greater torque values in higher gears, making each gear more exciting to explore!

Go to the Ferrari 488 GTB Review

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The 488 Spider, like other Ferrari models, comes with a 7-year maintenance package that takes care of all regular maintenance. The service interval is once in 20,000 km or 1 year.

Watch the Ferrari 488 Spider experience in the window above. Or Watch more videos on the OneMinute Drive channel.

The Ferrari 488 Spider Experience was last modified: December 27th, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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