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Ferrari 458 Spider 2013 Review

EXPERT RATING
9

I could be suffering from 'F' lag. It's like jet lag, but you get it from spending too much time in a Ferrari. A couple of days is all right but any longer than this and you simply won't want to give it back.

It leaves this horrible, gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach  an emptiness that just can't be filled. I started to feel this way shortly after handing back the keys to the fabulous 458 Spider on Friday afternoon. The first day you're too cautious to enjoy the experience, the next day you start to get the hang of it and by the third day you and the car begin to bond  then just as suddenly it's over . . .

VALUE

Big breath. It kicks off from $588,000 with various carbon fibre bits and pieces extra for ludicrous amounts of money. Not even my surgeon mate who owns a Porsche can afford one of these babies. This is a bloke who works 90 hours a week and can remove a brain tumour through your nose. In which case, what the hell hope is there for a paper bagger like me?

DESIGN

It's incredibly low and wide, almost too wide for our driveway gates which in part contributes to its fantastic handling. Push the button and the Pininfarina styled, mid-engined sports car magically transforms into an open topped roadster, with two seats  one for you and anyone game to be your passenger.

There's a penalty for this convenience because you lose the transparent engine cover of the hardtop. Most people comment on how quiet the car, that is until the baffles open and the exhaust gives full vent to the V8. Then you can hear it coming from a block away.

ENGINE

It's powered by a 4.5-litre naturally aspirated V8 that delivers 419kW of power at 9000 revs and 540Nm of torque at 6000 revs, enough mumbo to propel the mid-engined Spider from rest to 100km/h in a withering 3.4 seconds. The old 'quarter mile' takes 11.4 seconds and it has a top speed where permissible of 320km/h.

The state of the art V8 features direction injection and a dry sump, with fuel consumption of 11.8 litres/100km from the 86 litre tank. Although it has a trip computer, the one thing it doesn't tell you is average fuel consumption  suffice to say we got just under 500km from the 86-litre tank. But, as the service manager pointed out, if you can afford to own one, you're not going to be too concerned about how much fuel it uses.

DRIVING

We were tentative, very tentative at first. But the Spider is actually very easy to drive once you get the hang of it. Several "take me for a rides" later, we were banging through the gears like a pro. The V8 is hooked up to a seven-speed twin clutch Getrag transmission that operates as an auto, or you can change gears with the large, steering wheel mounted change paddles.

Doing so elicits a much more satisfying response, with a jolt each time it changes up  bang, bang, bang! The sound is to die for. Various drive modes are accessed through the Manettino flip switch affixed to the steering wheel, from wet to sport to full off for the traction system.

Reverse is engaged via a button at the the foot of the centre instrument console and there is even a button for raising the front of the car so it doesn't scrape over driveways. The JBL audio system is secreted somewhere behind the dash and the controls are accessible only though the right hand of the two computer screens which doubles as a huge digital speedometer.

VERDICT

It's a cruel world. How can something so spectacularly good remain so impossibly out of reach. Then again what is the point when the speed limit is 110km/h and it can do 320km/h, with plenty of cops wanting nothing better than to put your red feather in their cap   the disconnect is enormous.

Ferrari 458 Spider
Price: from $588,000
Engine: 4.5-litre V8 , 419kW/540Nm
Transmission: seven-speed twin clutch auto, RWD
Thirst: 17.2L/100km (as tested), 11.8L/100km combined cycle
0-100 km/h: 3.4 seconds

 

Pricing Guides

$272,690
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$249,810
Highest Price
$295,570

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Spider 4.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $257,180 – 295,570 2013 Ferrari 458 2013 Spider Pricing and Specs
Italia 4.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $249,810 – 287,100 2013 Ferrari 458 2013 Italia Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
9