The Ferrari 488 Spider comes from a long line of mid-engined convertible cars that started with the 246 Dino GTS in 1971. Each generation gets more powerful and more capable but the 488 is the first to not have a normally aspirated engine. The turbo-charged V8 power-plant is reduced in size to fit nicely under the 4-litre tax band for Chinese car imports. Ferrari is far from new to turbo road cars though and the 488 Spider gains a heady 100bhp over the older 458. It also has almost no noticeable lag.
While the engine appears to be the biggest difference between this car and the 458 Spider that preceded it, the most noticeable changes are int he chassis. The handling is direct and communicative in a way that very few cars have been this century. It also makes the massive power surprisingly tame and accessible. There are huge levels of grip which let go progressively as the power is put down which is very reassuring for those who aren’t a talented racing driver.
There are big torque figures available from relatively low revs all metered out by Ferrari’s Variable Torque Management system which keeps things in check in low gears. The result is a very capable car but one that isn’t as much an event as the screaming V8s that came before it.