The 458 Spider, or convertible, is new for 2012. The Spider's hard top pivots rearward and is stored under a tonneau cover -- electrically, in only fourteen seconds. The mechanism is similar in concept to that of the 2005 575M Superamerica and, according to Ferrari, is 55 pounds lighter than a folding soft top and takes up less space...
The 458 was all new last year; it's the latest in a long line of Ferrari sports cars with a mid-mounted V-8 engine. The 458 succeeded the F430, which itself replaced the 360 Modena, the model that more than any other put Ferrari back atop its pedestal as the maker of the world's finest sports cars. The 458, like nothing else on the road today, is an intoxicating cocktail of knife-edged performance and computer-controlled driving bliss. The pistons in the direct-injected V-8 displace 4.5 liters of volume. (That, plus the number of cylinders, begat the name 458.) Redlined at 9000 bellowing rpm, the engine produces a staggering 562 hp, enough to accelerate to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds -- and on to a top speed of 202 mph. (The Spider manages "only" 3.5 seconds and 198 mph.) Thanks to its looks, its sound, and its heritage, the Ferrari creates a scene wherever it goes. Driven in anger, it emits none of the high-pitched sweetness of its V-8 predecessors; the direct-injected eight yells a baritone wail. It corners as if each tire had negotiated its exclusion from the laws of physics, demonstrating razor-sharp reflexes and chassis balance that no engineer could have dreamed of a decade ago. As Ferrari moves further into the computer-controlled future, there's no chance to mourn the manual transmission. The 458 is about speed, and it speeds like no other sports car in the world.
Trim levels: Italia, Spider
Body styles: Coupe, convertible, 2-passenger
Engine: 4.5L V-8, 562 hp, 398 lb-ft
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Passenger Volume: N/A
Cargo space: 8.1 cu ft
The 458 has some of the world's best antilock braking, traction, and stability control systems. If you crash one, you'll find a picture of yourself on wreckedexotics.com, and everyone will know it's your fault -- so try to avoid that. The 458 has dual front air bags, too. Here's hoping they never deploy.
EPA Fuel Economy
If You Like This Vehicle
- Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Audi R8 GT