here’s a strong case to be made that the Ferrari 488 Spider is the single greatest modern automobile for sale in all the world.
No, it does not ride with the minx-fur plushness of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. No, it does not brim with the cutting-edge electronic gizmos you’ll find in, say, a BMW 750i. It is not as fast as a few ultra-exotic supercars. And it costs … well, a bit more than a new Honda Accord. That said, after spending a week behind the wheel of this Italian marvel, I cannot think of another car that, in one package, combines such beauty, speed, refinement, comfort, quality, livability, character, and sheer sex appeal as the 488. Being able to open the cockpit to the world outside at the touch of the button is simply a bravura encore to this Ferrari’s already majestic performance—as if to say, “You think that was great, now try it with the sun shining through your hair.”
The test car arrived dressed in a historical color first seen on open-top Ferraris from the 1950s and 1960s. Dubbed “Avorio,” it’s a rich, ivory shade that at first seemed unusual but steadily grew on me the more I lived with the Ferrari. The paint worked especially well when the folding Spider hardtop was down—thereby showcasing the contrasting red-leather seats, belts, and trim in the cockpit. It’s a striking combo and, frankly, a refreshing departure from the usual racing-red paint with black hides insideThe quality of this automobile is simply in-your-face. Wrap your fingers around the fat leather-and-carbon-fiber wheel. Ahhhh. Fits like a Ferragamo glove, with a thickness at the 3- and 9-o’clock positions that feels so right you wonder why all steering wheels aren’t designed this way. Buttons for the horn are recessed into the leather above where your thumbs lie; other switches include a big, red start/stop button, turn signals you press at right or left, a shock-firmness button, and, of course, Ferrari’s famed manettino dial for choosing your preferred driving mode. My test car’s wheel also featured a row of LED redline indicators on top—très Grand Prix. The leather racing seats with carbon shells ($9,110) fit my backside to perfection. Elsewhere, the cockpit fairly gleamed with lusciously polished carbon-fiber trim (indeed, this tester sparkled with a staggering $72,370 worth of optional carbon-fiber interior and exterior pieces). No giant central touchscreen in this sporting purebred. Instead, the 488 presents you with a big central tach and, at left, a useful multi-function display. Yes, at $393,411 as tested this Spider was breathtakingly expensive—but it looked the part down to the smallest detail.