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2014 Ferrari 458 Spider

Overview
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2014 Ferrari 458 Spider Review

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There are only a handful of mid-engine exotics on the market, but few have the gravitas and envy of the Ferrari 458 Italia and its convertible sibling, the 2014 458 Spider. Ferrari’s F1 racing expertise has helped tune a car so dialed in it feels like it was born on a track. This pedigree also gives the 458 a distinct edge over other supercars, such as the Audi R8 V10 and Lamborghini Gallardo. The secret to the 458’s success is a 562-horsepower V8 teamed with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. This pairing permits the 458 to catapult to 60 mph in a mere 3.4 seconds, but it’s the suspension’s ability to manage that power that makes the Ferrari 458 one of the most desired exotics for 2014.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you have the money and skill to drive one of the world’s best exotic luxury performance cars, the Ferrari 458 Italia and Spider for 2014 are hard to beat. The 458 outshines the McLaren MP4-12C in the curves, and its interior is more race-oriented than in an Audi R8.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If pure performance for the money is your goal, you can get plenty of it from the Audi R8, Chevrolet Corvette Z06 or Porsche 911 and pay a lot less money than you’d shell out for a 2014 Ferrari 458 Italia.

What's New for 2014

The limited-production Ferrari 458 Speciale joins the 2014 lineup. It is basically a lighter, quicker, better-handling and more powerful version of the Italia. Side Slip Control software makes the Speciale the best-handling Ferrari in the 458 stable.

Driving the 458 Spider
Driving Impressions

Of all the exotics we’ve driven for 2014, the Ferrari 458 Italia has to be our favorite. We honestly can’t offer a bad word against it, mostly because the joy...

... of driving has been maintained without interference from numerous electronic assists. The driver experiences supreme confidence from the perfectly-tuned chassis and suspension, a feeling that won’t be replicated in other, less well-heeled exotics. From the precise steering interface between driver and car, to the fabulously-quick dual-clutch transmission that ticks off gear changes in just nanoseconds, Ferrari’s 458 supercar is not only in the running for the best Ferrari, but quite possibly the best performance car ever built. As not to sound too overly biased, we can tick off a few flaws, namely an over-abundance of controls affixed to the steering wheel, snug legroom and a price tag only the upper end of the one-percent can afford.

RETRACTABLE HARDTOP
With a lightweight aluminum hardtop that retracts in just 14 seconds, the Ferrari 458 Spider takes on a whole new look, one that is equally as stunning as the fixed-roof Italia.

4.5-LITER V8
Without resorting to the need for twin turbochargers or even a supercharger, Ferrari still manages to deliver 562 horsepower (597 in the Speciale) from a normally-aspirated V8. That’s nothing short of spectacular.

2014 Ferrari 458 Spider Details
Interior

The Ferrari 458, with its mid-engine layout, has a bulkhead separating the passengers from the engine compartment that can restrict the ability to recline the front seats when they are at their rearmost travel. Legroom, on the other hand, is surprisingly good. The 458’s gorgeous cockpit is covered in fine leathers and eye-pleasing shapes, all of which can be enhanced via the numerous interior upgrade options. We think placing so many controls on the steering wheel is unwise, and the instrumentation would benefit from simple analog gauges in lieu of the cluttered multi-role LCD screens.

Exterior

Enthusiasts might call the Ferrari’s 2014 458 Italia a work of art, but the look is actually a lesson in modern aerodynamics. From the open vent louvers atop the fenders to the available integrated carbon-fiber rear diffuser, the 458’s design is all about channeling air to improve handling, efficiency and stability. On the Spider, Ferrari has created an aluminum retractable hardtop that actually weighs less than most soft-top mechanisms, tipping the scales at a mere 100 pounds over the coupe.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard fare on both the Ferrari 458 Italia and Spider sports cars includes leather seating and trim, carbon-ceramic brakes that are lighter and more resistant to fading than conventional braking units, a power-adjustable steering wheel, low/high beam automatic bi-xenon headlights, dual-zone climate control, launch control for speedier getaways from stoplights and an 11-speaker JBL Professional sound system with a basic auxiliary audio jack for portable music players. Despite the 458’s quarter-million-dollar price tag, cruise control, power seats and navigation are not part of the standard-equipment roster. On the safety front, every 458 for 2014 includes performance-tailored traction and stability control.

Optional Equipment

Among the 458’s more exclusive options are 4-point seatbelts, carbon-fiber racing seats, a 1,000-watt premium audio system by JBL and carbon-fiber body pieces. Like most exotic supercars, the Ferrari 458 is highly customizable. Bespoke items include contrast stitching, a carbon-fiber steering wheel with integrated LED shift lights, numerous paint and interior color schemes and a choice of three different seat designs (standard, Daytona-style and diamond-tufted).

Under the Hood

Ferrari’s 2014 458 Italia and 458 Spider are powered by a hand-built aluminum 4.5-liter V8 engine. Pumping out an amazing 562 horsepower and with an incredible 9,000-rpm redline, the 458’s engine barely seems to strain to move the car to its nearly 200-mph top speed. The Speciale uses the same engine, but tuned to deliver an additional 35 horsepower. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic does just fine by itself. But, if the driver wants in on the action, a set of steering-wheel paddle shifters allows for instantaneous up/down shifts and perfectly timed rev-matches.

4.5-liter V8 (Italia and Spider)
562 horsepower @ 9,000 rpm
398 lb-ft of torque @ 6,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17 mpg

4.5-liter V8 (Speciale)
597 horsepower @ 9,000 rpm
398 lb-ft of torque @ 6,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17 mpg

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