Parkers overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 4.7

Given the architecture of the Ferrari 458 Spider’s interior, it’s eminently clear who the most important person is: the driver.

Almost every component of the cabin is angled towards the driver and controls he or she most frequently uses can be reached with both hands on the steering wheel.

It’s the apparent busyness of the steering wheel that first catches your eye: not only is it home to the racing manettino for the five driving modes and the suspension de-coupler to make the ride more compliant, there are rubberised buttons for the indicators and lights – no steering column wands to nudge up and down here. They do take a little getting used to but soon feel intuitively right.

Behind the thick leather rim – carbon fibre is optional – are the two gear change paddles for manual ratio swapping, while the final bright red button on the wheel is to start the engine. In today’s world of keyless entry, physically turning a key in an ignition barrel before pressing that scarlet starter seems unnecessary, but the drama as the V8 erupts into life soon negates any lingering sense of pointlessness in the starting procedure.

Central to the instrument binnacle is a large rev counter, the speedometer taking a supporting role on one of the electronic displays. Some of the controls below the instrument pod are a little fiddly to use at speed with smaller-than-ideal buttons, not least the optional cruise control, amusingly labelled as ‘pit limit’.

While the seats are set low, essentially to lower the centre of gravity to benefit handling, they’re easy enough to make an elegant exit or entry from the car, providing there’s room to open the wide doors. Find yourself in a tight parking space and you might wish you’d paid more attention to studying Harry Houdini’s escapology routines.

Usually cars with larger wheels and shallow sidewalled tyres suffer from an overly firm ride quality but standard adaptive dampers help deliver positive Ferrari 458 Spider comfort levels.

Not that you opt for an engaging sports car specifically because of its cosseting ride, it’s nevertheless a welcome attribute in the Ferrari’s favour. Altering the sportiness of the racing manettino’s settings stiffens the suspension but this can be overridden for even greater levels of compliance and comfort.

Embracingly supportive seats offer excellent adjustability despite being installed necessarily low in the car, although electrical versions do cost extra, as do hip-hugging racing alternatives.

Two-seater sports cars have a reputation for being cramped and, with the roof raised, claustrophobic, but these aren’t criticisms you can level at the 458 Spider. Ferrari claims occupants up to 6ft 4in will be able to sit comfortably aided by the double curvature in the folding hard-top, liberating extra headroom that simply wouldn’t be possible with a traditional fabric hood. Elbow space and legroom also feel generous; the latter particularly so on the passenger side where the scalloped-out dashboard makes the cabin feel even airier.

Roof down and with the electric rear window raised to act as a wind deflector, the cabin remains free from buffeting; even at higher speeds it’s quiet enough to use the Bluetooth connection for phone calls without having to shout or repeat yourself.

Flick the switch and 14 seconds later the lid is securely back in place, dual-zone climate control allowing each occupant to get their temperatures just so, luxuriate in the leather and Alcantara surroundings, and feel very special indeed.