Parkers overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 4.8
  • Dashboard looks similar to the 458’s, but is in fact all new with updated graphics and hardware for instrumentation
  • Familiar steering wheel still contains switches for indicators, lights, wipers and Manettino for drive modes
  • Big red starter button becomes start/stop button for the engine as 488 introduces keyless start

Turns out the dashboard of the Ferrari 488 Spider is all-new, but on first glance you could be forgiven for thinking it had simply been carried over from the 458 – such is the layout and construction. However, it’s a slimmer affair overall, and with myriad small changes to construction, make-up and componentry. Keyless ignition features now, letting you step in and prod the red button on the steering wheel to start up.

The door cards now feature a more ergonomic armrest, while the leather spread over the door is softer than before. New seats with fixed headrests are fitted, and they’re lighter than before. And if you order your car in 2016 you’ll benefit from Apple CarPlay, to sync your phone with your car.

Ferrari’s multifunction steering wheel is carried over, housing not only the start/stop button but the indicators, horn, lights, wipers and Manettino driving mode selection control. It’s only a partly intuitive solution though – the indicator controls on the spokes soon feel like second nature, but the button for the wipers takes longer to get used to.

The strangely-shaped wheel is flanked by a pair of satellite pods similar to those that were found in the 458 Spider or 458 Berlinetta, but the digital dials now offer more information than before, including turbo boost pressure. On the right, the instrument used for infotainment has improved graphics and software with faster reactions – this one will show Apple CarPlay information on the move on cars thus equipped.

All of the seats we’ve tried – there are five different styles to choose from – proved comfortable with ample adjustment while the leather used around the cabin appeared of excellent quality. And the firm has spent time improving the space for odds and ends in the cabin, with an additional closable storage compartment on the transmission tunnel.

  • Despite same damper rates as the previous 458 Speciale, software allows 488 Spider to remain comfortable
  • Chassis of 488 Spider is 20 percent more torsionally rigid than 458 Spider, so suspension can do its job better
  • Bumpy Road setting softens these further, and will doubtless become a default setting for UK owners

There’s a strange juxtaposition with the new Ferrari 488 Spider; on the one hand it has to perform as a comfortable cruiser, and on the other it has to be pin-sharp with ferocious performance and precise handling. And you know what, despite this duality of purpose, the balance of Ferrari 488 Spider comfort versus precision is perfectly judged.

It is surprisingly effective at dealing with the rigours of daily life, and even with the 20-inch alloy wheels the 488 Spider can glide over most lumps and bumps as well as cars more traditionally orientated for comfort. And if the road is particularly gnarly, the Bumpy Road setting for the suspension – activated through a steering-wheel mounted button – softens the reflexes even more for a more relaxed ride. In the UK we suspect you’ll find this something of a default mode for the car, thanks to the state of our roads.

There’s no real detectable shake through the chassis either, and though comfortable there’s a remaining firmness to the suspension, so when you increase the car’s speed it remains perfectly composed.

Choose to settle back and enjoy some roof-down motoring though and the Ferrari 488 Spider caters for its occupants very well, the adjustable glass wind deflector between the rear buttresses helping keep hair-dos unruffled while driving. Roof-up, the noise of the twin-turbocharged V8 is kept muted, though you can lower that glass deflector once again to allow the exhaust note to permeate the cabin far easier – something we’d wholeheartedly recommend.