Why Not Daily Drive a Ferrari?
If you care about lap times, you buy a coupe. So if you’re going to buy a convertible Ferrari instead, why not treat it like a GT car and just enjoy driving? Enter the 2020 Ferrari F8 Spider.
To explain, let me take you back a dozen years when I started to MotorTrend. The office was located in another part of the city, bordering Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. My apartment was in Koreatown, due east on Wilshire Boulevard, a blocked artery if there was one.
Much nicer was the descent from third or sixth street, which runs parallel to the beautiful old quarter of Hancock Park. Beverly Hills receives all the press, but Hancock Park is full of huge historic homes and an equally huge net worth. Every morning on my way west, I saw the same Aston Martin DB9 coming in the opposite direction, and it always made me smile.
You see, even in Los Angeles, even in Beverly Hills, people don’t drive their exotic cars to work (unless it’s the Beverly Hills Taxi, better known as the Bentley Continental). Sure, you see Aston Martins and Ferraris much more regularly here than most other places in the world, but it’s not like you see them every day, and certainly not outside of certain areas. But this guy was there, driving his DB9 to work every day instead of locking him up in the garage until the weekend.
You will say that the DB9 is a GT car, not a supercar, but it is fine hair to split. It didn’t behave like a supercar, but it wasn’t more practical than a single either, and it certainly relied more on sportiness than luxury. A convertible supercar, like a 2020 Ferrari F8 Spider, isn’t much different in this regard.
What makes the Ferrari F8 Spider a great driver every day?
The miracle of modern supercars is that they are always great when you cut the roof. Modern engineering and materials allow you to remove a critical structural element and not turn the chassis into a pull.
Before, you had to choose between total performance and the wind in your hair. You just have to choose between overall performance and a little less than overall performance. Not because you cut the roof per se, but because the motors, hinges and reinforcements that allow you to choose your housing level add weight. In this case, a relatively insignificant 44 pounds says a company known to have generously rounded estimated weights.
It doesn’t make sense because this car develops 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. If we assume, for a moment, that it weighs 44 pounds more than the coupe model we drove recently, it still weighs less than 3,600 pounds. This is the difference between a weight / power ratio of 4.97 lb / hp and 5.03 lb / hp. Even if we assume that the Spider weighs 100 pounds more than the coupe, as did the old version 488, it’s 5.11 lb / hp. In other words, the sunroof has no effect on performance, except to slightly increase the center of gravity. Maybe it will be a hundredth of a second slower at 60 mph, too.
I don’t care, but the runners would. Every ounce counts on the track. Convertible buyers are not burdened with such concerns. They simply decide between a hat and sunscreen. Free from the constraints of a car’s purpose and place, you can just enjoy it. It doesn’t matter when and where, so why not anytime, anywhere?
Ferrari F8 Spider performance specifications and technology
Take advantage of it, because there is no way not to take advantage of 710 hp. Ferrari’s boost control system continues to do a magic job by making a twin-turbocharged engine feel naturally drawn in, with gloriously linear power that keeps growing and building up until the indicator lights mounted on the steering wheel will start to flash.
I don’t know if there is a bigger invention, because all the sports and supercar manufacturers should have copied the gearshift indicators mounted on the Ferrari steering wheel as soon as the veil detached from the first car to use them – patents are damned. There is no other gear change warning system, from head-up displays to full-screen digital instrument clusters, almost as effective in drawing your attention only to your peripheral vision.
Variable boost control is also quite a trick. You may not feel it working, but it is still there, monitoring the throttle position and engine speed and increasing the pressure just enough to create explosive performance rather than explosive performance.
Of course, these turbochargers have a price. For everything they do to create the most powerful Ferrari V-8 in history, they move away from the primal cry that increased its height as linear as power, until you know you have to change speed because it sounded like the engine was about to shred itself into chips. Now you need these lights more than ever because even if Ferrari may have made a turbocharged V8 more melodic than most, it is missing drama. Pay no attention, and you will run straight into the rev limiter if you change the sound.
And you should change. Not because you need it, but because you love to drive. The fact that the Ferrari F8 Spider would spin a faster lap time by itself is just as unimportant as the weight gain. The large and delicate shift paddles invite you every time you rub them with your fingertips. You want to shoot them just because they are there. Do it. Ferrari even gives you an incentive: the gear changes are much sharper when you pull them yourself. Don’t try to hurt yourself like a Lamborghini, but as if you were slamming gears on a manual transmission. As if you were whipping the car, not to hurt it but to get the most out of it.
The smile of the transmission will not be erased by the brakes, which the 488 has always struggled to demonstrate. Even when it won the Best Driver’s Car award in 2017, the 488 GTB had brakes that lacked bite, to say the least. “Hold on to it as if you were trying to break the pedal,” said my opinion at the time. I smile when car manufacturers listen to reactions and react. As a result, the braking feel of the F8 is significantly better than that of the 488. It is not perfect. You must be inspired by this prancing horse looking at you from the center of the steering wheel and put your hoof in it. Ferrari has yet to buy a Porsche 911 Turbo S and reverse engineer its braking system. But in the meantime, this improvement makes the car so much more fun to drive quickly.
Your pleasure in driving quickly will depend entirely on your position. Manettino control button on the steering wheel. This being a Ferrari, there is no normal tuning or comfort. You start in Sport and go right to Race, then the traction control deactivated and finally the traction and stability control deactivated.
At least that’s what it says on the switch. In practice, the Manettino and the lateral slip control system that it governs are more precisely described as “composing a drift”. Sport mode will spare you from yourself with enough slap to let you know that you messed up. Race mode puts on an invisibility cloak, hiding its corrections and adjustments so skillfully that you would swear it did nothing. You really believe that the car is at this point, has so much grip, and you are such a good driver and everything falls perfectly into place. Purists balk, but when the lies are so good, I lie to myself.
These are big lies, as you will discover for yourself if you switch the dial to CT Off. Turn the wheel and pass the throttle, and you will see how impressive this 710 hp central engine is in this car. If you want to look at the road from a side window rather than the windshield, you’ll be happy. But you are not entirely alone. It will not allow you to run the car as long as you keep it on the sidewalk. If you want to see how quickly you can amortize a car that starts around $ 300,000, give the Manettino one more click and you will see what happens when you play it quickly and freely.
Is the Ferrari F8 Spider a good convertible?
If you do all of this with the roof down, as you should, you will notice a few other things. On the one hand, it’s a damn good convertible. The small targa-shaped roof tilts and stores on top of the engine, under a cover of streamliner bumps.
In addition to looking better than a typical convertible with the roof down, Ferrari has done a wonderful job of controlling the air flow in the cabin. He certainly did better than McLaren with his similarly priced and powered 720S Spider. It’s the difference between having your hair entertained and sticking your head out the window. Unlike the carbon tube McLaren, you’ll notice a bit of hood shake in the aluminum tube Ferrari, the only gift from a chassis that traces its design from the decade-old 458.
Should you buy a 2020 Ferrari F8 Spider?
However, none of these factors encourage you to drive your Ferrari daily. This comes from the second most important of the countless buttons on the steering wheel after the starter: bumpy road mode. Magnetorheological shock absorbers have the unsurpassed ability – sorry, McLaren – to switch from sporty or racy driving to driving comfortable enough for everyday travel. I press it immediately after starting the engine for a procedural question.
With the smooth driving and shifting transmission, there is no reason to leave the Ferrari in the garage, although I recommend using the nose lifter to avoid these painful scratches on steep curbs. You bought the car to be seen, so drive it so everyone can see it. Take him to the office. Do some shopping. Put your golf clubs in the front seat. It’s a car; he is supposed to be driven. The only thing that could make it a better GT car would be a slightly larger trunk space that would allow a standard size carrying bag to lie flat rather than at an angle, maximizing the loading space available when you leave for the weekend.
Go away? Won’t that put a lot of miles on the car? Yep, that’s the point. The F8 Spider may be awesome, but it’s not a 250 GTO. It is not even a limited edition. It will never be the most collectible Ferrari, no matter how good it is. Just as you don’t care about lap times when buying a convertible, you should also refuse to worry about the odometer.
All supercars need to be driven, not stored. Convertibles like the F8 Spider give you all the reasons, excuses and encouragement to do so. If not, what is it for? Buy a painting if you want an investment. Buy an F8 Spider because you like to drive.
|2020 Ferrari F8 Spider|
|STARTING PRICE||$ 302,500|
|DISPOSITION||Central engine, rear drive, 2 passes, 2-door convertible|
|ENGINE||3.9L twin-turbo V8 / 710 horsepower / 568 lb-ft DOHC 32 valves|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch auto|
|EDGE WEIGHT||3600 lb (MT is)|
|L x W x H||181.5 x 77.9 x 47.5 inches|
|0-62 MPH||2.9 sec (mfr east)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||15/19/16 mpg (east)|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / HIGHWAY||225/177 kW-h / 100 miles (east)|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.17 lb / mile (east)|