Ferrari's F8 Tributo spawns Spider convertible
As spring follows winter, as day follows night, as regret follows tequila and comments about Teslas follow every supercar story in the humble pages of New Atlas, so a convertible is sure to follow a good Ferrari. When the F8 Tributo first appeared in March this year, the clock began to tick. Today, it has tocked, and there's a new F8 Spider. Soon, there'll be a racier Pista, and then a Pista Spider, which always sounds to me like a great reason to keep alcohol away from arachnids.
Where the Tributo replaced the 488 GTB, the F8 Spider replaces the 488 Spider. Where the 488 Spider had a 14-second retractable hard top, the F8 Spider has ... also got a 14-second retractable hard top. Indeed, although Ferrari hasn't deigned to grace us with photos of the new F8 Spider with the roof up, the section behind the cockpit looks so similar to the 488 Spider that we feel you can use that for reference and not be far off the mark.
Ferrari keeps going on about how the F8 cars represent "a bridge to a new design language" that will take the company forward into the future. Well, a subtle bridge they are indeed. While there are plenty of ornamental changes distinguishing the F8 Spider from the 488, and individual elements like the single "S-Duct" hood scoop, which replaces the 488's double hood scoop, are indeed vastly different, the overall proportions of the car are strikingly similar from most angles.
Indeed, we'd suspect if you took a group of non-boffins, stuck them in front of the two cars and asked them which one was the new one, the answers would probably be split 50/50. We're not sure if that's an insulting thing to say or a compliment to the old design, because both look exactly like you'd want your Ferrari convertible to look like. It's like when Elizabeth Shue turned up to play Marty McFly's girlfriend in the second Back to the Future flick instead of Claudia Wells. There were probably people that noticed the difference, but you wouldn't want to get stuck talking to one at a party.
Another of the key styling differences – the twin light clusters on the back end – do indeed go back to the future. They're a deliberate reference to the 308 GTB that rocked the 70s and 80s, and they look so right on the back of a Ferrari that it's hard to believe they went away.
The awesomeness of the F8's motor is no longer up for debate at this point. When Ferrari finally bowed to emissions pressures and went to forced induction for the 488 with the twin-turbo, 3.9-liter F154 C engine, it immediately won the International Engine of the Year award. Remarkably, it won again in 2017 and 2018, and when it was beefed up to 4 liters and significantly lightened for the F8 Tributo, it went and won again in 2019 as well – making an unprecedented four-year sweep of the award.
The latter version is the one you get in the F8 Spider, and its 710-horsepower peak is roughly 50 ponies up on the 488 Spider. Ferrari promises a peak 770 Nm (568 lb-ft) of twisting force at 3,250 rpm, with "zero turbo lag" and a brick-wall redline at 8,000 rpm. No rolling off the top end here, this thing gets madder and madder as you work your way up through the top end of the tacho, and then cuts out abruptly if you haven't paddle-grabbed another gear out of the seven-speed dual clutch box.
You'll rarely have to take your hands off the wheel for anything, as the F8 Spider has most of its buttons and dials, including the mode switch, suspension mode selector and engine start button, right there on the steering wheel. The dashes might be digital (other than the big analog tacho) but they're not touch-operated. Indeed, there's only one tiny touchscreen in the dash, and it's over on the passenger side, and it can be switched off altogether, and it's only there if you option it in.
If you want to drive it hard – and hey, it'd be rude not to – you'll be assisted in your efforts by Ferrari's wonderful Side Slip Control system, which is tailor-designed to let you whack your boot right down to the floor at the apex of a corner and come drifting out at just the right angle of sideways, making any dolt look like a skidpan-addicted drifting hero. Add to this the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer system, which can add a touch of disc braking at any wheel under hard acceleration, and you'll have yourself a bucket of laughs on the way out of any fast corner with little indication to onlookers or passengers that the car's holding your hand and keeping things safe.
As far as performance figures go, well, the F8 Spider would've impressed the hell out of anyone on paper before these pesky electrics started showing up. It does 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 2.9 seconds and 0-124 mph (0-200 km/h) in 8.2 seconds. It's a savage that'll be hair-raising to drive. It tops out at 211 mph (340 km/h), meaning it'll make Teslas look like they're parked on the autobahns. It's also still a far better car to own or rent as a short-term mating strategy, we'd wager. But go ahead, the comments box is below and I can hear you EV fans cracking your knuckles from here.
Before you do, though, full-screen this video, turn the sound up, and take note of your pulse. These dinosaur burners are still good for some things.