As much as we all want to be unique, there’s a certain thrilling satisfaction to attaining a glamorous stereotype. The James Bond black tie, the vintage champagne served in a 1920s-style coupe or, in automotive terms, the red Ferrari. Yes, it’s a stereotype, but there is something irresistible about a gleaming red Italian sports car emblazoned with a prancing horse atop a yellow shield. We all wanted to drive one when we were kids – so can you really resist the chance to hire our bright red 458 Italia Spider now?
This model is Ferrari’s fastest-ever convertible, and can reach an impressive 198MPH. Yes, that’s 3 less than our other 458 – but can you guarantee you’ll notice at those speeds? It gets to 0-62 in a beyond respectable 3.4 seconds, and – if speed’s your thing – can retract its roof in just 14 seconds.
The 458 Spider shares the same engine – that glorious 4.5 litre V8 – , handling capabilities and interior styling as the 458 Italia, and is just 50kg heavier thanks to the lightweight roof mechanism. The difference is entirely in the exterior – and its definitely no less pretty than its sibling.
On the 458 Spider the glass engine viewing pane is gone, but is replaced with a plain vented engine cover that makes it look tougher than its coupe sibling.
Other additions are the glass screen in front of the car’s occupants, otherwise known as an electric wind deflector, which effectively reduces wind buffeting when raised. What you’re not protected from, however, is the incredible engine noise, which roars out of the car’s triple exhausts.
The handling, even at very fast speeds, is superb, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox that allows you to shift gears in four-tenths of a second. Double wishbone suspension and carbon fibre brakes add to the performance potential, and responsiveness is so good that as a driver you’ll feel as if the car is telepathically linked to your brain.
The interior is covered in luxurious materials and truly reflects the excellent Italian sense of style. The seating arrangement is pure racetrack: everything is configured to be within easy reach of the driver, and many of the important buttons have been moved to the steering wheel for maximum ease. Even the sat nav is prominently located behind the wheel to the right. Seats are comfortable, and ergonomically shaped to hug you as you go round those sharp corners.
Before you pick up the phone to hire one, however, check out what’s in the white corner of our automotive boxing ring. Here you’ll find another superb 458: the coupe Italia version. With its very rare, premium pearl paint finish, it’s impossible to ignore, and you will certainly make an impression in this glorious, gleaming white Ferrari.
So, the 458 is good – very good. As AutoCar put it, in fact: “arguably it is the 458 Italia that is Ferrari’s greatest achievement. That isn’t simply because the 458 weaves scintillating ground-covering pace with impressive practicality but also because, for all of its technology, it remains an interactive and deeply satisfying car to drive – be that at three-tenths on a back road or fully committed at your favourite track.”
It’s also gorgeous: that low, flat nose, the curvaceous arch over the passengers, and the extraordinary glass window at the rear which displays the car’s naturally-aspirated 4.5 litre V8 engine in all its glory.
Speaking of that engine, it produces 562 BHP at 9,000 RPM, and 398 ft-lb of torque at 6,000 RPM. And, if you’re interested in speed…the car can take you from 0-62MPH in just 3.3 seconds, then on to a top speed of 201 MPH.
Both cars are stunning, powerful and very tempting. It’s a very hard choice: call us when you’ve decided, or hire them both!