Ferrari 458 Spider

The Essentials

  • Price from £198,906
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 23.9mpg
  • What is it? The perfect car for showing a metaphorical two fingers (and your latest hairdo) to school bullies, discouraging teachers and unsupportive bank managers.

Great

  • The way it looks, roof up or down
  • The way it drives
  • The way it makes you feel

Gripes

  • It costs a bomb to buy and run
  • Think bike: visibility is dreadful
  • Standard kit is only ok; options are pricey
  • Drive

    From 0-60mph in under 4 seconds and a top speed of 200mph, you can enjoy racing driver thrills but in rather more comfort

  • Inside

    The view inside the car is great if you want to feel like a Formula One driver, the view out is less impressive

  • Safety

    Top-notch safety features can be tailored to the driving conditions to keep your precious safe

  • Reliability

    As you'd hope for this money the Ferrari should be a trusty companion; a four-year warranty is reassuring, too

  • Space

    Two can get comfortable inside, while the luggage slots into a bin under the bonnet or into the gap behind the two seats

  • Standard and extras

    Basic kit includes the leather seats, air-con and stereo (as you'd hope for 200k); options are expensive

  • What's it like to drive?

    As good as it looks. The Ferrari 458 Spider combines pure driving pleasure with the appeal of a convertible to make sure everyone can see how good looking/pleased with yourself/incredibly well off you are. The steering responds almost before you've moved your hands and the car clings to the road, whether you're off to the shops or tearing up a racetrack. There's only a tiny loss of rigidity from the folding roof and refinement isn't affected until you're going at full tilt. Fold the roof down and you'll be able to show off your salon-fresh hairdo without fear. The seven-speed gearbox makes its changes smoothly and instantly. As for the soundtrack, these are the kind of noises we like to hear from an engine.

  • What's it like inside?

    The interior of the Ferrari 458 Spider is focussed firmly on the driver's needs, so almost everything is controlled from the steering wheel. That will prove baffling on the test drive. There are things going on outside the car, of course, and it's more difficult for the driver to see these, thanks to the car's super-sleek styling. At least you can always drop the roof for a better look. Driver and passenger have a reasonable amount of space, and there's storage behind the front seats as well as a deep boot under the bonnet. Although leather upholstery and air-con are thrown in, you'll have to pay a lot extra for features like parking sensors, cruise control and iPod connectivity. Real shopaholics can get the matching luggage and suit holder and a tracker system.

  • How reliable is it?

    The 458 Spider has you covered with a sophisticated traction and stability control system that you can tailor to your driving style and the road conditions. Airbags are on hand to protect you if things do go wrong. A four-year warranty is good news but we don't anticipate reliability issues.

  • Should I buy one?

    Either you've got Ferrari money or you haven't: it's the same price as a house and probably more expensive to run. And while you may have to wait a while to get your hands on one, you should have no trouble selling it on again.