458 Spider: The end of an era for Ferrari?Ferrari's naturally aspirated mid engined V8 may be on the way out. XCAR took a 458 Spider out to have a look, not only at where it may be going, but also how it the last in a line of cars that took their inspiration from one person. Alfredo Ferrari,...
[MUSIC] This is a Ferrari 458 Spider. It's gotta 4.5 liter V8 with 562 grade horsepower. A top speed of 198 miles an hour. And, it'll do zero to 62 miles an hour in 3.4 seconds. Not only is it fast, but it's beautiful too. Its beauty comes from its shape. Which is partially dictated by its mid-engine layout. Something of a Ferrari staple. But, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Ferrari's weren't supposed to have anything other than V-12's, allow me to explain. I want to tell the story of Enzo Ferrari and his son, Dino. Dino's legacy is right here in this 458 Spider, it's in every Ferrari that doesn't have a V-12 engine. You see Alfredo Ferrari was the apple of Enzo's eye, he was going to be his successor to carry the torch. When Enzo was no longer around. For his entire life, he was groomed in all things Ferrari. Then, he went to study economics at Bologna. And, after that, he was sent to Switzerland to study mechanical engineering. It was there, though, that his health began to deteriorate. [MUSIC] Alfredo, or Dino, to his father found movement difficult. Doctors didn't know what was wrong at first and two years into his engineering studies, he moved back to Modena. Dino had Duchenne muscular dystrophy and his muscles were wasting away. During his time in Modena, Dino created the 750 Monza racer and was the inspiration behind a new 1.5 liter V6 race engine. Dino Ferrari died on the 30th of June,1956. He was just 24 years old. Understandably, Enzo didn't take the loss particularly well. It hit him quite hard. He was his son, his heir, his everything. After a little while Enzo found the perfect way to memorialize. Is his son though, not just by naming a car after him. But by naming an entire brand after him. The Dino. The Dino cars, well they were supposed to be the affordable cars made by Ferrari. Designed to take on the likes of the Porsche 911 and what have you. But they were never going to have a V12, those were reserved for the full fat Ferrari. When it came to engine [UNKNOWN] enzo was hesitant about using mid engines because well [UNKNOWN] customers might find them a little bit tricky to get the grips with after awhile though [UNKNOWN] and then in 1968 the first Veno appeared. The 206 G it came mounted two liter. V6, the one inspired by Dino himself. Over it's year lifespan 150 were made. In 1969 they were succeeded by the 246 GT and GTS. The 246 wasn't the last Dino though, that would be the 308 GT4. From 1973 to 1976 the 3D2 V8 powered 2 plus 2 wore the Dino badge. In 76 it became a full fat Ferrari and started a tradition of mid-engined, rear wheel drive, V-8, prancing horses. [NOISE] [MUSIC] Following that was the 208 gt4. Now that had a two liter v8 and the reason for its tiny tiny engine was because the Italian government gave tax breaks on engines of two liters or less. Joining and then succeeding those cars was the 308 and 208. GTS and GTV. Both had V-8s firmly in the middle. The dinky 208 even got turbo power to give its tiny engine big numbers. As the 80s took hold, Ferrari experimented with turbocharging even more, and brought out the 288 GTO, the first supercar made by Ferrari. It was designed for Group B racing, but the series was the cancelled before Ferrari could get a slice of it. It's successor, the F40, built on the whole twin turbo super car idea somewhat, too. [NOISE]. Then came the 328, the 348, the legendary 355, the 360, the 430, and this the 458 and numerous iterations of each. In between. And, they all happened because of one man and his idea. Now, I've driven a 458 before. I drove the coupe. And, unsurprisingly, it was an utterly brilliant car. So, what's it like if you take the roof off? Well, there's surprising little difference between the two. Obviously, you get a lot more headroom. That's not really a surprise. The roof is very, very smart. It. Can go down in just 14 seconds dead. Someone once said to me that one of life's true great experiences is driving with the roof down in a bright red Ferrari. And you know what? They were right. I've never experienced that before today, and I'm so glad I have. The sun is shining. I've got the sound of the beautiful V-8. Right behind my head. And the way it delivers its sound. The 458 Spider is about experiencing the noise, because the noise in the cabin, oh it's very good. Race mode. Down a korg. Down a korg. Noise. [NOISE] It rarely comes better than that. [MUSIC] It's a bit good then, of course that's to be expected. It's a modern mid-engine V8 Ferrari. No need to mince words on that really. Ferrari wouldn't let a duffer breach Maranello's gates at all. However, looking at Ferrari right now, I wonder what's next. For the company in general. Ferrari's self-titled halo car, the La Ferrari uses super advanced hybrid tech to go harder and faster than any other Ferrari before it. Because of that it emits 330 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide which is pretty impressive for a car that kicks out nearly a 1000 horsepower. Then take a look at the new California T. Not only has the California had a rather nasty redesign it's also been given a smaller engine. Engine with a turbocharger now what that means is that the California now emits 50 grams per kilometer less then the old car. It also has a pretty epic torque figure and manages very impressive MPG numbers for a car with a 3.8L engine. It seems that turbos are the way to go for efficiencies and for torque. They're not just for diesels anymore. Any more. They're for everything. [MUSIC] There are some very serious rumors floating about that the next 458 will have turbo power and as a result a smaller engine. If there were true then this car is something of an ending. The last naturally aspirated mid engine Ferrari. Some may moan endlessly about how the noise will change and how it may never be the same again, but think about it laterally. When a company like Ferrari sets its mind on something, the end protect isn't gonna be half assed. It's gonna be the best it can possibly be. It'll sound right, it'll go right and it'll feel right. Every inch the prancing horse it should be. If you look at Ferrari's past, you'll see it only uses it's best cars as a test bed for things to come. The likes of the 218 GTO, the F40, the F50, the Enzo and the La Ferrari. They aren't there simply to look pretty, go a bit quicker than the rest of the range and be monumentally expensive. No. They're there to show what the next generation, of Ferrari's road cars are going to be like. But whatever Ferrari does in future the 458 is a truly stunning piece of engineering and the only reason its here, is because of one man, whose life was cut tragically short. And his great idea.