Ferrari’s replacement for the 488 Spider is just as powerful as the track-ready 488 Pista

The Ferrari F8 Spider is the convertible version of the F8 Tributo. It replaces the outgoing Ferrari 488 Spider in the lineup and just like its coupe counterpart, it features technology and underpinnings from the track-bred 488 Pista. While not as dynamic as the 488 Pista Spider, it’s a solid improvement over the 488 Spider. The F8 Spider joins a prestigious bloodline of drop-top V-8 sports cars that begun with the iconic 308 GTS back in 1977.

Ferrari’s most powerful V-8 convertible alongside the 488 Pista Spider, the F8 Spider arrives just in time to compete with the Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder. It also goes against the McLaren 720S Spider, yet another fine example of the high-performance sports car market. Find out what sets apart the F8 Spider from its predecessors and how it compares with its rivals in the detailed review below.

Exterior

  • Identical to the F8 Tributo below the waist
  • Retractable hard-top
  • Advanced aerodynamics
  • Flat decklid
  • Flying buttresses
  • Revised engine hood
  • Looks cool with the top down
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The F8 combines design features from the outgoing 488 with a few unique styling cues

The F8 Spider is essentially an F8 Tributo with a retractable roof and a redesigned engine hood and rear decklid, so it sports all the changes that Ferrari made compared to the old 488 GTB. Just like the Portofino and the 812 Superfast, both extensive facelifts of their predecessors, the F8 combines design features from the outgoing 488 with a few unique styling cues. Ferrari also borrowed features from the track-ready 488 Pista, so the F8 Spider basically bridges the gap between the regular 488 Spider and the 488 Pista Spider.

The front fascia is obviously identical to the coupe model. The bumper is based on the 488 Pista, featuring the same V-shaped opening in the center and large outlets on the sides, while the smaller vents at the corners suggest improved aerodynamics over the 488 Spider. The nose was redesigned from scratch and it’s even more aggressive than the 488 Pista Spider. It also extends more above the splitter, a feature that suggests an F1-inspired design.

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The headlamps retain the shape and size of those flaunted by the 488 Pista Spider, but the lower section is thinner and longer, so the familiar boomerang design is now a tad more aggressive.

The top of the lights include vents that feed air to the front brakes — a smart and stylish solution. The front hood now features a single outlet in the center instead of the dual-vent layout seen on the old 488 Spider.

The F8’s profile is heavily based on the Pista, but the Spider stands out through a redesigned beltline, flying buttresses behind the B-pillars, and, of course, a retractable top. The latter is Ferrari’s brand-new RHT design, a more compact and efficient top that doesn’t hinder passenger space. Needless to say, the flying buttresses make the F8 Spider look particularly sexy when the roof is retracted under the decklid.

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The rear fascia is identical to the F8 Tributo save for the engine hood. The diffuser is based on the 488 Pista and features aggressive fins and big exhaust pipes, while the rear fascia includes two angled outlets on each side. These vents flank the taillights toward the fenders and them descent to flank the license plate recess. Unlike the 488 Spider, the F8 Spider features the classic twin-light layout inspired by iconic V-8 berlinettas from the past, such as the 308 GTB.

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The engine hood is a big departure from the coupe.

While the F8 Tributo's lexan engine cover pays tribute to the iconic Ferrari F40, the F8 Spider features a flat lid with thin vents at the bottom.

The lexan cover is also missing, here replaced by a small, vertical screen placed between the flying buttresses. This screen can be kept up when the top is down in order to reduce air turbulence inside the cabin. But you can also remove it while driving with the roof up to hear the roar of the V-8 engine even louder. Speaking of which, the roof takes only 14 seconds to open or close and you can operate it at speeds of up to 28 mph.

2020 Ferrari F8 Spider Exterior
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The revised bodywork also makes the F8 Spider some 10-percent more aerodynamic than the 488 Spider. One of the main features that contribute to this improvement is the S-Duct system in the front bumper. A solution that made its debut on the 488 Pista, it has been redesigned to suit the new bumper of the F8 Tributo and Spider.

Ferrari F8 Spider Exterior Specs
Length  4611 mm
Width  1979 mm
Height  1206 mm
Wheelbase  2650 mm
Front track 1677 mm
Rear track  1646 mm
Dry weight**  1400 kg
Weight distribution  41.5% front – 58.5% rear
Boot capacity  200 l
Fuel tank capacity 78 l

Interior

  • Identical to F8 Tributo
  • Infinite headroom
  • Roof retracts in 14 seconds
  • Small rear screen
  • Leather upholstery
  • Metal trim
  • Carbon-fiber trim
  • Sports seats
  • New steering wheel
  • Digital displays
2020 Ferrari F8 Spider Interior
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There's a "Spider" badge on the passenger-side dashboard and you benefit from infinite headroom and wind in your hair

The cabin is also identical to the coupe save for two notable changes. There’s a "Spider" badge on the passenger-side dashboard and you benefit from infinite headroom and wind in your hair with the top down.

Aside from that, you’ll find all the changes that Ferrari made compared to the 488 GTB. And needless to say, these aren’t massive and the cockpit still reminds me of the old supercar. Notable changes include turbine-look A/C vents, a revised control unit on the center stack, and a new seven-inch touchscreen display on the passenger-side dashboard. The steering wheel is based on the 488 Pista, so it has a more aggressive design and a new button layout, but the rim is a bit smaller.

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The door panels and the center console look a bit different compared to the 488 GTB, but remain familiar and just as practical.

The F8 Spider also inherits the upgraded HMI system from the Tributo, but it also features new contrast stitching on the dashboard and the seats, as well as bigger carbon-fiber elements on the dashboard and door panels.

Of course, this Ferrari comes with very little plastic elements, with most surfaces being covered in either leather or Alcantara, or made from either metal or carbon fiber. As usual, you can pick from a variety of upholstery and trim options to create a bespoke interior layout.

Drivetrain

  • Same engine as F8 Tributo and 488 Pista
  • Twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8
  • 710 horsepower
  • 569 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds
  • 0 to 124 mph in 8.2 seconds
  • Top speed at 211 mph
  • Side Slip Angle Control
  • Magnetorheological suspension
  • Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer
2020 Ferrari F8 Spider Exterior
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The twin-turbo V-8 engine generates 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque

The F8 Spider shares underpinnings with the F8 Tributo, so it comes with the same 3.9-liter V-8 engine. This mill is actually borrowed from the 488 Pista, so it cranks out more oomph than the one in the 488 Spider. Specifically, the twin-turbo unit generates 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. That’s a 50-horsepower and seven-pound-foot increase compared to the old 488 Spider.

This mill enables the F8 Spider to hit 62 mph from a standing start in 2.9 seconds, which makes it just as quick as the coupe model. The F8 Spider is also two tenths quicker than the 488 Spider and only 0.05 seconds slower than the 488 Pista Spider. Charging to 124 mph takes 8.2 seconds, four tenths slower than the F8 Tributo. On the other hand, the F8 Spider is a half-second quicker than the 488 GTB. Compared to the Pista Spider, the F8 Spider is only two tenths slower to this benchmark.

2020 Ferrari F8 Spider Exterior
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When it comes to top speed, the F8 Spider matches the Pista’s impressive 211-mph benchmark. That’s six mph more than the outgoing 488 GTB Spider and a solid benchmark for a convertible.

Ferrari F8 Spider vs 488 Spider specifications
Ferrari F8 Spider Ferrari 488 Spider
Engine  V8 - 90° - turbo – dry sump 90° V8, turbo-charged, dry sump
Overall displacement  3902 cc 3902 cc
Max. power output* 710 HP @ 8000 RPM 660 HP @ 8000 RPM
Max. torque* 569 LB-FT @ 3250 RPM 560 LB-FT @ 3000 RPM in VII gear

The F8 Spider borrows all the cool technology launched in the Tributo model. It comes with the latest version of the Side Slip Angle Control, which incorporates technologies such as E-Diff3, F1-Trac, the magnetorheological suspension, and the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer. The latter debuted in the 488 Pista.

So is the F8 Spider a threat to its rivals, the Lamborghini Huracan Evo and the McLaren 720S Spider? Just like the F8 Spider, the Huracan Evo Spyder comes with the same engine as the track-prepped Huracan Performance. However, the naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V-10 engine is nowhere near as powerful as Ferrari’s V-8. Rated at 631 horsepower, it falls behind the F8 by 79 horses.

The Huracan Evo Spyder is obviously slower than the F8 Spider from 0 to 62. The Italian supercar needs 3.1 seconds to hit the benchmark, two tenths slower than its Maranello-built counterpart. The Ferrari is also more than a full second quicker to 124 mph. The Lambo’s top speed is notably lower at 202 mph, nine mph below the F8 Spider.

Things change when we compare the F8 Spider to the McLaren 720S Spider. Powered by a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8, it cranks out 710 horses, just as much as the Ferrari. But the British supercar is a tenth-second quicker to 62 mph and hits a top speed of 212 mph. Although it’s not massively quicker, the 720S Spider is around 100 pounds lighter than the Italian roadster.

Pricing

2020 Ferrari F8 Spider Exterior
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Pricing information for the Ferrari F8 Spider is not yet available, but it will cost more than the Tributo. The coupe retails from $274,280, so the F8 Spider could fetch around $300,000 before options.

Competition

Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder

2003 Mercedes E-Class
- image 26108

Since the 488 GTB went against the Huracan, it’s only natural to consider the F8 Tributo a competitor for the Huracan Evo. As a result, the F8 Spider is a competitor for the Huracan Evo Spyder. Both supercars feature similar updates for their mid-cycle facelifts with design changes and powertrains borrowed from their track-ready counterparts, the 488 Pista and Huracan Performante, respectively. However, they’re notably different under the hood. While Ferrari adopted twin-turbo technology for its V-8, Lambo remained true to its roots and kept the naturally aspirated V-10 mill alive. Rated at 631 horsepower, the Huracan Evo is notably less powerful and it also two tenths slower to 62 mph. Likewise, it falls behind when it comes to top speed at 202 vs 211 mph. The Huracan Evo Spyder wins the pricing battle by a small margin with a sticker of around $293,000.

Read our full review of the 2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder

McLaren 720S Spider

2019 McLaren 720S Spider Interior Exterior
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Arguably the best-performing supercar on this list, the 720S arrived in 2017 as a replacement for the 650S. In 2019, McLaren rolled out the convertible model under the "Spider" badge. A more aggressive proposition design-wise, the 720S is also the most advanced vehicle in its class, featuring state-of-the-art tech and McLaren’s latest carbon-fiber tub. It has a rotating instrument cluster, leather and Alcantara interior options, and carbon-fiber trim inside and out. It’s also just as powerful as the F8 Spider thanks to its twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 that generates 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of twist. The sprint to 62 mph takes 2.8 seconds, a tenth-second quicker than the F8 Spider, while its top speed is slightly superior at 212 mph. The 720S is a bit more expensive though, starting from $315,000 before options.

Read our full story of the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider.

Final Thoughts

2020 Ferrari F8 Spider Exterior
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The F8 Spider is far from a surprising appearance. With the 488 Spider discontinued and the F8 Tributo launched earlier in 2019, it was just a matter of time until the F8 would lose its top spot. Now that it happened, I can say that the awesome 488 Spider was replaced by a worthy supercar. Sure, it falls behind the McLaren 720S, but it’s powerful enough to give you a healthy dose of endorphins on both the highway and the race track. Sure, it’s expensive and all, but it’s also highly exclusive and its value will remain steady over time. This isn’t a Mazda Miata, but a track-bred supercar for the road.

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    • Slower than the McLaren 720S Spider

Further reading

The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Joins Ferrari's Lineup as a Successor to the 488
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Read our full review on the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo.

2016 Ferrari 488 Spider
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Read our full review on the 2016 Ferrari 488 Spider.

Ferrari Celebrates its 50th Drop-Top Model With The 488 Pista Spider Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider.

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