To drive a Ferrari is tantamount to experiencing the pinnacle of performance motoring. It’s the same for Rolls Royce, the Everest of ultra-luxury driving. Remarkably we’ve done both here at EFTM, but I have to say the last Ferrari I drove, the FF, didn’t quite reach the summit. So, we set out this week to have a crack at the 488 Spider, as you do.

$526,888 would say the salesman if you strolled into your local dealer. But wait, he’d also say, look at this long list of goodies. With a bank account that probably sits off shore somewhere you’d no doubt tick a few of those tempting boxes. What’s a lazy $1,350 for sports exhaust pipes, $2,551 for front and rear parking sensors and hey you gotta have those $3001 (yep couldn’t round that one down) Scuderia Ferrari Shields just below the A-pillar.

But when is it that someone decides that $48,697 for the carbon fibre exterior package and $6,791 for Apple CarPlay is something that makes sense? Welcome to the world of being a Ferrari buyer, none of it makes sense to mere mortals such as us. The model we tested was so crammed with options it broke the bank at $679,337 – before on roads.

This car drives like no other, the heritage that the prancing horse instils in a motorcar is truly a unique thing. So for the average punter what is getting behind the wheel of something of this calibre really like? I’ve driven probably over a thousand makes and models of cars now, so I can say with some authority driving the 488 Spider was a serious WOW moment.

When the twin-turbo V8 ignites, it’s obvious straight away this is more than a car, it’s a masterpiece of engineering. The song behind your head has been written by Italians that must be from the same family tree as Vivaldi. Using terms such as raucous, explosive or meaty would be like describing the finest symphony as “rad”. It’s a composition of pure excellence, prowling at first then dancing up through the 8000rpm rev range into something so sonorous you may well cry.

Classical music metaphors aside, it’s the purity of the actual drive that really floats my boat. On rails, precise, razor sharp… Yes, all that, but 10-fold over most other vehicles I’ve sat my bum in. The way the car turns in and then slingshots out of corners is insane. The 488 Spider comes with a seven-speed F1 dual-clutch transmission and 492kW at 8000rpm. That’s an immense amount of up and go and there’s no way we could explore that on a public road. But just a half shove on the throttle proves to me that the claimed 0-100km/h in 3.0 seconds is very, very much achievable.

I got the feeling that on a track and in ‘Track Mode’, courtesy of the famed Manettino settings, life could get perilous quickly. You may well be sitting behind a steering wheel that looks like it should be hooked up to a PlayStation, but this is the real Italian red-blooded deal. An amateur could be screaming along at warp speeds one second, then bucked off quicker than you can say oh s”#t! This is serious gear that attracts an equally as serious and respectful buyer.

Oh, and being a Spider, you can put the roof down. Unlike the GTB Coupe, you can have the wind in your hair in seconds and be that guy. That guy who exudes such confidence he’s happy to drive down Windsor Road in North West Sydney, attracting more attention than Elvis. Some good, some bad, bet hey I’m driving a dream right? No one took the time to pinch me.

For a supercar the interior is downright beautiful. The leather tan colour was called ‘Cuoio’ and featured special stitching and a coloured dashboard that would meet the strictest tastes. The insanely expensive Apple CarPlay option sat to the right of the instrument cluster and was about the size of a postage stamp, ok perhaps two. Multimedia functions in most cars of this nature don’t take precedence I must say, you’ll need to reach to the right of the steering wheel and toggle around with dials and knobs just to pick a source or change a track. That steering wheel is mostly occupied by buttons normally found on stalks, like indicators or high-beam. Cruise control is controlled via another dial labelled ‘Pit’.

This is the kind of car you’d probably like to sleep next too as well, like a supermodel. Top on or off. It is truly gorgeous, with lines and creases that only the Italians could come up with. Look at the air intakes, they could swallow more plankton than a whale. I think our test car also proves a Ferrari need not be red, I’d take ‘Argenton Nürburgring’ (Silver) any day.

So, what can I say to wrap up my day driving the 488 Spider? Well to be honest it must be the best supercar I’ve driven, off which there’s been a few. But I’m trying to think what makes the 488 Spider make me sound like a fanboy… Um, well I guess when you look at the sum of all parts, it quite simply is perfect.

Ferrari Spider 488
PriceFrom $526,888
Engine3.9-litre V8
Power492kW / 760Nm
Transmisson7-speed dual-clutch automatic / manual
0 – 100km/h 3.0 seconds