First I need to make a confession, I haven’t been in a Ferrari since my dad had one back in the mid 80s. It was a gorgeous silver Ferrari 308 but I was too young to appreciate the car back then, I just remember it was loud and it looked like the one on Magnum P.I. Strangely I hadn’t been in a Ferrari ever since which is weird because Ferraris are pretty common in Kuwait. A few months ago when I went to test drive the Jaguar F-Type I found out the same dealer (Zayani) had a Ferrari 458 Spider to test drive as well. I started harassing them to loan me the car for the weekend to test drive until last week I finally got the phone call telling me I could pass by and pick up the car but I would have it only from 10AM to 5PM. After a bit of negotiation I was able to extend that from 9AM to 7PM. It wasn’t the weekend I had wanted, but a full day with the Spider was still going to be a great day.
Sunday morning I got up early and headed to the dealership where after giving me a short tour of the showroom I was taken to the car which was waiting for me in a large pristine white room. The car was in silver blue (Grigio Alloy) fitted with a custom two tone leather and suede interior. I got in the car and the salesman showed me where everything was and how to work them. It’s not complicated to say, it’s just that majority of the options are not in their usual place (spoiler: they’re all on the steering wheel). For example, the turn signals are located on the steering wheel as well as the wipers, high beam switch, the cars start/stop button, the “bumpy road” button, the horn and most importantly the Manettino dial which allows you to control the cars settings with a flick of a switch. I’m not sure why they haven’t adapted this idea to all cars yet but after spending a day with the 458 I started wishing all my FJ’s controls were on the steering wheel, it just makes a lot more sense than having all these nobs spread out behind it.
Once he was done showing me all the controls we drove out of the dealership for a ride around the block just so I could get a feel for the car before heading out. I then dropped him back off to the dealership and headed out on my own… without a chaperon. There I was sitting in a brand new Ferrari 458 Spider all on my own, free to do with it whatever I pleased. First thing I did was send the mandatory snapchat to my friends and then I decided to head out to the desert where I had previously shot the Porsche Cayman. I figured the roads would be empty there and I wanted to get rid of the photography so I could enjoy the car the rest of the day.
Driving the car was a lot easier than I was expecting it to be even though the car produces 570hp out of its mid-mounted naturally-aspirated 4.5l V8 engine. I spent the first 20 minutes of the drive keeping my eye out on the speedometer since the car just wanted to speed and in the end I couldn’t resist the urge not to and just gave up and started keeping my eye out for cops and speed traps instead. When I finally got to my destination I realized it might not have been the best day to be out in the open desert since there was a pretty nasty dusty storm. But since it took me 40 minutes to get there I was not going to turn back now and kept on going even though at some points I could barely see the road because it was covered with sand. Finally I arrived to the location and got out of the car to snap my photos. It was really windy and I ended up getting sand in every crevice of my body but I also ended up with two fantastic photos especially once I converted them to black and white. I packed up my gear and headed back to the city but not before making a quick stop at home to shower and change.
As I mentioned the car is really easy to drive and can actually be very civil if you keep it in sport mode (Ferrari’s version of “comfort”) and aren’t heavy on the peddle. On the other hand if you’re a hooligan you’re also gonna love this car. Once I was back in the city I realized I could still have a lot of fun without breaking any laws (kinda) just by accelerating at full speed out of traffic lights, drifting slightly around corners and roundabouts and down shifting to second gear when going under bridges. Actually by switching the cars gearbox from auto to manual made a world of a difference because I could keep the gears low and have the car scream its beautiful loud Ferrari tones without even trying. But the car isn’t loud unless you want it to be and the interior can be pretty quiet while cruising at normal speeds. Speaking of the interior I was pretty surprised at how spacious it was. I LOVE the center console layout, it’s basically non existent with just AC controls and nothing else. In an age where center consoles are filled with large screens and buttons beyond buttons, it was great to see they kept the interior to a bare minimum.
What differentiates the Ferrari 458 Spider from the regular Ferrari 458 is the fact it’s a hard top convertible. With just a press of the button the roof folds away into the trunk and thats what I did once the sun started setting. Driving the car with the roof down is a whole different experiencing, if you really want to hear the engine sound that’s the best way of experiencing it. As the sun set I knew I would have to drive the car back to the dealer and I think it was the first time where I was both happy and sad to return a car. I was sad because I was obviously returning the Ferrari but also happy because at the end of the day I was driving an KD80,000 Ferrari and I was just relieved to be handing it back in one piece.
So what didn’t I like about the car? Not a lot honestly. The trunk is practically non existent if you opt to have a spare tire, like you might be able to fit one or two grocery bags there and thats it. The sound system also wouldn’t let me stream music over bluetooth which sucks although it did have iPod connectivity via USB. Finally I thought the gas pedal was too close to the brake pedal and so my sneakers kept getting clipped every time I was moving from one pedal to the other to the point I thought my sneakers might get ruined. But by the end of the day I got used to it and just shifted my foot far right so that wouldn’t keep happening. Even though I wasn’t expecting the car to be a disappointment it did surprise me in a lot of ways. I wasn’t expecting it to be such a drivable car and one which could be so civil. I didn’t even have issues going over speed bumps or parallel parking (thank you rear view camera) so I could totally drive this car every day if Ferrari agree on that 90% discount I asked for (pretty please).
The Ferrari 458 Spider starts at KD81,900 and is available at the dealers Zayani.