Why Choose Between Ferrari’s New Spider or California?: Buy Both

By Jason H. Harper - 2013-05-09T08:08:02Z

Ferrari via Bloomberg

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562-hp Engine

In Malibu, however, the California is on home turf. Locals nod to me as one of their tribe. Perhaps I could be Chuck Lorre, or Charlie Sheen’s assistant.

Still, I can’t pretend otherwise: I’m much more excited about the 458 Spider. Even as a convertible, it is a hammer-of-the-gods sports car, with the 562-hp engine located in the center, behind the two-seat cockpit.

The Spider is based on one of my most-favorite cars, the 458 Italia coupe. Sequels are rarely as good as the originals, but this convertible looks better than the coupe both top up and down. And you give up almost nothing in terms of speed and overall performance.

There are real world issues such as the price, which including options is an angina-inducing $356,987. And it isn’t so easy to live with. Super wide and very low, it has no cup holders, not much interior storage space, no comfort setting and the controls are clustered on the steering wheel, including button-operated blinkers. The car turns with only a hint of steering wheel twist. It basically demands that you re-learn how to drive.

Left, the 562-horsepower engine sits in the center of the convertible, behind the two seat cockpit.