Before the true pleasures of the Ferrari 458 Spider could be grabbed and enjoyed, we were collected from our hotel and whisked into the hills of the Italian countryside. The agenda? A full technical brief, some fizzy fluid and a typically Italian dinner (read that as gorgeous).

There is something very non-corporate about hopping in cars and disappearing into the hills to a very non descript location. What could quite conceivably have been a family farm house, was our location for the evenings activities. Jumping out of the Lancia bus, I immediately took the opportunity to have a couple of minutes alone with the 458 shell giving me the eye in the corner of the courtyard.

Now we know the real reason this piece of art work was to highlight the technical tour de force that Ferrari has become. As technically brilliant as it is (The worlds first mid engined retractable hard top car) I think most of those of in attendance just couldn’t stop thinking about how stunning it would look sat in our living rooms. Artwork at it’s technical best! We would have to wait until the morning to get a good view of the car in the day light though. However judging by the car parked up next to the stunning countryside house, the Spider was as sexy, if not more so, than the coupe… hood up or down!

A major part of any automotive press trip is the people from the manufacturers side. They can make or break a trip and thankfully we had no such problems on this trip. With Matteo, Ferrari’s PR man on the ground, we had a genuinely kind and human guy.

Next up, 15 mins of hedonistic history via video, to get us ready for the full technical run down. We had the pleasure of two senior product engineers, who took the time to take us through every aspect of the 458 Spider, the advancements in technical capability of the outgoing 430 Spider and of course all the goodies they are right to proud of. We will get to this during our driven report, however it was this aspect that really got to me.

The route! And there was me thinking we’d have a couple of hours plodding around the countryside. Nope… wrong on so many accounts. What we did have in front of us was about 500kms of world class roads. No stop overs/check points or chase cars… just road, V8, blue skies and a lunch date on the Mediterranean coast.

‘Good night’ she whispered! The 458 Spider wearing a little slinky black number is certainly a wondrous thing. Tomorrow signals the drive… best hit the sack then and get my driving suit pressed.

For Phil it's all about the car, the quality of content and the story. Having experienced life on both sides of the automotive business, the unbridled urge to set up his own unique motoring website led to crankandpiston.com being founded in his spare room. The rest as they say is history.

Phil McGovern

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