Going airborne in a press car is frowned upon by most publications, because most late model cars don’t seem to fly as well as 1968 Dodge Chargers. But recent advances in magnetic suspension allowed Ferrari to incorporate serious hang time in their new 488 Spider. In a move that would leave Waylon Jennings speechless, AutoExpress made perfect use of the 488’s light weight and incredible power for one of the longest jumps we have seen. In the old days of steel wheels and cast iron brake rotors, hard landings caused several hundred pounds of un-sprung weight to impact the pavement, placing the suspension into full compression. With the tire’s sidewall being the only cushion, landings usually bent or fractured the steering gear and control arms.
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The 488 Spider arrives with carbon ceramic brakes and forged wheels that are 20 lbs lighter than the 458’s rolling stock. Instead of conventional hydraulic shock absorbers, the new magnetic units can react several hundred times a second to changes in elevation. So once the car leaves the pavement, shocks are instantly prepared for landing by going to their maximum stiffness. Sometimes automotive engineers are just big kids, and they know how to build cars capable of enduring foolish behavior. We don’t endorse or condone this type of driving, so leave the flying to certified pilots.
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