Maranello’s most powerful V-8 car goes topless

The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider joined the 488 lineup at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as a replacement for the 458 Speciale Aperta. The Ferrari 488 Pista replaced the iconic 458 Speciale, and it’s the first of its kind to hide a turbocharged engine under the hood.

Just when we thought that Ferrari settled for the Aperta name for its convertible sports car, Maranello returned to using the old Spider badge. But this is arguably a small issue here, as the Pista Aperta is just as exciting as its coupe sibling, but with extra headroom when the top is removed. The 50th drop-top model built by Ferrari since 1947, the Pista Spider made its global debut in the United States, where convertible sports cars are more popular than everywhere else in the world. Let’s have a closer look at the latest member of the 488 family in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider.

Exterior

  • New Front Bumper
  • Race-Inspired Nose
  • Beefed-Up Side Skirts
  • New Diffuser
  • Redesigned Spoiler
  • 20-Percent More Downforce
2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Exterior
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Just like its predecessor, the 458 Speciale Aperta, the 488 Pista Spider is identical to its coupe sibling below the waist. It boasts the same changes front and rear, starting with the brand-new front bumper that includes an F1-inspired S-duct and splitter design borrowed from the 488 GTE race cars. The latter creates more suction to increase downforce.

The massive side vents, the vented hood, and the flat nose round off the changes compared to the standard model.

Move to the sides, and you’ll notice similar changes to the side skirts and rear fender outlets. The skirts are wider and sportier, while the vents have a bigger lower section that feeds more air into the engine. The black trim around it also makes the outlet stand out on cars finished in light colors. Finally, the drop-top rides on diamond-finish, 20-inch wheels in 10-spoke design. Ferrari also offers one-piece carbon-fiber wheels that are 20-percent lighter over the standard rollers.

2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Exterior
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It’s here where we can notice what really sets the Spider apart. Of course, the first thing that catches the eye is the removable top.

As a Targa-style model, the Pista Spider retains the rear part of the coupe's roof, which incorporates the sloping engine hood, but Ferrari made a few changes.

First, the quarter windows are gone. Second, the Italians added rollover hoops behind the seatbacks. The windshield is also different. Not only it has a more acute angle, but the frame is also significantly thicker.

Move around back, and you’ll notice that the coupe’s sexy rear end was simply pasted onto the Spider. And that’s good news because the Pista boasts a bigger spoiler that sits higher above the fascia, a new upper fascia designed for improved airflow, and a larger, wider diffuser. It also has bigger vents on each side.

In a way, the Spider looks better than the coupe. I usually favor hard-top models, but the sleeker and thicker windscreen and the rollover hoops make the 488 Pista one of the sexiest supercars on the road.

Interior

  • All-Black Interior
  • Race-Inspired Aluminum Floor
  • Custom Instrument Cluster
  • Carbon-Fiber Trim
  • Carbon-Fiber Center Console
  • Sportier Seats
2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Interior
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Not surprisingly, the interior of the Spider is identical to the coupe, save for the infinite headroom provided by the removable top. On top of that, you’ll get to enjoy the soundtrack of the V-8 engine even more without the roof.

Moving over to the features, almost everything is black, just like in the coupe.

While the regular 488 GTB can be had in various two-tone configurations, the Pista comes with an all-black interior with colored accents on the dashboard, seats, and center console.

Sure, you can customize the car with brighter colors, but it can get very expensive.

The dashboard is identical to the regular 488, but it includes a "488 Pista" badge on the passenger side. The trim around the A/C vents is made of carbon-fiber, a feature you won’t find in the GTB. The steering wheel also seems identical to the 488 GTB, but the instrument cluster features a yellow rev counter instead of the usual red.

2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Interior
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Just like in the coupe, the soft-touch carpet on the floor was removed. This measure not only helps save weight, but the patterned aluminum plates that replaced the mats also give the car a race-inspired look.

The center console boasts more important revisions. While the "R," "Auto," and "Launch" buttons are placed along the center section of the console in the 488, Ferrari moved them toward the right, closer to the passenger section. The console is also made of carbon-fiber now, an upgrade from the aluminum construction from the regular 488 GTB. Finally, the Alcantara seats have bigger side bolstering for increased support during spirited driving.

Further customization is possible through the company’s personalization program, which offers an almost infinite choice of upholstery colors combination and materials that aren’t available through the online configurator. All you need is a fat wallet.

Drivetrain

  • Upgraded 3.9-Liter V-8
  • 710 Horsepower
  • 0 To 62 Mph In 2.9 Seconds
  • Top Speed Of 211 Mph
  • Lighter Drivetrain
  • New Side-Slip Angle Control
  • Brand-New Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer
2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Exterior
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As you might have figured it out already, the Pista Spider shares underpinnings with the coupe. That’s the twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 that debuted in the 488 but upgraded to deliver more power.

The V-8 cranks out 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, a 50-horsepower and seven-pound-foot increase over the standard 488 GTB.

The Pista Spider thus joins the Pista coupe as Ferrari’s most powerful V-8 sports cars ever.

Ferrari didn’t have much to say about the Spider’s performance, but it’s safe to assume it’s just as quick as the coupe. Roadsters are usually a bit heavier, but companies like Ferrari and Lamborghini manage to keep weight as low as possible through the extensive use of carbon and aluminum.

The coupe takes 2.85 seconds to accelerate from zero to 62 mph, and the Spider shouldn’t be notably slower. If anything, it should get there in 2.9 clicks, which makes it around two seconds quicker than the regular 488 Spider. This benchmark also makes it quicker than the previous 458 Speciale.

The Pista Spider is quicker to 124 mph too, needing only 7.6 seconds to get there.

That’s almost a full second quicker than the 488 GTB Spider and two seconds compared to the 458 Speciale Aperta. Now that’s solid improvement! Top speed is also up from the standard Spider, now at 211 mph versus 205.

2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Exterior
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Of course, the increase in performance is also the result of a lighter car and not just the beefed-up engine. There’s no word as to how much the Spider weighs, but we know that the coupe tips the scales at only 2,822 pounds, almost 200 pounds less than the regular 488 GTB. The Pista Spider should also weigh less than 2,900 pounds.

The Pista package also adds a number of performance-enhancing features, starting with the Side-Slip Angle Control system, now in its sixth iteration. SSC 6.0 incorporates systems such as E-Diff3, F1-Trac, the magnetorheological suspension (SCM) and, for the first time ever, the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer. The latter is a world-first feature that uses software to adjust the brake pressure at the calipers.

Prices

2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Exterior
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Ferrari has yet to unveil pricing, but the Pista Spider will fetch in excess of $300,000. With the Pista coupe likely to start from around $330,000, the drop-top could go as high as $350,000 before options.

Competition

Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder

2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder Exterior
- image 772088
Features new ALA Aero System

Introduced in 2017, the Huracan Performance is already a car that needs no introduction. It’s one of the most menacing road-legal Lambo built to date, and much like the 488 Pista, it’s a race car in disguise. Based on the familiar Huracan, the Performante sports an intricate aerodynamic package (called ALA) and a revised chassis for enhanced performance. A retuned version of the company’s 5.2-liter V-10 engine sends 631 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. For 2018, Lambo introduced a Spyder version with the exact same features and performance figures. The Performance Spyder is a bit slower though, needing 3.1 seconds to hit 62 mph, while top speed is inferior at 202 mph.

On the other hand, it’s astoundingly agile on the race track. While there’s no benchmark for the Spyder, the coupe lapped the Nurburgring in an amazing 6:52.01 minutes. Pricing could start from around $300,000 before options.

Read our full review of the 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder.

McLaren 750LT Spider

2019 McLaren 750LT Exclusive Renderings Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of the McLaren 750LT; this car doesn’t exist yet. But it will, as the 720S will spawn a successor to the iconic 675LT. And much like the latter, it will come in Spider configuration as well. Obviously, it will be a beefed-up, track-prepped version of the standard model and it will boast a comprehensive aero kit, a revised chassis for improved performance, and a more powerful engine. Under the hood, McLaren will probably increase output from 710 to 740 horsepower, which translates into 750 PS, hence the 750LT name. With the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 under tweaked to unprecedented levels, the 750LT should need only 2.7 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start, to go with a top speed of nearly 210 mph. This McLaren won’t be cheap though, with a sticker likely to surpass the $375,000 mark. Production will also be limited to 500 unit, which means it will sell out in a few weeks.

Read our speculative review of the 2019 McLaren 750LT.

Conclusion

2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Exterior
- image 792191

The Pista Spider doesn’t come as a surprise. With the 458 Speciale also offered as a drop-top, it was only a matter of when for the 488 Pista to lose its top. My only complaint here is that Ferrari is moving back and forth through names for its convertible models way too often. We barely got familiar with the Aperta, and now we have the Spider again. I wish the folks in Maranello would make up their minds already!

Rants aside, the Pista Spider is just as cool as the coupe version, but benefits from infinite headroom and all the sun you can get in the cabin during a summer day. If it’s cloudy and cold outside, you can simply use it as a coupe. It looks cool, it’s a customizable as they get, and it’s powerful enough to trump the existing competition. Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s a Ferrari at the end of the day.

  • Leave it
    • * A bit slower than the coupe
    • * Very expensive

Further reading

2018 Ferrari 488 Pista
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Read our full review on the 2018 Ferrari 488 Pista.

2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A Exterior High Resolution
- image 727234

Read our full review on the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta.

2016 Ferrari 488 Spider High Resolution Exterior
- image 667370

Read our full review on the 2017 Ferrari 488 Spider

2016 Ferrari 488 GTB Exterior
- image 620088

Read our full review on the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB.

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Read more Ferrari news.

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Read more Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance news.

Press release

The Prancing Horse’s new Special Series model, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider, has been unveiled during the world-famous Concours d’Elegance® at Pebble Beach in California.

The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider is the 50th drop-top model from the Prancing Horse and a premiere in the US was a natural choice given that, ever since the 1950s, North American clients have always been keen connoisseurs of high-performance convertibles.

The new car sets a new benchmark for Ferrari for spider performance with an unprecedented weight-power ratio of 1.92 kg/cv. A result made possible by the adoption of the most powerful Ferrari V8 engine ever, which was recently named Best Engine in the world for the third consecutive year at the 2018 International Engine of the Year Awards. The 3902cc twin-turbo V8 unleashes 720 cv and combines that power with increasing torque at all engine speeds for continuous and unending acceleration all the way to the red line. The unique engine sound is now even more riveting thanks to the open-top configuration.

The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider represents the natural development of the defining design of the coupé version. The Ferrari designers’ primary objective was to maintain unaltered the perfect marriage of aerodynamic efficiency, purity of form and racing spirit.

This concept is underlined by the characteristic central livery which runs the whole length of the car, expanding towards the rear where it finishes at the end of the rear wing next to the spoiler. This continual expansion of the stripe recalls the movement of the airflow and exalts the lines of the car.

The philosophy that imposed an uncompromising choice of materials for the bodywork is also revisited in the interior solutions, with weight being saved by the use of lightweight, pared-back components. As well as the generous use of carbon-fibre and Alcantara® throughout, the carpets have been replaced by patterned aluminium foot plates and the driver’s-side door handle is now a simple strap.

In terms of engineering, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider is directly derived from the 488 Pista which encapsulates all the racing experience gathered on world’s circuits with the 488 Challenge and the 488 GTE. As a result, the new Spider offers the highest level yet of technological transfer from the track to a road-legal drop-top car.

The vehicle dynamics honed for this Special Series 8-cylinder convertible deliver a seamless combination of razor-sharp acceleration, braking efficiency, lightning-fast gear shifting, precision steering, grip, stability and superb handling. The result? A completely captivating and unprecedented driving experience. This was achieved thanks partly to the new lateral dynamics control system, the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE), which makes on-the-limit driving more intuitive, controllable and predictable.

The car features new diamond-finish 20” alloy wheels with a novel 10-spoke star-effect interpretation of Ferrari’s traditional mid-rear engine berlinetta-style rims. Also available are the optional one-piece carbon-fibre wheels which offer a 20% weight reduction over the standard forged alloys.

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