Six things you need to know: Ferrari 488 Pista Spider

By topgear, 07 October 2018

At this week’s Paris Motor Show, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider made its European debut. Cue gasps of excitement all round. The hard-top is already a game changer in the world of baby supercars, and the convertible promises even more.

You want specs to literally blow your hat off? Here’s what we learned about the 488 Pista Spider.

It packs Ferrari’s most powerful ever V8

It’s a 3.9-litre. It’s a V8. It’s turbocharged. It has 710bhp and 770Nm of torque. It’ll do 0-100kph in 2.85secs and 0-200kph in 8 seconds dead. Top speed is 340kph. Not too bad in a game of Top Trumps, huh?

It’s the most powerful V8 ever sported by a road-going Ferrari and uses the same engine intake layout developed for the 488 Challenge. Intakes are moved to the rear spoiler, bringing a higher volume of air into the engine, beefing up the power.

Moving the intakes to the back also allowed for a bigger intercooler ahead of the rear wheels. Take that, fluid-dynamic load losses!

The engine’s lighter, too

Cylinder liners are thinner, there are new valves and springs and reshaped exhaust manifolds. Those manifolds are made from Inconel, there’s a lighter crankshaft and flywheel (revvy), titanium con-rods (nerdy), and integrated rev sensors from the 488 Challenge (um, racey?).

Ferrari 488 Pista Spider
It’s much louder than a regular 488 Spider

Aside from the fact that the International Engine of the Year Awards has crowned this V8 the winner for the third consecutive year, Ferrari reckons the Pista Spider’s V8 boasts a sound level higher “in all gears and at all engine speeds”.

There’s something called ‘wall effect’: not a strategy to avoid any potential collision in one, but rather the revs don’t tail off as you reach the redline. It just cuts right off at 8,000rpm, apparently.

Plus the lack of a, y’know, roof, means you can absorb every last decibel.

Aero occurs. Lots of it

Ferrari claims a 20 per cent improvement in aero efficiency over the regular 488 Spider, thanks to active aero on the underbody and a redesigned blown rear spoiler. The front radiator was redesigned – directing hot air to the underbody ahead of the front wheels – and of course, there’s the aforementioned change to the rear intakes.

There’s an S-Duct, too, derived from the world of Formula 1 (did you know Ferrari race in F1? Rarely mentioned). It’s basically an aero intake on the front bumper, whereby the air exits through a vent to create more front downforce.

That rear spoiler is both longer and higher over the 488 Spider’s, the vortex generators were optimised and the rear diffuser was derived directly from the 488 GTE.

Plus there’s the stripe. Because stripes are always cool.

Tech occurs too. Lots of it

Side Slip Control is now in its sixth iteration here, with its magical ability to help you slide around like a pro. There’s something called Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, which intervenes through and out of corners by working on the brake calipers. It means you’re better able to handle – in Ferrari’s words – “lengthy oversteer situations”. Our favourite kind of situation.

The brakes have been beefed up and they hide underneath optional single-piece carbon fibre wheels. Forged alloy units are 20 per cent heavier.

And it’ll lap Fiorano in…

…1 minute and 21.5 seconds. Which is exactly the same as the 488 Pista coupe. And that’s a big deal – it puts it just behind the F12tdf (1m 21s) and LaFerrari (1m 19.7s). See? Fast.