Cars

488 Pista Spider: Topless & Timeless

488 Pista Spider: Topless & Timeless

Top down, volume up, zero compromise: the latest 488 Pista Spider lets you experience race-track dynamics with an open roof
Words

Chris Rees

So here is a piece of history in the making: the new Ferrari 488 Pista Spider has the remarkable honour of being the 50th drop-top model produced by the Prancing Horse. Having been unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in the USA, the Mondial de l’Auto in Paris marked the new Ferrari’s European public debut. It’s entirely fitting that the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider represents the highest level yet of technology transfer direct from the track to a road-legal drop-top car.
 

The new Spider is directly derived from the 488 Pista, encapsulating the racing experience gathered on circuits worldwide with the 488 Challenge and 488 GTE race cars. Now, that racing spirit can be appreciated with the roof open to the sky – and your ears open to the pure, circuit-bred soundtrack that only the 488 Pista Spider is able to provide.

Folding the Retractable Hard Top takes just 14 seconds Photo: Andrea Melcangi

The designers at Ferrari have succeeded in maximising aerodynamic efficiency, purity of form, and racing spirit. The 488 Pista Spider has the same ultra-low weight as the fixed-roof Pista, meaning the unprecedented weight-power ratio of 1.92kg per horsepower is unchanged. The engine is the most powerful V8 that Ferrari has ever produced: the 3,902cc twin-turbo engine – the winner of the International Engine of the Year award for three years in a row – combines 720hp with a linear torque curve that allows unbroken acceleration all the way to the red line.

 

It can streak to 100km/h from rest in just 2.85 seconds and go on to a top speed of 340km/h, making it among the fastest drop-top cars in the world. The latest Special Series Spider also offers super-sharp braking, lightning-fast gear shifts, precise steering, and incisive handling, all thanks in no small measure to its lateral dynamics control system, the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE), which makes at-the-limit driving more intuitive, controllable, and predictable.

Race-inspired cockpit; bold exterior stripes Photo: Andrea Melcangi

Unique to the 488 Pista Spider are diamond-finished 20-inch alloy wheels with a novel 10-spoke star-effect interpretation of the traditional berlinetta-style rims. For those who want to pare weight down as far as possible and enhance driving dynamics even more, one-piece carbon-fibre wheels are also available, offering a 20% weight reduction over forged alloys. The 488 Pista Spider’s highly distinctive centre stripe livery runs the whole length of the car, widening towards the rear where it ends by the spoiler.

 

The striping not only emphasises the highly sophisticated aerodynamic airflow – a strong component of the Pista magic – but also enhances the car’s uniquely elegant lines. The cockpit features generous use of carbon fibre and Alcantara.

Reflecting the car’s track-bred heritage, the carpets are replaced by patterned aluminium foot plates and the driver’s door handle is a simple strap. The 488 Pista Spider’s lightweight Retractable Hard Top (RHT) can be raised or lowered in just 14 seconds, even when the car is in motion. When the roof is open, passengers are protected from buffeting by an adjustable wind-stop.

Ferrari