Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Makes European Debut at Paris Motor Show

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Prancing Horse’s 488 Pista Spider is the highest performance Ferrari drop-top ever.

After its world premiere at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the new special series Ferrari 488 Pista Spider has made its European debut at the Paris Motor Show, and fortunately, the Strains Media YouTube channel was there to capture the moment, above. The 50th drop-top model to be introduced by the Prancing Horse is the most powerful series production Spider in Ferrari history, with an unprecedented weight/power ratio of 1.92 kg/cv.

“The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider offers the finest race-developed technology to deliver an exhilarating experience behind the wheel,” says Ferrari. “The driver feels absolutely as one with the car in a symbiotic relationship that guarantees instantaneous responsiveness to commands and absolute control when executing even the most complex manoeuvres. This is hardly surprising as the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider benefits from the greatest technological transfer from the track of any road-legal open-top car.”

Ferrari 488 Pista Spider

The model’s engine, dynamics, and aerodynamics are derived from two track cars: the 488 Challenge and the 488 GTE. The latter won the GT class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2017, thus giving Ferrari a total of five GT Manufacturers’ titles since the championship’s inception in 2012. Furthermore, this model has very clearly benefited from the extensive development work done to produce the coupé version, the 488 Pista.

The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider sports the most powerful V8 engine in Maranello history which was also named Best Engine for the third consecutive year at the 2018 International Engine of the Year Awards. The 3902cc twin-turbo V8 unleashes 720 cv (50 cv more than the 488 Spider) with torque calibrated to deliver a feeling of constant, ever-increasing acceleration. The engine also won the special “Best of the Best” title as the top engine of all the winners of the last 20 years.

Its performance figures are the highest of any spider ever built by the Prancing Horse, including 0-100 km/h acceleration in 2.85 seconds and a lap time at Fiorano of just 1’21’’5.

The 488 Pista Spider’s target client is a typical diehard Ferrarista who already owns other Ferrari spiders. These are drivers that want to feel all the power and speed the 488 Pista Spider is capable of yet also enjoy drop-top driving and the soundtrack of that unparalleled engine.

But the innovations are not confined merely to a boost in power output – they also extend to an overall reduction in weight and beyond. In fact, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider delivers even better handling, making it one of the most enthralling models Ferrari has ever produced, thanks also to multiple innovations in various different areas.


In terms of its characteristics and performance, the 488 Pista Spider’s engine sets the benchmark not just for new generation turbo engines but all engines, including naturally aspirated ones. This is why it was voted “Engine of the Year” for three years running: 2016, 2017 and 2018. It is also the most powerful V8 ever sported by a road-going Ferrari in terms of both its overall and specific power outputs. It also delivers the highest power increase over the model it was developed from, the 488 Spider.

The car’s technical performance figures are exceptional and set it at the very top of its segment. The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider can unleash 720 cv at 8,000 rpm -50 cv more than the 488 Spider and 115 cv more than the previous special version. Its specific power output has been upped to a best-in-class 185 cv/l. Maximum torque is higher at all engine speeds, peaking at 770 Nm (10 Nm more than the 488 Spider) and is available from 3,000 rpm.

These results were achieved thanks to the new engine intake layout developed for the 488 Challenge, with the intakes moved from the flanks to the rear spoiler area, ensuring a higher volume and cleaner flow of air to the engine, thereby contributing to the increase in power. Moving the air intakes from the sides to the rear also freed up space for a larger intercooler ahead of the rear wheels. This solution drastically reduces fluid-dynamic load losses and ensures a higher volume and cleaner flow of air to the engine, thereby contributing to the increase in power.

Weight was reduced by adopting evolved components such as Inconel exhaust manifolds, a lighter crankshaft and flywheel, and titanium con-rods, all using F1-derived technologies. In total, 18 kg was slashed off the weight of the engine alone.

The 488 Challenge also provides the turbos with integrated rev sensors. Response times are instantaneous and even faster than the 488 Spider, thanks to a new specifically-developed control strategy. A new pedal map also makes driving on the limit even easier.

Specific valves and springs combined with a new cam profile also contributed to the engine’s power boost. The cylinder liners are thinner too. These significant upgrades are completed by the geometry of the new exhaust manifolds. Not forgetting either the carbon-fibre intake plenums, which have become one of the signatures of Ferrari’s special series cars.

All the structural components were modified to deal with the engine’s power boost. The pistons and cylinder heads have been strengthened to cope with the higher loads. Parallel to this, particular attention was also focused on reducing internal friction by introducing, for example, solutions derived directly from Formula 1.

The engine’s sound is unique and unmistakable, as befits a special series car. In fact, the sound level is higher than the 488 Spider in all gears and at all engine speeds. The retractable hardtop also makes all of this easier for occupants to appreciate than in the coupé version. The new Inconel exhaust manifolds and optimised exhaust bypass logic contribute to the superior quality and the intensity.

All these solutions contribute to the engine’s lower inertia allowing it to rev even more quickly, so much so that the driver can see the rev counter needle flying particularly in rapid transitions, such as gear shifting and scorching low-gear acceleration.

Aside from boosting power, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider’s engine also makes the car’s handling more intuitive and its powerful, razor-sharp performance available to all drivers in all driving situations, both on the road and the track.

A slew of high performance features have been introduced to allow drivers to exploit to the very fullest the potential afforded the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider’s engine.

A new boost control strategy optimises response time and performance in sporty driving on the limit, making all the power the driver asks from the throttle available virtually instantaneously.

The rev limiter’s “Wall Effect” strategy is another leap forward in terms of extreme engine performance. Rather than gradually limiting the revs towards the limiter, it cuts off right at the red-line of 8,000 rpm, maximising the amount of power available in power-on dynamic driving situations.

Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Makes European Debut at Paris Motor Show continued…

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