A warm, if not hot, welcome to the most powerful series production Ferrari convertible, or Spider, ever. This hairdryer on alloys will whisk you from a standing start to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, about as fast as the laws of physics will allow – an ideal way for you to cool down on a hot day in the Italian Riviera, or Margate for that matter (which has better beaches). Some 200mph is easily within reach, and worth every penny of the £250,000 or so it will take to acquire one.
After its world premiere at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the new special series Ferrari 488 Pista Spider has now made its European debut at the Paris Motor Show. The 50th drop-top model to be introduced by the firm is also the most powerful series production spider in Ferrari history, with an unprecedented power/weight ratio of 484 horsepower per tonne. This compares to say, 269 horsepower/tonne of the Porsche 911, or 410 horsepower/tonne in the super-light Caterham CSR.
The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider claims to combine the finest race-developed technological solutions with the joy of open-air driving to deliver an “exhilarating” experience behind the wheel. 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.
Thus the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider sports the most powerful V8 engine to emerge from the Ferrari works in Maranello. The 3,902cc twin-turbo V8 unleashes 720 horsepower with torque calibrated to deliver a feeling of constant, ever-increasing acceleration.
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.
As for weight, or lack of it, the bodyshell was designed to keep the car as light as possible and features ultra-light materials such as carbon fibre for the engine cover, the front and rear bumpers and the rear spoiler, and Lexan for the rear window.
This is also the first time that an optional 20-inch single-piece carbon-fibre wheel rim has been made available in the Ferrari range. Made entirely from carbon fibre, it is around 20 per cent lighter than the forged wheel rims that come as standard on this car and features a special coating developed for the aerospace industry on the channel and spokes which efficiently reflects and dissipates heat generated under braking.
The interior has a distinctively spare racing feel. The extensive use of lightweight, exclusive technical materials such as carbon fibre and Alcantara works brilliantly with the meticulous crafting and sophistication that is the signature of all Ferrari cockpits. Contrasting hand-stitching, tread plates and heel rests in triangular pattern aluminium and sculpted door panels are fine examples of this.
The “driver zone”, as Ferrari terms it, has been enhanced by two newly developed all-carbon-fibre instrument clusters around the main instrument panel (optional content). The glove compartment (normally incorporated into the dashboard directly in front of the passenger) has been removed and replaced by storage pockets on the rear bench and the doors.
The 488 Pista Spider’s target client is said to be a “typical diehard Ferrarista who already owns other Ferrari spiders”. Obviously you can never own too many Ferraris.
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