After the world premiere of the 488 Pista as the successor to Ferrari’s V8-engined special series (the 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia and 458 Speciale) at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the Spider version made its European debut at the Paris Motor Show recently. The 50th drop-top model to be introduced by Ferrari is also the most powerful series production spider in Ferrari history, with an unprecedented weight/power ratio of 1.92 kgs/ps.

The 488 Pista Spider combines the finest race-developed technological solutions with the joy of ‘topless’ driving to deliver an exhilarating experience behind the wheel. The new car benefits from the greatest technological transfer from the track of any road-legal open-top car, it is claimed.

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 (giving Ferrari a total of five GT Manufacturers’ titles) and furthermore, this model has very clearly benefited from the extensive development work done to produce the coupe version, the 488 Pista.

The 488 Pista Spider sports the most powerful V8 engine in the company’s history and this engine has been the recipient of ‘Best Engine’ for the third consecutive year at the 2018 International Engine of the Year Awards. The 3902-cc twin-turbo V8 generates 720 ps with torque calibrated to deliver a feeling of constant, ever-increasing acceleration. Its claimed 0 – 100 km/h time is the quickest of any spider ever built by Ferrari – 2.85 seconds.

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.

A slew of high-performance features have been introduced to allow drivers to exploit to the very fullest the potential of the 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.

Also adopted once again on this model is the hugely successful Ferrari Variable Torque Management strategy for all gears. To adapt it to the car’s extreme sporty spirit, all of the torque curves were redesigned to deliver a feeling of consistently smooth, powerful acceleration all the way to the red line.

The vehicle dynamics developed for this drop-top V8 special series car are enhanced partly by the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE) which makes controlling the lateral dynamics in high performance situations more intuitive, controllable and predictable. To achieve these objectives, Ferrari’s engineers had to work on several fronts, starting with introducing numerous lightweight solutions as well as evolving both a new generation of the Side Slip Control System (SSC 6.0), improving the efficiency of the braking system and the introduction of new high-performance tyres.

Although the 488 Pista Spider was developed for mostly road use, it was also designed to deliver impressive performance on the track. As a result, the braking system was modified to improve cooling, particularly under extreme use, and also to cut the time it takes to get up to temperature.

The bodyshell is designed to keep the car as light as possible and features ultralight 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 carbonfibre wheel has been made available in the Ferrari range. Made entirely from carbonfibre, it is around 20% 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 carbonfibre 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.

Ferrari has not provided information about when deliveries will start nor the price. However, it would not be less than US$350,000 (about RM1.45 million) as it has more structural and engineering complexity. The company says that the 488 Pista Spider’s target client is a typical diehard Ferrarista who already owns other Ferrari spiders.

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