by Deiondre van der Merwe
It's like a 488 GTB, but much better. Ferrari took the regular 488 and added some inspiration from its work in the FIA World Endurance Championship. It's a supercar that manages to be aggressive and graceful simultaneously and comes with all of the power one would expect from any car that bears the revered stallion on its nose. A true track annihilator, the Italian supercar hurls its occupants from 0-60 mph in under three seconds and costs as much as a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side - but every single dollar is worth it. It goes up against the brand new McLaren 765LT and the esteemed Lamborghini Huracan Performante.
The 488 Pista takes some cues from the likes of the 430 Scuderia and the 458 Speciale, so it comes as no surprise that it's excellent. The Pista is built off of the 488 GTB and adds some extra bits that enable it to be one of Ferrari's most powerful supercars on the market.
3.9-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
7-Speed Dual Clutch
A true example of fine Italian craftsmanship, the 488 Pista blends track focus with grandeur. An example of the former would be the liberal use of carbon fiber throughout the entire design, and the latter would be the slim LED headlights and sultry lines that run along the body. The Pista also exclusively gets a black and white racing stripe down the middle. On the sides, large air vents push air into the intercoolers and the intakes are housed near the rear spoiler. Classic LED circular taillights piece the rear together along with a sharp rear diffuser that hosts two exhaust outlets. The art piece rests on 20-inch wheels, with carbon fiber options available at a price.
Compared to the 488 GTB, the Pista is lower and wider to further emphasize its intentions. From its nose to its rear end, it measures 181.3 inches and has a 104.3-inch wheelbase. With a width of 77.8 inches, it's wider than the GTB's 76.9 inches. The Pista is also nearly half an inch lower than the GTB at 47.5 inches. It has a curb weight of 3,053 pounds, which is considerably lighter than the 488 GTB's 3,252 lbs.
For the 488 Pista, Ferrari makes three color ranges available that comprise a total of 15 exterior hues. The first is the solid range, it includes Rosso Corsa, Rosso Scuderia and Rosso Mugello which are all varying shades of red. The other three that wrap up the range are the Giallo Modena, Bianco Avus and Nero. For the metallic range, four monochromatic shades include the Nero Daytona, Grigio Silverstone, Grigio Titanio Metall and the Argento Nurburgring. The last historical range contains our favorite exterior hue aside from the classic red, and that's the Rosso Fiorano that bathes the 488 in a deep shade of Merlot. The other four colors in this range include Grigio Ferro, Blu Tour de France, Azzuro California and Grigio Scuro. The two choices of racing livery include Blu America and Argento Nurburgring, adding striping to the exterior in various colors.
We aren't talking about your average supercar when it comes to the 488 Pista. Simply put, it's the feather in Ferrari's cap. Launching from 0-62 mph in just 2.85 seconds is not an achievement that many can lay claim to. The 488 Pista can, and the run is on par with the Lamborghini Huracan Performante's 2.9-second achievement. Ferrari's track hero is marginally slower than the new McLaren 765LT's 2.7-second run. At full tilt, the 488 Pista will reach a top speed of over 211 mph according to Ferrari. The staggering acceleration is attributable to the twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 and an expertly engineered launch control system that makes it hard to believe that you're piloting a rear-wheel-drive supercar.
Imagine holding onto the Engine of the Year award for four consecutive years among the greats from McLaren and Porsche. The dry-sump 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes itself at home in the middle of the 488 Pista has done just that. When we put the engine next to that of the 488 GTB, around 50 percent of the parts are brand new. Among the 50 percent is a lighter crankshaft and flywheel, and more aggressive cams that work with shorter intake runners. An Inconel exhaust cuts down on backpressure and weighs around 20 pounds less in comparison to the 488 GTB's setup. The result of the improved engineering is a V8 that produces 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque, beating the Huracan Performante's 631 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque but falls slightly behind the McLaren 765LT's 755 horses and 590 lb-ft. A seven-speed dual-clutch F1 transmission navigates gears intuitively and precisely. First and second gear pass by so fast that they're easy to miss if you aren't paying close attention, but the good news is that the 488 holds onto power long after the first redline shifts.
Ferrari didn't just add some carbon fiber bits and add the word "Pista" to the 488 so it would sound cool. The Pista was 1.5 seconds faster around the Fiorano test track in comparison to the 488 GTB, and while that doesn't sound like a lot, it's a lifetime on the track. A track champion, the 488 Pista resorts to adaptive magnetorheological dampers that can switch from a more forgiving and pliant attitude to sporty and aggressive instantly. It's one of the few supercars in this segment that doesn't turn your organs into soup on the daily commute. When you're making some fun choices with the manettino drive-mode selector, the ESC Off mode will deactivate traction control and stability and keep the dampers stiff and ready to attack. Sport and Race offer similar control, but will allow the option to change between CT Off as well, which is just traction control. Steering is beautifully direct and responsive without sacrificing the satisfying weight, and road feel is ample. The Italian carves out the corners the way it was meant to, and extra tech bits like Side Slip Angle Control and Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer provide controlled drifts instead of fighting against the slide.
Hardly surprising, the 488 Pista is no stranger to the motoring version of an AA meeting. With EPA estimates of 15/20/17 mpg, the Ferrari is at least a bit kinder to the environment than the Huracan's 13/18/15 mpg estimates. When the 22.7-gallon fuel tank is at full capacity, the 488 Pista will allow for around 386 miles of total range.
The cabin of the 488 Pista is swathed in leather, suede and carbon fiber. It's relatively spartan when modern conveniences are considered, but it's still deluxe. Ferrari has made it clear that the Pista is meant purely for the track and not for everyday comfort with this 488 in particular, but we find that the 488 Pista can be lived with as a daily companion if you're the right kind of performance enthusiast. Still, enough features are present for the comfort of occupants and the cabin is surprisingly more spacious than the average two-door supercar.
As we've said, the cabin of the 488 Pista is surprisingly spacious for a two-door supercar and six-footers are highly unlikely to find discomfort from the inside. Standard carbon racing seats are lightweight and well-bolstered to embrace occupants through the tightest of corners. Daytona carbon racing seats are optionally available, but the change they offer is mostly related to unique upholstery and stitching. You can also opt for four-point harnesses if you're genuinely buying the Pista as a track car. Ingress and egress are as easy as one could expect from a low-slung supercar of this nature, but it's a small price to pay to get inside the 488 Pista.
For those privileged enough to make it this far, Ferrari offers nine shades of Alcantara for its prized 488 Pista. Two shades of red include the Rosso FX and Bordeaux, while blue shades include Blu Medio and Blu Scuro. If you're one for brown and tan hues, Chocolato, Iroko and Cuoio are available from darkest to lightest. Not one for eccentric colors? Two dark and elegant shades include Charcoal and Nero. In peasant English, that's grey and black Alacantara. Once you've tackled the shade of your Alcantara, you can decide what color you'd like your leather details to be. Four are available, with Nero being the standard choice. The other three include Pelle Gialla, Rosso Ferrari and Blu Sterling, or yellow, red and blue. If that's not individual enough for you, you can opt for your four-point safety harnesses in black, red or blue.
As usual for track-focused supercars, the 488 Pista laughs in the face of those that want to use it to carry anything other than two occupants. Still, it offers a frunk with six cubic feet which isn't abysmal and can prove to be quite handy for a gym bag or something of a similar size. The inside only gets less accommodating in terms of cargo, but the net behind the two seats can handle a few small items and small door nets can accommodate a smartphone or two. The glovebox is a myth for the 488 Pista, and some shallow areas in the center console can also accommodate a phone or the keys to your mansion in Calabasas.
We can yammer on for ages about the 488 Pista when we're considering performance, handling dynamics or even beauty. But the crickets start to chirp when we need to talk about modern convenience. Still, keyless entry and push-button start are standard features along with dual-zone climate control and cruise control. For the exterior, heated mirrors and rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard. As for safety, the standard list includes a rearview camera and rear park sensors. Where the features list starts to become impressive is when we look at performance. Ferrari focused on the likes of launch control and an electronic limited-slip differential, keeping the 488 Pista as pure as can be.
If you're not going to fork out some extra cash, you'll get absolutely nothing in the name of modern technology. You can enjoy smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay as well as Bluetooth streaming, an AUX input and a navigation system. Android Auto is sadly not available, even for a premium price. A display in the instrument cluster serves as the infotainment, with no traditional screen in the middle available.
The 488 Pista suffered a recall in 2019 for the possibility of a fuel valve separator cracking and leaking. In 2018, it was recalled for the airbag ECU malfunctioning. Ferrari offers a three-year, unlimited-mile basic, powertrain and corrosion warranty. A seven-year maintenance plan is also standard and has no mileage limit, and roadside assistance is standard for three years.
The IIHS and NHTSA wouldn't dare to crash the 488 Pista in favor of a score out of five stars, which is common for six-figure supercars.
This Ferrari is devoid of most modern safety technology and relies instead on its advanced systems and design to protect its occupants. A set of front-impact and side-impact airbags are standard in case you get overzealous on the twisties, and the stability and traction control effectively reduces the margin for error. A rearview camera and rear park sensors are as good as it gets.
The 488 Pista is a marvel of engineering and easily steals the heart of most that get the privilege of sitting in the driver's seat. The 3.9-liter twin-turbo produces outputs of 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque, surpassing the power outputs of a few rivals. It manages a run from 0-60 mph in under three seconds, and it's not just good in a straight line. The raw power from the V8 is channeled superbly to the rear wheels and the 488 Pista handles a twisty road like it was born for the sole purpose of devouring sharp angles. It strikes an optimal balance between driver-assist and driver-car connection. Traction and stability control systems make even amateur performance enthusiasts look good, but they don't encroach enough to sacrifice one's connection with the car and the road. That being said, it has its downfalls, even if they're small. It's rather expensive and isn't the best-sounding supercar, and it also sacrifices a lot of modern convenience. Still, the brutal power and impeccable road manners are enough for us to tell anyone who's able to write a check for $330,000 to go for it.
With a starting price of $330,000, the 488 Pista isn't a supercar accessible to the masses. It's also worth noting that cars like this usually increase in value over time, so the 488 Pista could very well be an investment. That being said, the Pista isn't limited in terms of production numbers, so it may not fetch the type of value that the likes of a 458 Speciale would, but we doubt that there'll be thousands on the road.
The Ferrari 488 Pista has just one model that allows for vast customization for the individual. For the exterior, LED headlights and taillights are standard and large air vents on the side push air into the intercoolers. Aerodynamics are excellent and 20-inch wheels are standard. A twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 engine produces 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque and comes coupled with a seven-speed dual-clutch F1 transmission. The V8 drives power to the rear wheels only.
In terms of standard features, the 488 Pista comes with keyless entry and push-button start as well as dual-zone climate control and cruise control. Though it's relatively bare-bones at base-level, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth streaming, an AUX input and a navigation system are offered, but Android Auto is not available. Heated mirrors and rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard. For safety, a rearview camera and rear park sensors. In terms of standard features, Ferrari really focused on the likes of launch control and an electronic limited-slip differential. For safety, a rearview camera and rear park sensors are standard.
As usual, a plethora of expensive add-ons is available for the 488 Pista. Wheel colors and the colors of the brakes can be changed and carbon exterior components can be added. The color of the exhaust pipes can also be changed from the standard chrome to black or titanium. A host of different colors can be selected for the seats and the rev counter can be had in your choice of five colors. You can also opt for the matt carbon fiber interior package that adds carbon bits to the dash and steering wheel. Daytona racing carbon seats can also be opted for, and if you really want it all, carbon floor plates with mats can be had for a price.
What do you put on a car that has everything you want from it already? Well, we'd opt for the Rosso Fiorano exterior paint and Argento Nurburgring livery. We'd also go for the forged gold wheels, and the exterior carbon fiber components. For the interior, we'd opt for the Bordeaux Alcantara upholstery and the red rev counter. We'd stick to the standard seats as they do a perfect job of embracing occupants.
At the core, these two Italian supercars are vastly different. The only similarity they share would be their seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and the goal to go as fast as possible without losing control. Both do this well, but it comes down to their different engines and drivetrains for the ultimate decision. The naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine that's hosted by the Huracan Performante produces 630 horses, falling behind the 488 Pista's 710 hp. The Ferrari owes its extra power to its pair of turbochargers and engineers determined to squeeze every last bit of power out of the V8. Despite the difference in power outputs, both manage a run from 0-62 mph in under three seconds. The Stallion-bearing supercar favors rear-wheel-drive while its bull-bearing counterpart relies on an all-wheel-drive system. With all things considered, the Huracan is the better buy, thanks to its melodious singing and more affordable price tag.
While the GT2 RS is slightly less powerful than the 488 Pista with a power output of 690 horses, it's hardly noticeable from behind the wheel. In terms of bodies, the Porsche doesn't boast the same custom carbon fiber layout as the 488 Pista, and it relies on a more dated suspension setup, but this is Porsche we're talking about. The German automaker is notorious for making class-leading cars with older concepts. Unsurprisingly, the Porsche is much heavier than the 488, but both manage to get to 60 mph from a standstill in around 2.8 seconds. The GTR RS is hardly as showy as the Ferrari, and much of the German supercar's merits lie behind the scenes. The better supercar would be the Ferrari, here but it's a close one.