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2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider Preview & Buyer's Guide

The 2019 488 Pista Spider features Ferrari's most powerful V8 ever, and now comes in convertible form.

Pista translates to track in English, and Ferrari's upgraded version of the 488 GTB certainly brings plenty of track-specific upgrades. But this week, the Italian manufacturer revealed the 488 Pista Spider, a drop-top iteration of the twin-turbo V8 Pista coupe which seems like an admission that plenty of Ferrari buyers still want to enjoy time driving well below their supercar's 211-mph top speed.

Exterior Styling

Whether Ferrari dubs their cars Aperta or Spider when they're equipped with a convertible top, the simple truth is that many potential buyers anxiously await the release of open-tops from the Italian manufacturer. Adding a retracting roof to the 488 Pista only enhances the attractiveness of the track-focused coupe, and for 2019, Ferrari has thrown in a gaggle of lightweight options to counteract the added weight that a convertible top necessitates.

The rest of the 488 Pista Spider stays fairly similar to its coupe brethren, the base 488 GTB and the Pista. Tight-edged vents at the rear haunches are probably the most dynamic design detail that average drivers will spot instantly, but a host of other functional aero enhancements also help to give the 488 lineup its aggressive, futuristic style.

via ferrari.com

Throw in some racing stripes, a set of diamond-finish 20-inch wheels hearkening back to Ferrari's early berlinetta style, and massive exhaust out back, and the result is a car that looks sleek yet simultaneously raw and ready for canyon carving, track days, or cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway with the lop laid back.

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Drivetrain & Mechanicals

via ferrari.com

The heart and soul of the 488 Pista Spider is a mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged V8 cranking out a walloping 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. Those figures make the Pista Spider and its identically specced coupe siblings the most powerful V8-motivated Ferrari of all time, and added options like one-piece carbon-fiber wheels can actually reduce the convertible's overall weight by just over 60 pounds compared to the hard-top. The Pista duo, meanwhile, tip the scales at around 175 pounds less than the standard GTB thanks largely to approximately half of the engine being comprised of unique parts.

The 3.9-liter V8 utilizes a lighter crankshaft and flywheel, while titanium connecting rods shave weight while also reducing inertia by a claimed 17 percent. Upgraded cams, shorter intake runners, and an Iconel manifold round out the Pista's engine, which sends power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automated transmission with manual shifting mode.

All 710 horsepower are available from 6,750 RPM all the way up to the 8,000 RPM redline, while peak torque hits down low at only 3,000 RPM. A launch control mode allows drivers to mash the brakes and throttle until the Pista's engine can build up to peak torque, after which 60 miles an hour comes in under 2.85 seconds on the way to a top speed of 211 mph.

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Interior & Tech

via ferrari.com

Ferrari's recent products have upped the ante on driver's aids and technology to go along with the increased use of turbochargers, dual-clutch transmissions, and even hybrid drivetrains a la the borderline-obscene LaFerrari. The Pista and Pista Spider share a digital display cluster, plenty of carbon fiber and Alcantara trim, and even optional aluminum footplates. The driver's door handle, meanwhile, remains fully old-school: a simple strap.

The Pista in the name suggests that Ferrari hopes owners will spend plenty of time at the track, and alongside magnetorheological dampers, they've included a drive-mode selection system called Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, an advanced stability control module that utilizes individual brakes to keep the Pista Spider right on the limits of traction and performance. Drivers can also select to turn all ESC to fully off, if the urge to leave tire marks simply proves irresistible.

RELATED: LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR SVJ'S V12 ENGINE OFFERS INSANE POWER

Pricing & Buying

via ferrari.com

Ferrari's Pebble Beach world premier of the 488 Pista Spider did not include a clear delineation of pricing, nor are deliveries scheduled as of yet. For context, a 2019 Pista coupe starts at $350,050, or just about $100,000 more than a base 488GTB. Buyers shouldn't hold their breath for a cheaper convertible, especially with all the weight-saving options boxes, but it seems likely that anyone actually considering making a Pista purchase should be well-versed in Ferrari's ordering process.

Competition

With the Pista Spider's dedicated track details, competition comes in the form of similarly enhanced, handling-focused supercars like the McLaren 720S, which starts at just under $300,000. A bit higher up, the Lamborghini Aventador starts just under $400,000 - though that's not the base price of the Nürburgring Nordschleife-dominating SVJ package. Ferrari would probably claim that their 488 Pista Spider offers the best value for a car with its driving dynamics, power stats, and convertible and it would certainly seem that a direct competitor is hard to pin down. Porsche's 911 Turbo Cabriolet might fit into the mix, though its rear-engined setup often proves divisive in trackside conversations.

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