2018 Ferrari 488 Pista First Drive Review

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The New 2018 Ferrari 488 Pista is a thoroughbred that can only be tamed on a racetrack.

“Attack,” commands Ferrari’s chief test driver, Raffaele De Simone. “In this car, you need to attack. It wants you to attack. That’s the only word for the 488 Pista: attack.”

Which is pretty damn easy for him to say. Not just one of Ferrari’s most skilled drivers (a man paid to explore the absolute outer limits of every new Prancing Horse, no less, including the insane LaFerrari), De Simone is also the proud owner of a pair of the fastest oversteer-catching hands in the business.

And with them, he makes man-handling Ferrari’s fastest 488 look like a Pista cake. Me? I’m more than a little worried it’s going to attack me right back.

We’re talking, after all, about the most powerful V8 engine to have ever been stuffed into a Ferrari; an insane and insanely clever twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre unit that produces a staggering 720 horsepower (that’s 537kW) and 770Nm.

It’s enough, Ferrari promises, to clip 100km/h in 2.8 seconds, and then crack on to 200km/h in 7.6 seconds. To put those mind-boggling numbers into some sort of perspective, that’s faster than the really very fast 458 Speciale GTB (3.0sec and 9.1sec) – a car that the Pista is also a full two seconds faster than around Ferrari’s Fiorana test track. So yes, very quick.

You’d need four years at Hogwarts to fully comprehend the dark magic that has gone into squeezing this much performance out of the Pista. But it’s best summarised like this: everything that could be stripped, tweaked, inverted or adjusted to save weight, reduce drag and increase downforce has been.

It’s a game of small increments when played at this level (the 488 GTB they started with wasn’t carrying a whole lot of winter weight to begin with) but added together, the changes make a serious impact. A new thermal management system – responsible for 20 per cent of the power gains – has helped shaved six kilos, while a new exhaust manifold saves another 9.7 kilos.

Likes:
Staggering acceleration.
Superb steering and handling.
Evocative soundtrack.

Dislikes:
It’s all but sold out.
Needs a racetrack to appreciate its talents.
Needs a race driver to show you its talents.

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