Twelve-cylinder engines, especially ones from Maranello, will always make our hair stand on end, but there’s something just so right about Ferrari’s mid-engine V-8 models. So right, in fact, that we get excited whenever the manufacturer introduces a new one even if it’s not an entirely new car. This brings us to the 488 Pista (“Track” in Italian). The latest in a line of amped-up variants including predecessors such as the 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia, and 458 Speciale, the Pista could’ve been named Pizza and we wouldn’t care. Its 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox features more than 50 percent new parts, including titanium connecting rods and Inconel exhaust manifolds.
The Pista is roughly 199 pounds lighter than the 488 GTB; 40 pounds of that comes from powertrain materials improvements. The V-8 produces 711 hp and 568 lb-ft versus the GTB’s 661 hp and 561 lb-ft. Along with the car’s 3,053-pound curb weight, those numbers should be good for a 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph, Ferrari says. Even more delicious, the engine revs quicker than ever thanks to a 17 percent reduction in inertia.
Meanwhile, the suspension is 10 percent stiffer but far from brutal, and engineers revised the traction- and stability-control tuning. The Pista gets racing stripes, and aerodynamic upgrades—a 20 percent increase in downforce—come from a new hood and front bodywork, a redesigned drag-reducing underbody, front and rear diffusers, and a large carbon-fiber rear spoiler. Engine air intakes move from the flanks, as seen on the GTB, to the rear spoiler, just like Ferrari does with the 488 Challenge race car. The overall package delivers the most capable V-8-powered mid-engine Ferrari of all time and arguably sets a new benchmark for fun-to-drive performance cars in this category without overwhelming anyone who isn’t a professional driver.
On sale: September
Base price: $345,300