From £252,7659

Maranello’s fourth-gen track-special supercar bursts through the 700bhp barrier - but is the 488 Pista better than the McLaren 720S or Porsche 911 GT3?

The track-ready ‘special series’ V8 supercar, delivered as the sun sets on another mid-engined Modenese model generation, has become a go-to piece of product strategy for Ferrari.

Starting with the 360 Challenge Stradale in 2003 and taking in the subject of this week’s road test – the 488 Pista – we’ve now seen a line of four consecutive examples of the breed. However, none of the 488 Pista’s predecessors – the 360 CS, 430 Scuderia and 458 Speciale, and before those the 348 GT Competizione of 1993 – represented such a titanic leap in performance as this.

Rear diffuser is slightly larger than a 488 GTB’s, but most of the extra rear downforce comes from the enlarged rear wing. It’s a contributing part of an aero makeover that adds purpose without too much visual aggression.

Thanks to this car, the extra-hardcore ‘junior’ Ferrari has skipped out a whole stratum of the supercar hierarchy: whereas a Speciale made a peak 597bhp, the Pista cranks the power all the way up to 710bhp, neatly vaulting over the 600-and-something-horsepower supercar class without so much as a downward glance.

A twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 50% new components is what has allowed the Pista to advance so quickly; and while you might think such horsepower-grabbing pace unsustainable, it is after all only enough to allow this car to match a McLaren 720S for peak power and torque. Elsewhere, there’s a familiar mix of new downforce-generating carbonfibre bodywork, a stripped-out lightweight cabin treatment and a track-intended suspension overhaul to report on – and we’ll cover them all over the next few pages.

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There are also some eyebrow-raising acceleration figures and circuit lap times to tell you about – the Pista having become the first production car to bring a set of super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres to the MIRA dry handling circuit, as well as everything else. Read on to find out what difference they made.

Price £252,765 Power 710bhp Torque 568lb ft 0-60mph 2.8sec 30-70mph in fourth 3.5sec Fuel economy 17.2mpg CO2 emissions 263g/km 70-0mph 37.7m

The Ferrari 488 line-up at a glance

With the 488 replacement, the F8 Tributo, announced earlier this year and soon to be launched to the press, the regular 488 GTB coupé is no longer on sale. Meanwhile, all examples of the 488 Pista coupé have been sold - leaving just the Pista Spider as the sole member of the line-up still available to new customers at the time of writing.

On a Pista, you get various pieces of carbonfibre bodywork, carbon-ceramic brakes, Cup tyres and a lightweight lithium ion battery as standard, as well as that engine.

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Ferrari 488 Pista 2018-2020 First drives