The Pista’s V8 isn’t the sort of engine to bludgeon you with a huge tide of boost-heavy torque that suddenly explodes through the middle of the rev range. It is unlike most motors of its kind because it revs so freely and sounds so frenetic, but also because it keeps on pulling violently right the way to the 8000rpm redline, so long after so many modern turbos have begun tailing off.

And that high-range work ethic isn’t there by chance. This is an engine whose thrashing pistons are managed and motivated more cleverly than a Pep Guardiola cup final squad. That it effectively saves torque back for the higher gears while also revving so freely makes the car’s outright performance level seem to have almost no limit. That, in turn, also makes the process of pinning the car’s accelerator, and then being brave enough to keep it pinned and hold on shift by shift, a thrill ride that’s very difficult to find an equal for anywhere in motordom.

Richard Lane

Road tester
In terms of power and handling for the public road, the 488 Pista lives on the edge of reason. But it rarely feels nervous and boasts an agility that will be hard to match

Launching from rest to 60mph on its Michelin Cup 2 R tyres in a two-way average of 2.8sec (2.77sec being the car’s quickest one-way run, almost a tenth quicker than Ferrari’s claim), the Pista would outsprint both a McLaren Senna and a 720S to 90mph. It would also leave a Lamborghini Huracán Performante trailing by several car lengths over a standing quarter mile, and then just keep gapping it.

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Ultimately, though, both McLarens would haul the Ferrari back in and overtake it with enough room to run into. (The Senna’s aerodynamics eventually slow it down again above 150mph.) But the Pista needn’t look to absolute supercar class domination to make you appreciate what’s so special about its engine – because, in truth, almost everything about it is special.

The car is so fast at full power, over the higher reaches of the rev range, that it borders on the absurd at times. And yet it’s responsive, tractable, docile, clean-revving, drivable, theatrical and expressive, too. Believe it or not, the car is barely half a second slower from 60mph to 110mph when hauling through top gear than a BMW M2 is over the same increments when pulling flat out in fourth.

You may well wonder if that kind of performance level can ever really be enjoyed on the road in 2019; and you can surmise that, if the answer’s yes, it’s only in very short bursts, which is undoubtedly a frustration at times.

But the Pista’s V8 has such power and drama that it delivers excitement almost every time you flex the pedal. It’s a wonderfully overbearing presence in the car; too forceful, even, at times – but it’s never anything short of epic.

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