Ferrari 488 Buyers Guide

This is for all the Ferrari fans out there, I know you have been looking forward to this one. Let’s talk about the Ferrari 488.

Replacing the notable and cult favorite Ferrari 458, the 488 came out swinging by implementing the first mid-engine Ferrari with a turbocharged V8 engine since the F40. So while we are losing the naturally aspirated aspect of the 458’s engine, we are getting a higher power output due to the twin-turbo configuration.

Ferrari, though, has always been a brand to carry its heritage with it, so it is no shock this successor gets doted upon. The 488 is driven by the 3.9-liter twin turbocharged V8 engine that generates 661 horsepower and 561 pounds of torque, powering this pony to go from 0-60 in just 3.0 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 10.45 seconds, and a top speed of 224 miles per hour.

While I am not a race car driver myself, I can’t deny those numbers are impressive and others obviously agree. The 488 was named the “Supercar of the Year” in 2015 by Top Gear and “Best Driver’s Car” by Motor Trend in 2017.

But let’s dive a little bit deeper into why that is.

Driving Experience

There are many people that say there is nothing like driving a Ferrari. I, however, am not one of those people. Again, I just don’t love Ferraris, I am more of a Lamborghini guy, but even I can’t deny that the Ferrari 488, especially the Pista variant has to be one of the best driving Ferraris of all time.

While the 488 is not true to the naturally aspirated predecessor the 458, the feeling of driving inside of this pony is one that you won’t soon forget. Plus if you get an exhaust or maybe even a tune, the sound of the turbos spooling is something heavenly.

Nevertheless, beautiful sounds aside, the handling of the 488 along with the shift ratio is strong, it makes for a dynamic driving experience that requires the driver to be able to pay attention to the movements of the car on the road, but also not fear giving it a little extra gas. Think of it like this: The new Acura NSX, too safe it almost isn’t fun. The Dodge Viper GTS, too scary it almost isn’t fun. The 488 lays right in the middle ground. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, but also don’t be afraid to open her up (in a safe to do so area) and let the Italian stallion roar to life.

But again, I personally am not huge into the driving experience of the Ferrari’s as I feel they need exhaust, tune, to be able to deliver the same excitement that Lamborghini does stock. This could be just a “me” problem, as many people say that simply being behind the wheel of a Ferrari whether it is the 488 or a 355 is unlike anything else because the aura and history in the crest at your fingertips proves more thrilling than a comparable car from Lamborghini.

Ferrari 488 Common Problems

Ferrari is known to make overall reliable cars, given the owners of said cars treat them correctly and keep up with all maintenance. However, the one glaring flaw that seems to be present in all modern-day Ferraris is electronic issues. Codes popping up, faults appearing, etc. The best thing to do is while the lights can be annoying, ensure you have a scanner readily available to see just what that check engine light is all about.

But like any car on the market, there are issues that have to be addressed from the higher-ups, and the Ferrari 488 has a number of recalls. So be sure that when you are looking at the Ferrari 488 of your dreams, ensure that any recall work has been done by the correct professionals with documentation to prove it.

If you would like to know what recalls need to be addressed, here is a list to assist:

Ferrari 488 Cost of Ownership/Maintenance

Ferrari’s typically are not as worrisome as some cars that are out of warranty like McLarens. The 488’s come with a 3yr/unlimited mile basic and powertrain warranty straight from the factory. Now while some 488’s may still be covered (written in 2021), a good amount are falling out or have already fallen out of warranty every day, with more dropping off in 2022.

The best thing in this instance is to absolutely ensure that the car you are purchasing is going through a VERY thorough PPI with a shop that knows Ferrari well and is versed in the technical and mechanical issues that are infamous with the brand.

Ferrari 488 Year Changes

As the Ferrari 488 was the replacement for the 458 not many adjustments were made to the model during its run in production.

However while the model didn’t change, new variants were introduced during the run:

488 Spider- This is the convertible version of the Ferrari 488, a hardtop and very desirable from a sense of flash and show, also a good option for the taller driver.

488 Pista- The mac daddy, just like the 458 had the Speciale, the 488 has the Pista and it holds up to the hype. The engine was tweaked to output 710 horsepower and 568 pounds of torque, all of this is thanks to the new camshafts, larger intercooler, strengthened pistons, upgrade titanium rods, and exhaust manifolds all from the 488 challenge car. In addition to engine modifications, the Pista also got a major cosmetic upgrade. The most noticeable factor would be the new front end that is more tailored to create a more streamlined effect and generate 20% more downforce than the regular 488 and enhancing the drive overall. The tunnels have also been shifted back to the rear that comes redesigned as well to emit maximum airflow. The car is also 200 pounds lighter with the addition of carbon fiber panels throughout the body, along with interior paneling being coated with carbon fiber and alcantara to not only improve the look of the car but also the functionality.

488 Pista Spider- This is the convertible version of the Ferrari 488, a hardtop and very desirable from a sense of flash and show, also a good option for the taller driver.

Ferrari 488 Options

Ferrari’s are HEAVILY reliant upon options, this we know. And typically all options are a la carte, meaning there aren’t “packages” like McLaren with exterior carbon pack 1, exterior carbon pack 2, etc. But certain options can make a car go up $150k over a base MSRP and retain resale value for years to come. Options that you would love to see in your Ferrari is carbon EVERYTHING or as much carbon inside/outside as possible, race seats, sport exhaust, painted shields, front lift, LED steering wheel, power seats, colored calipers, backup camera, etc. Because while we can all have personal preferences, it is all about universal hotness when it comes to the resale value of Ferrari’s.

Best Ferrari 488 To Buy

Ferrari’s are highly dependent upon their options, so sticker investigation is always going to be a good way to determine just how desirable a 488 could be. Both coupes and spiders are desirable in the current market, but obviously, Pistas are objectively the hotter trim, but the price increase is significant enough to put them in another purchasing tier altogether.

For example, a good (loaded) Ferrari 488 Spider sticker will be right around the $400K mark, but remember, Ferrari’s can be spec’d with high options but still look uglier than sin. So ensure the color combination is overall desirable, and ensure that monograms or personalizations are avoided like initials on the headrests as this crashes resale value.


While I don’t love Ferrari’s, my favorite car of all time is a 488. It’s a Pista… but it is still a 488! Ferrari’s are a hell of an experience to own, they have notability, are beautiful aesthetically, and are incredibly fun to be behind the wheel of. Though the 488 wasn’t hackable until just recently, it is now something we at ECH stand behind and look forward to seeing more of our members get in here in the next year.

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