The wait is over. After all the teasers and the ado, Ferrari finally blows the top on its 458 replacement, slaps on a couple of turbo-chargers and calls it the 488 GTB. Set for a global reveal at this year’s Geneva motor show, the Ferrari 488 GTB is only the second turbocharged Prancing Horse in recent times, following last year’s revised California T.
What’s in a name?
The 488 part of the new nomenclature refers to the individual cylinder capacity of the new 3902cc twin-turbo V8, while GTB stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta – Italian for a grand tourer with a coupe body-style. The use of these three letters in this instance also pays homage to the 308 GTB – Ferrari’s first mid-rear-engined V8, which just happens to be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
The 488 continues with the 458’s classic, yet familiar body architecture, and though a significant update over its predecessor, the visual alterations have been implemented in the manner of the change from 308 to 328 and 360 to 430 – so it’s not all-new per se.
The 458’s lithe sides have been majorly re-sculpted, with the addition of a deep, two-step air intake behind the new doors that feed fresh air to the new turbos. The large air intake scallop is a nod to the original 308 GTB and is divided into two sections by a splitter.
Up front, gone are extra slits and gashes around the head lamps (which now get dark “eye-brows”), with the 488 adopting a more cleaner looking fascia. The new front bumper and air dam look more sternly styled though, with the latter losing the two small, down-force generating aeroelastic winglets. However, its 1.67 drag co-efficiency figure is a new record for a production Ferrari, and is the fruit of 50 per cent more down-force than the previous model and reduced drag. The wide front spoiler features a double profile to improve the thermal efficiency of the radiators positioned at the sides. At the centre two pylons are combined with a deflector which channels air towards the flat underbody.
The biggest change to the posterior has to be the newly positioned dual exhausts, which will make enthusiasts round the world lament the loss of the exhaust trio from the 458 that nodded to the iconic F40. The broad, low tail is also dominated by a “blown” spoiler which generates down-force without increasing drag. This works in conjunction with an aggressive ramp angle for the diffuser which features active flaps. The greater height required for the diffuser was achieved by re-positioning the exhaust tailpipes, while the evolutionary circular LED tail lights have also been redesigned.
The insides are familiar, but now littered with the new satellite control clusters, angled air vents and a new instrument panel. There are plenty of classic Ferrari styling elements too, such as the clear separation between the dashboard and tunnel, the multifunctional steering wheel, the control switch bridge and wraparound seats. The graphics and interface of the infotainment screen have also been completely redesigned while the design of the car’s new key takes its inspiration from the car’s cylinder banks and allows keyless starts.
Bring on the forced induction
The Ferrari 488 GTB’s new 3902 cc V8 turbo charged motor wrings out 661 bhp (99 bhp more than the 458) at 8,000 rpm along with 760 Nm of maximum torque in seventh gear and a response time to the accelerator of just 0.8 seconds at 2,000 rpm. These figures endow the Ferrari 488 GTB, all of 1370 Kgs, to accelerate from 0-200 km/h in an astonishing 8.3 seconds and 0-100 km/h in a scant 3 seconds, while lapping the Fiorano track in just 1’23”, a shade quicker than the Speciale. (Compare this to Enzo – 1’24.9” and LaFerrari – 1’20”.)
The gearbox features Variable Torque Management which reins the torque smoothly and powerfully right across the rev range, while specific gear ratios deliver progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle. Ferrari also rants wonders about the 488 GTB’s sound, which, they believe is a new soundtrack that is full, clear and totally distinctive, as expected from any Prancing Horse engine.
For the 488, the evolved version of Ferrari’s side slip angle control system (Side Slip Control 2 – SSC2) is more precise and less invasive, providing greater longitudinal acceleration out of corners. Aside from integrating with the car’s F1-Trac and E-Diff, the SSC2 now also controls the active dampers which renders the car’s dynamic behaviour during complex manoeuvres even flatter and more stable.