Ferrari 488 GTB: Extreme Power – Extreme Driving Thrills

The sad truth is that it is very likely that you, like me, cannot afford to buy the Ferrari 488GTB which is said to have track-level performance and responsiveness – for the road. Some fortunate people will be able to buy it but we can only press our noses against the showroom window and dream. The following is what Ferrari say, btw, I didn’t have a hand in it, alas.

Forty years on from the unveiling of its first ever mid-rear-engined V8 model, the 308 GTB, the Prancing Horse opens a new chapter in its eight-cylinder history. The Ferrari 488 GTB provides track-level performance that can be enjoyed to the full even by non-professional drivers in everyday use. Its response times, nimbleness and on-the-limit driving guarantee a unique sense of exhilaration and unparalleled driving pleasure.

The Ferrari 488 GTB’s new 3902cc V8 turbo is at the top of its class for power output, torque and response times, making it the new benchmark for this kind of architecture. The engine unleashes 670cv at 8,000 rpm along with 760Nm of maximum torque in seventh gear and a response time to the accelerator of just 0.8 seconds at 2,000 rpm. These figures are sufficient to allow the Ferrari 488 GTB to accelerate from 0-124mph (0-200 km/h) in an astonishing 8.3 seconds and, when combined with the radical innovations introduced on all aspects of the car’s performance, lap the Fiorano track in just 1 minute 23 seconds.The gearbox features Variable Torque Management which unleashes the engine’s massive torque smoothly and powerfully right across the rev range, while specific gear ratios deliver incredibly progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle. As is always the case, Ferrari’s engineers have dedicated great attention to perfecting the 488 GTB’s sound, creating a new soundtrack that is full, clear and totally distinctive, as expected from any Prancing Horse engine.

The car’s aerodynamics also made a pivotal contribution to performance: its 1.67 efficiency figure is a new record for a production Ferrari, and is the fruit of 50% more downforce than the previous model and reduced drag. The greatest challenge was achieving these two goals simultaneously. Several innovative elements were specifically developed to do so, not least a double front spoiler, base bleed side intakes and, at the rear, active aerodynamics coupled with a blown spoiler. The aerodynamic underbody, which incorporates vortex generators, is highly sophisticated, too.The Ferrari 488 GTB’s subsystems and electronic controls make its power and performance instantly available and controllable. It is, in fact, the most responsive production model there is, with razor-sharp response times comparable to those of a track car.

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. It handles, in other words.

The 488’s large signature air intake scallop is a nod to the original 308 GTB and is divided into two sections by a splitter. 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 broad, low tail is also dominated by aerodynamic solutions, including an innovative blown spoiler which generates downforce 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 repositioning the exhaust tailpipes. The circular LED tail lights have also been redesigned.In the cabin, the seamless integration of the new satellite control clusters, angled air vents and instrument panel heightens the sense that the cockpit is completely tailored around the driver. Usability was the key word in the design, leading to an extremely sporty ambience that in no way compromises on comfort. 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.

The Ferrari 488 GTB will make its world debut at the International Geneva Motor Show in March, but from today can be drolled over at www.ferrari.com.Geoff Maxted