You have to feel a little sorry for Ferrari. On the day it launches a 660+ bhp twin-turbocharged supercar, the motoring world goes crazy for a five-door hatchback with half the power instead. Oh, and a new yellow Porsche.
Anyway, now the Cayman GT4 and Focus RS frenzy has subsided, let us indulge Ferrari with their first mid-engined turbo road car since the F40 went out of production, some 23 years ago. Here to replace the wondrous 458 Italia – a car that, would you believe, has been around since 2009 – the 488 GTB adds extra power and enhanced aerodynamics to the mixture.
Using a modified version of the F154 90° 3.9 litre V8 engine found in the California T, the 488 GTB packs a staggering 661 bhp and 560 lb-ft of torque. Yes, that’s a mid-engined Ferrari supercar with the levels of torque usually found in an AMG Mercedes. Like the California T, torque is limited in the lower gears, meaning that peak figure is actually produced in top gear of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. After the high-revving nature of the 458 Italia, this 488 GTB is clearly going to be a very different animal.
Performance is, however, even more devastating that the 458. 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds, 0-124 mph in 8.3 seconds (!) and a top speed in excess of 205 mph are big numbers. Helping achieve these figures is the use of greater active aerodynamics – supposedly developed from the XX programme – which includes an active diffuser and a blown rear spoiler. The sculpted underbody includes vortex generators, whilst the double front spoiler is designed to channel air towards the underneath of the car. Large side intakes are there to cool the turbo engine, but also providing a knowing nod to the original 308 GTB.
Matching the enhanced engine and exterior, is a cockpit that has been designed to be even more driver focused. Upgraded controls on the dashboard are apparent, whilst the infotainment display features new graphics. Most importantly – perhaps – is the new key, with a design based on a V8 engine. Fact.The move to turbocharged engines throughout the range was an obvious progression for Ferrari. In the face of ever tightening legislation on emissions (the new turbo V8 produces only 260 g/km of C02) but the demands for more power, forced induction was inevitable. Providing Maranello can maintain the same Ferrari character, this isn’t necessarily something to be afraid of.
In a phrase that’s going to become common in the next few weeks, more information on the 488 GTB will be available after its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Perhaps we’ll even bring you photos of that special key…