Ferrari 488 GTB: Talking ’Bout A Revolution
by Martin Green
Being Ferrari means that you have a significant challenge. Where each new generation of Porsche’s 911 is an evolution, each Ferrari has to be a revolution: superior to its predecessor in often radical ways.
Not every revolution empowers the right forces, but when it does, you get something like the 488 GTB.
That revolution is mainly thanks to the 488 GTB’s turbocharged V8, which takes over from the now-retired naturally aspirated engine of its predecessor. Not only does it now have a turbo, it’s also smaller, down from 4.5 liters to 3.9 liters.
You can stop whining about this right away: it’s a Ferrari turbocharged engine and it wouldn’t even be used in the 488 GTB if Ferrari thought it sub-par. In fact, the power unit of the 488 GTB combines a rev-hungry nature with an almost undetectable turbo lag thanks to its twin-scroll turbos, delivering an incredible 661 horsepower and a whopping 561 lb ft of torque available at 3,000 rpm.
The fact that Ferrari also won the Performance Engine award, New Engine award, 3.0-liter to 4.0-liter category, and overall main prize at this year’s Engine Expo in Stuttgart truly indicates that it should be ‘nuff said!
Although I will admit to still missing being able to manually change gears through what was once a signature Ferrari hallmark: the polished metal gated shifter. I need to get over this because it makes absolutely no sense to limit the potential of an incredible car like the 488 GTB by manual shifting, which is slower.
Technology has driven sports cars like the 488 GTB into what was once supercar territory. Its performance is so phenomenal that not many people have the speed and skill set to handle it in its most natural form. Ferrari controls this all beautifully with a few safeguard systems, which feel quite natural and can be switched off for seasoned drivers.
Yet even experienced drivers are likely to appreciate the incredibly fast shifting dual clutch gearbox because it can do what they cannot by pretty much ensuring that you can have the car at battle strength in a blink of an eye: from 0-62 mph in just three seconds flat.
The styling of Ferrari, especially in this model range, is actually evolving, yet more aggressively then the previously mentioned 911. With the 360, Ferrari entered the new millennium.
This car was quite a break from the F355 it replaced, which was a very rounded design (in my opinion too rounded). The 430 catapulted the design into something slightly more aggressive, but we had to wait until the 458 to see how looks and inner potential match up.
The 488 is pleasantly aggressive, looking more than ever like an abstract sculpture. It looks fast when it’s parked, and it is fast on the road. This is due to the fact that most of the shapes of the 488 GTB are not just for good looks, but actually serve a purpose. The shape has increased the downforce by 50 percent with less of an aerodynamic drag. Compared to the 458, the 488 GTB is 4 centimeters/1.6 inches longer, 1.5 centimeters/0.6 inches wider, and has the same height.
Important in every car, and even more so in a performance vehicle, is the interior. Here Ferrari unfortunately has a record to set straight. With the 458, the Maranello-based brand tried to make all the instruments more driver-oriented, but the designer seemed to have watched too much Star Wars. The result was a visual, seemingly unorganized mess of control buttons, knobs, and switches – and air vents shaped like Darth Vader.
The interior of the 488 GTB shows an evolution of this: it’s more symmetrical looking, while restyled air vents have made the interior more bearable. But it still looks a bit too forced in design, and this is to me the only aspect where competitors like Lamborghini, McLaren, and Porsche can score an easy win over the 488 GTB.
If you can live with the interior, which does feature fine craftsmanship and outstanding seats, the 488 GTB leaves very little to be desired. Or maybe one thing: a 488 GTB-inspired Hublot.
After taking over from Panerai in 2012, Hublot has created quite a few Ferrari-inspired watches featuring the prancing horse. The 488 GTB is formidable enough to deserve its own Hublot, which would probably also be a clever business move since the V8 sports cars have always been the bestsellers in Ferrari’s lineup.
Ricardo Guadalupe, we are waiting . . .
For more information, please visit http://auto.ferrari.com/en_EN/sports-cars-models/car-range/ferrari-488-gtb/
Engine: direct-injection 3902 cc twin-turbocharged flat-plane-crank V8
Power: 661bhp @ 8.000 rpm and 561 lb ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
Torque: 561 lb ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm, rear-wheel drive
Transmission: 7-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 3.0 seconds
Top speed: 330 km/h
Base price: $275,000