Fresh off the heels of last night’s Top Gear Episode, Jeremy Clarkson introduced us to the 488 GTB. A car that is now going to replace the 458 Italia as the “entry-level” Ferrari. As Richard Hammond put it, James May’s 458 is now worthless. (I’ll gladly take it off his hands) Thanks to tightening emissions restrictions, Ferrari will introduce its first turbocharged mid-engine V8 since the legendary F40. With a small displacement at 3.9-liters, the 488 GTB’s engine is around 600cc smaller than the 458’s V8 but produces a healthy 560 ft. lbs. of torque and 660 horsepower. Both of which are greater than the 458 output numbers. I am very pleased that Ferrari has decided to keep the V8, amid recent releases of turbocharged 6 cylinders such as the Ford GT, Ferrari’s choice to retain the V8 is a glimmer of hope for those still clinging on to V8s as they quickly disappear from the market.
Ferrari has made an effort to make the engine feel like a naturally aspirated one. By mapping the torque curve so that the vehicle delivers more progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle. Instead of delivering all of its performance all at once and having no low end torque. However, because of the mapping, maximum torque is only available in seventh gear. In traditional Ferrari fashion, power will be fed through the rear wheels through a seven-speed “flappy-paddle” gearbox.
Limiting the torque in lower gears is not as bad as it may seem, the 488 GTB still accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 3.0 seconds. This is the same time as the quickest 458, the Speciale. But after the first 100km/h is when the 488 will obliterate its predecessor. Hitting 200 km/h in just 8.3 seconds, and can achieve a top speed of over 330 km/h.
Despite all of this power, Ferrari claims the 488 GTB’s power and performance will be instantly available and controllable thanks to a complex set of electronic controls and systems. These controls include Side Slip Control 2 (SSC2), which will introduce a blend of traction control, e-differential and active dampers to keep the car flat and stable during aggressive driving. Hopefully this feature can be turned off when you want it off.
The 488 GTB looks meaner and more aggressive than its 458 predecessor. A double front spoiler, active underbody aerodynamics and a blow rear spoiler all help the 488 achieve more than 50 percent more downforce than the 458. At the rear, the 488’s broad tail incorporates a large diffuser that will include active flaps, new LED taillights are also part of the new rear-end package. However, inside the 488, not much has changed. At first glance it is easy to mistake the 488 interior for that of the 458, the infotainment system, the column stalks; the indicators and windscreen wipers, and the headlights are all placed on the steering wheel to give more room to the paddleshifters.
The 488 GTB will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, pricing and more details will be announced later.