Marking 40 years since the release of its first mid-engined V8 supercar – the 308 GTB – Ferrari will be introducing the replacement to the much-lauded 458 Italia – the 488 GTB. The new model is the second modern Ferrari to breathe through turbochargers.
This is significant for the company because the last time they made a turbocharged, V8, mid-engined supercar it was the F40 – arguably, the most famous Ferrari of all time – so the new car has quite a lot to live up to.
Powered by a 3.9-litre V8 derived from the motor nestled in the California T, the brand claims the engine offers class-leading power, torque and response times. 661hp propels the Ferrari to 62mph from rest in 3 seconds flat and, more impressively, goes on to hit 124mph in just 8.3 seconds. Its top speed is in excess of 200mph.
Like the California T, the seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox has been programmed to limit torque in the lower gears to reflect the crescendo effect of an accelerating naturally-aspirated engine. This means the full 561lb ft of torque doesn’t become available until you get into higher gears.
When Ferrari sent the 488 GTB around its Fiorano test track it recorded a lap time of 1.23:00 – half-a-second faster than the 458 Speciale and three seconds behind the LaFerrari hypercar. This was achieved through the prodigious increase in power but, in addition, through the company’s expertise in aerodynamics.
A new front spoiler, larger side intakes and active rear aerodynamic elements both improve downforce at speed and reduce drag compared to the 458. Underneath is cladding to smooth the air flowing under the car supported by vortex generators – devices to direct the air to the parts of the aero kit where it’s needed.
The 488 GTB features an updated version of the Side Slip Control system first used in the 458 Speciale. This system uses banks of accelerometers and sensors to determine the speed, yaw (angle), and conditions the car is driving in and will intelligently allow certain amounts of oversteer without letting the driver spin out.
Inside, the 488 has been subtly redesigned including a new graphics package for the instrument cluster, a new key that reflects the engine layout and slightly redesigned centre console. The ambience, as with the 458, is totally driver-focussed.
The Ferrari 488 GTB will make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and cars could arrive with customers as soon as the end of this year. There’s no pricing information yet but we’d be surprised if it was below the 458 Speciale’s £208,000 price tag. Check out our reviews of the rivals it need to beat – the Lamborghini Huracán and the McLaren 650S.