This is the Ferrari 488 GTB, the hotly anticipated evolution of the 458 Italia that ushers turbocharging into a modern-day mid-engined V8 Ferrari supercar for the first time.
The new car follows the California T in adopting turbocharging on a mainstream Ferrari, but the firm says the engine of the 488 GTB is completely new when compared with its V8 stablemate, not just in components but also in feel and character. It will go into production in September after production of the 458 Italia range ends in the summer.
The 488 GTB’s engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre unit (3902cc); the California T’s is a 3855cc unit. The new engine produces 660bhp at 8000rpm and 560lb ft at 3000rpm. Both outputs are significant increases over the normally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 used in the 458 Italia and 458 Speciale. This produces 562bhp at 9000rpm in the former and 597bhp at 9000rpm in the latter; the torque figure of 398lb ft at 6000rpm in the former is the same in both cars.
The outputs of the 488 GTB also eclipse that of its likely biggest rival, the McLaren 650S. The Woking car produces 641bhp at 7250rpm and 500lb ft at 6000rpm, although an imminent new McLaren supercar called the 675LT has a confirmed power output of 666bhp and will make its debut alongside the 488 GTB at the Geneva motor show in March.
The torque figure of the 488 GTB is such that it also exceeds the 509lb ft at 6000rpm of the normally aspirated V12 used in the range-topping Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.
The mighty new engine in the 488 GTB drives the rear wheels through a revised seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox derived from the 458. It features a new ‘Variable Torque Management’ system, which Ferrari says “unleashes the engine’s massive torque smoothly and powerfully right across the rev range”. The gear ratios are also tuned to “deliver incredibly progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle”.
The 488 GTB can crack 0-62mph in just 3.0sec, 0-124mph in 8.4sec and reach a top speed of 205mph. Its 0-62mph time matches the McLaren 650S’s, but the Ferrari’s 0-124mph time is 0.1sec quicker than the McLaren’s and the top speed is 1mph greater.
The engine also accounts for the ‘488’ element of the car’s name, because each of the engine’s eight cylinders is 488cc in capacity when rounded up. The GTB suffix, standing for Gran Turismo Berlinetta, is a hallmark of previous mid-engined V8 Ferraris such as the 308 GTB.
Ferrari says its engineers have “dedicated great attention to perfecting the 488 GTB’s sound, creating a new soundtrack that is full, clear and totally distinctive”.
Not only is the new turbo engine more potent than the 4.5-litre V8 from the 458 Italia, but it is also more economical. Combined fuel economy is rated at 24.8mpg, compared with 21.2mpg in the 458 Italia, and CO2 emissions are 260g/km, a 47g/km improvement. Ferrari’s HELE stop-start system features on the 488 GTB.
Developments on the dynamic side include a second generation of the Side Slip Angle Control system called SSC2, which allows the driver to oversteer without intruding unless it detects a loss of control. The SSC2 now controls the active dampers in addition to the F1-Trac traction control system and E-Diff electronic differential. Ferrari says the result is “more precise and less invasive, providing greater longitudinal acceleration out of corners” and flatter, more stable behaviour during “complex manoeuvres”.
Learnings from the Ferrari XX programme have also been incorporated into the 488 GTB, something that Ferrari says allows all drivers to make the most of its electronic and vehicle control systems, not just professionals. It also claims the 488 GTB is “the most responsive production model there is”, and has responses comparable to a track car.
The 488 GTB has lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1min 23sec, which is two seconds faster than the 458 Italia and half a second quicker than the 458 Speciale.
The dimensions of the 488 GTB closely match the 458 Italia from which it has evolved, measuring 4568mm in length, 1952mm in width and 1213mm in height. Its dry weight is 1370kg when equipped with lightweight options – 40kg more than the McLaren 650S.
The new look, styled at the Ferrari Styling Centre, features several new aerodynamic features that improve downforce and also reduce drag. Most notable is the addition of active aerodynamics at the rear through a ‘blown’ rear spoiler, where air is channelled from the base of the glass engine cover under the spoiler. This contributes to the 50% increase in downforce over the 458 Italia.
Also new is a double front spoiler, an aerodynamic underbody, a large air intake at the front that references the 308 GTB, a diffuser with active flaps, new positioning for the exhaust flaps and new-look lights.
The interior has been redesigned to be made more usable, including new switchgear, air vents and instrument panel. The multi-function steering wheel remains, while the infotainment system gets a new interface and graphics.
Pricing has not yet been revealed ahead of Geneva, but expect an increase over the £178,851 of the 458 Italia.