Amid ever tightening emissions restrictions, the time has come for Ferrari to replace its 458 Italia and its high-revving naturally aspirated V8 engine. Ferrari’s 488 GTB is the first turbocharged mid-engine V8 since the legendary F40, and follows the California T down the road of turbocharging for better economy.
With its 3.9-liter displacement, the 488 GTB’s engine is 600cc smaller than the 458’s V8, but produces 760 Nm of torque and 492 kW (660 hp) of power – both of which comfortably usurp the 458’s outputs.
As with the California T, Ferrari has worked hard to make the engine feel naturally aspirated by mapping the torque curve so the car delivers "incredibly progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle," instead of delivering all of its performance in one big-fat turbocharged lump. Because of this, maximum torque is only available in seventh gear. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a seven-speed paddleshift gearbox.
Limiting torque in lower gears certainly hasn’t impacted the 488 GTB’s performance, with acceleration from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) taking just 3.0 seconds. This is the same time as the quickest 458 (the Speciale) could manage, but from there the turbocharged 488 simply blows its predecessor away. The new car will hit 200 km/h (125 mph) in just 8.3 seconds, eight-tenths of a second quicker than the 458 Speciale can achieve the same feat. Top speed is claimed to be over 330 km/h (205 mph).
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 subsystems and electronic controls. These controls include Side Slip Control 2 (SSC2), which uses the 488’s traction control, e-differential and active dampers to keep the car flat and stable during aggressive driving.
Keeping the turbocharged V8’s power in check is also a role for the 488 GTB’s aerodynamics package, which creates 50 percent more downforce than the 458’s, while causing less drag. A double front spoiler, active underbody aerodynamics and a blown rear spoiler all help stick the 488 onto the road. The car’s double front spoiler sports its unique design to improve the thermal efficiency of the radiators that flank it, and the central pylons combine with a deflector that directs air towards the GTB’s active underbody aerodynamics.
At the rear, the 488’s broad tail incorporates a large, aggressive diffuser that includes active flaps. New LED taillights are also a part of the new rear-end package.
Inside, the 488’s basic layout hasn’t changed all that much compared to the 458’s interior and Ferrari has worked hard to focus everything on the driver. The infotainment system is built into the instrument binnacle and all of the controls that are usually handled by column stalks, like indicators and windscreen wipers, are instead handled by buttons on the steering wheel, lest they get in the way of the car’s gearshift paddles.
The 488 GTB will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, with pricing details yet to be announced.