Driving the new Ferrari 488 GTB on the company’s test track and through the countryside outside Maranello shows there is no turning back from the car’s turbo-enhanced V-8.
The bridge at Fiorano, Ferrari’s 1.9-mile test track near Maranello, Italy, will reveal a car’s character. The figure-eight circuit rises to a crest, dips, and rises again at the bridge, which spans the crossover point. Before this second crest, you ease into the brakes to keep the car’s nose down, then press hard on the pedal before entering a 90-degree right-hander. If the car has any flaws, they will manifest here.
The new Ferrari 488 GTB, which is equipped with the latest adaptive suspension technology, was unflappable on this and every other section of the track. It also remained composed on the highways that run through the verdant countryside outside Maranello, where, on this early-June day, the air was redolent of honeysuckle and the first cuttings of hay were drying in the fields.
Powered by a new twin-turbocharged engine—which, after the California T’s launch last year, makes it only the second turbocharged Ferrari road car since the F40 of the late 1980s—the 488 GTB proved worthy of replacing the 458 series and extending Ferrari’s tradition of building brilliant mid-engine V-8 berlinettas—the name the marque has used since the 1950s for its sport coupes. The 488 GTB, which officially debuted in March at the Geneva International Motor Show, is priced at about $245,000. Deliveries are expected to begin by the end of October. (Like the original Ferraris and its immediate predecessor, the 488 GTB takes the numerical portion of its name from the quotient of the engine’s displacement—3,902 cc—divided by the number of cylinders.)
Ferrari introduced the first GTB model, the 308, in 1975 (along with the 308 GTS spider), and with it came an onslaught of V-8 power. Since then the company has been producing ever more sophisticated and potent grand-tourer berlinettas and spiders, leading to the 488 GTB. (A spider version is expected to arrive next year.) “We wanted top of the segment in terms of acceleration,” said Ferrari’s development director, Matteo Turconi, during the test-drive event in Maranello. “We worked on developing the aerodynamics and chassis dynamics to put all this power on the ground in a safe way, in an emotional way.”
The new GTB’s engine uses direct fuel injection—in addition to turbochargers and intercoolers—to generate 661 hp and 561 ft lbs of torque. Compared to the 458 Speciale’s larger, normally aspirated 4.5-liter V-8, these figures represent a 16 percent increase in horsepower and a 41 percent jump in torque. The engine is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, which automatically downshifted through the gears and settled into second at the point where Fiorano’s longest straightaway ends. The power train enables a blinding 3-second dash from zero to 62 mph, and in only 8.3 seconds the car reaches 124 mph.
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