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Car of the Year 2016 | WINNER: Ferrari 488 GTB

The Ferrari 488 GTB bested the competition with its combination of power, handling, sound, and style…

The epitome of Italian craftsmanship

Engine: 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 | Power: 661 hp at 8,000 rpm | Zero to 60 MPH: 3 seconds | Top Speed: 205 mph | Starting Price: $245,400

Equine analogies usually abound when car enthusiasts talk about a Ferrari. Such was the case when the Car of the Year judges discussed this year’s winner, the 488 GTB. References ranged from a racehorse to a Bronco. “This horse is a true Thoroughbred,” said Zane Edwards about Ferrari’s latest mid-engine marvel, which bested the other Car of the Year contestants with its tantalizing combination of power, handling, sound, and style. “This is the Peyton Manning [in his prime] of super sports cars,” said Larry Mueller. 

The car’s high-tech drivetrain, active aerodynamics, and beautiful, wind-cheating body represent a blend of engineering and design that could come only from Italy, according to Jonathan Ko. “It’s the epitome of Italian craftsmanship,” he said. 

“Part of me didn’t want the 488 GTB to win. It seems so clichéd to pick the Ferrari. But when I got behind the wheel, I couldn’t deny that it blew everything else away.” —Laura Burstein, Robb Report contributing writer

The 488 GTB is more powerful than its predecessor, the 458 Italia, and is equipped with twin turbochargers that help it rocket from zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat. “The acceleration left my stomach in the backseat,” said Tim Morris. The car has no backseat, but his point is well taken. In addition to 661 hp, the 488 GTB’s V-8 produces a gut-twisting 561 ft lbs of torque, and delivers it at only 3,000 rpm. “The torque delivery is amazing,” said Diane Zeiger. “And it has tight steering and braking, too.” 

The 488 GTB will demonstrate its full capabilities on a racetrack, but on the public roads around San Diego, it did an excellent job of energizing drivers. “If your heart does not race after getting behind the wheel, you need to check your pulse,” said Cushing Donelan. John Plueger praised the car with soaring accolades: “I fly a Gulfstream V jet,” he said. “This is way cooler. Driving it is a pure visceral experience.” 

While lauding this new offering from the prancing horse, Don Quigley acknowledged the elephant in the room: the roughly $335,000 price of the model that he and the other judges drove. “How,” he asked, “do you tell your kids their inheritance just got smaller?”

“Driving the 488 GTB is the best I’ve ever felt in a Ferrari. Those who balk at Ferrari’s newly adopted use of turbochargers need to drive this car.” —Bailey S. Barnard, RobbReport.com editor

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