Ferrari 488 GTB

Prancing Horse's new episode in its 8-cylinder history

"It is among the most obedient-handling mid-engine supercars I've driven in my whole career," said Issam.

The new engine is more than enough to propel the new 488 GTB to 100 km/h in three seconds flat!"

"Ferrari 488 GTB - short name for Gran Turismo Berlinetta."

"You have the opportunity to customize your 488 with five million unique combinations at the Atelier customization program."

Once again, I've got my hands on another supercar. This time it is the exotic 488 GTB! Most of you already know its predecessor: the 458 Italia. The 458 Italia was a supreme machine. I was always wondering what Ferrari would produce after the 458 Italia and its derivative the Speciale. Well, it seems the Italian Prancing Horse automaker has a lot of offer. The shift from a naturally aspirated engine to a turbocharged engine is the whole story behind the new 488 GTB.

I grabbed the 488 GTB in Dubai and here are my impressions.

The Ferrari 488 GTB's new 3.9 liter, V8 turbo is at the top of its class for power output, torque and response times - making it the new benchmark for this kind of architecture. The engine unleashes 670 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, along with 760 Nm of maximum torque in seventh gear, and an accelerator response time of just 0.8 seconds at 2,000 rpm. These figures are sufficient to allow the Ferrari 488 GTB to accelerate from 0 to 200 km/h in 8.3 seconds.

The gearbox features Variable Torque Management which unleashes the engine's massive torque smoothly and powerfully right across the rev range, while specific gear ratios deliver incredibly progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle. As is always the case, Ferrari's engineers have dedicated great attention to perfecting the 488 GTB's sound, creating a new soundtrack that is full, clear and totally distinctive - as expected from any Prancing Horse engine.

The car's aerodynamics also made a pivotal contribution to performance: its 1.67 efficiency figure is a new record for a production Ferrari, and is the fruit of 50 percent more downforce than the previous model, along with reduced drag. The greatest challenge was achieving these two goals simultaneously. Several innovative elements were specifically developed to do so, not least a double front spoiler, base bleed side intakes and, at the rear, active aerodynamics coupled with a blown spoiler. The aerodynamic underbody, which incorporates vortex generators, is highly sophisticated as well.

The Ferrari 488 GTB's subsystems and electronic controls make its power and performance instantly available and controllable. It is, in fact, the most responsive production model there is, with razor-sharp response times comparable to those of a track car.

The evolved version of Ferrari's side slip angle control system (Side Slip Control 2 - SSC2) is more precise and less invasive, providing greater longitudinal acceleration out of corners. Aside from integrating with the car's F1-Trac and E-Diff, the SSC2 now also controls the active dampers, which render the car's dynamic behavior during complex maneuvers even flatter and more stable.

In the cabin, the seamless integration of the new satellite control clusters, angled air vents and instrument panel heightens the sense that the cockpit is completely tailored around the driver. Usability was the key word in the design, leading to an extremely sporty ambience that in no way compromises comfort. There are plenty of classic Ferrari styling elements too, such as the clear separation between the dashboard and tunnel, the multifunctional steering wheel, the control switch bridge and wraparound seats. The graphics and interface of the infotainment screen have also been completely redesigned, while the design of the car's new key takes its inspiration from the car's cylinder banks and allows keyless starts.

Driving impressions
To be honest, when I recall my test drive of the 458 Italia on a circuit, I still remember how dangerous it seemed having all the electronics off, and with no doubt the roaring sound of the naturally aspirated engine! The 458 Italia is actually a machine that would suit most professional drivers (so they can get the most out of it).

With the 488 GTB, it's a different perception. Ferrari wanted to bring out a car that would be suitable for any amateur customer who loves supercars and has the bucks to afford it. With the new electronic system and the turbocharged engine, the 488 GTB is much easier to handle, and you most likely won't kill yourself while drifting or taking it sideways.

The 488 GTB is powered by a new V8 mid-engine - successor to the current 458 Italia. This new engine is turbocharged. It's smaller, leaner, and more efficient and, certainly, more powerful: by a lot of horses - 100 horsepower (versus 458 Italia) and 64 horsepower (versus Speciale). The 488 achieves 50 percent more downforce than its predecessor, but still slips through the air with less drag than any other Ferrari road car ever built.

After many hours of driving and hundreds of kilometers around Dubai, I handed back the car, feeling different and set for more action! My only concern was the sound of the exhaust that felt a bit commercial or industrial. That's surely a fake one. But in terms of drivability, it is the best Ferrari on the roads yet.

Pros: Farfetched power, attractive styling and design cues
Cons: Missing the V8 naturally aspirated on the Speciale, tight seats
Rivals: McLaren 650S, Lamborghini LP 580-2 Huracan, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Audi R8, Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Engine: 3.9 L turbocharged V8, 661 hp @ 8,000 rpm, 760 Nm @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission: 7 speed dual-clutch manumatic, RWD
Performance: 0-100 km/h: 3.0 sec, 11.4 L /100 km top speed: 330 km/h
Chassis: 1,475 kg
One word: Tranquil-handgrip

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